It has been less than two years since Marci Miller took over the role of Abigail Deveraux on “Days of Our Lives,” but she has already earned a Daytime Emmy nomination for Best Actress. Will her beginner’s luck continue when the winners are announced on April 29? The awards have already been decided in the drama acting categories by blue ribbon panels that viewed sample performance reels. Watch Miller’s submission above.
The reel opens with a scene in which Abigail is frustrated with her mother Jennifer (Melissa Reeves), who is trying to give Abigail advice about two men she is torn between: Chad DiMera (Billy Flynn) and Dario Hernandez (Jordi Vilasuso), who is at risk of being deported. But Abigail is sick of being told what to do and wants someone to take her needs into account for once.
The next scene is between Abigail and Chad. She admits how much she is in love with him, but while she was institutionalized Chad developed feelings for another woman. Abigail insists that she deserves someone who will love her with their whole heart, and she won’t settle for anything less.
This is actually followed on the reel by a scene at Abigail and Chad’s wedding. Serial killer Ben Weston (Robert Scott Wilson) has crashed the ceremony, and Abigail is wondering if she is hallucinating him since he once terrorized her and her loved ones. Determined to take her power back from him she storms down the aisle and punches him in the face.
At the end of the reel Abigail opens up to Dario about a difficult decision she has finally made: she is divorcing Chad. She tells Dario, “I couldn’t keep living in limbo like that. I had to end it … What I’m doing is best for everyone. It has to be.”
Will Miller win Best Actress with this performance against Eileen Davidson (“The Young and the Restless”), Nancy Lee Grahn (“General Hospital”), Maura West (“GH”) and Laura Wright (“GH”)? Let’s consider the pros and cons.
Miller’s very first scene is a powerhouse of indignation as Abigail tells her well-meaning mother to back off. What could play out like any other scene about a love triangle is made to be more about Abigail following her own feelings and instincts rather than only considering what other people want from her.
Similarly, Miller’s second scene is an impactful but nuanced breakup in which she balances her conflicting feelings of love for Chad with her need to be loved fully in return. And then the wedding scene makes us root for her even more as she stares down and then punches out the man who pushed her to the brink of insanity, which resulted in her commitment to a mental hospital.
This role just won a Best Supporting Actress Emmy for Kate Mansi in 2017. Miller now earning a nomination on her first try is a testament to the impact this character has had on “Days” for the last two years.
In one scene Abigail is determined to help Dario. Then she breaks up with Chad. Then she marries Chad. And finally she tells Dario that she’s officially divorcing Chad. So it may be difficult for voters to follow the emotions from scene to scene.
The Best Actress race usually favors more established performers. At age 28 Miller is by far the youngest nominee this year, and she would be the first woman under 30 to win this award since Cynthia Watros prevailed for “Guiding Light” in 1998.
Comparisons to Kate Mansi could be a blessing and a curse. If Mansi’s Emmy winning performance is still fresh in voters’ minds, they might be reluctant to reward Miller so soon.
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