2018 Daytime Emmy reels: Maura West (‘GH’) endures a trial by fire and has the scars to prove it [WATCH]

The 2018 Daytime Emmy Awards are on Sunday, April 29, but the winners in the soap opera acting categories were already decided by blue ribbon panels that viewed sample performance reels during the nominations round. In the race for Best Actress, Maura West is nominated for playing the villainous Ava Jerome on ABC’s “General Hospital,” a role that already earned her an Emmy in this category in 2015. Before that West spent 15 years playing Carly Snyder on “As the World Turns,” which earned her seven Emmy nominations and two Best Actress wins in 2007 and 2010.  Can West’s submission earn her a fourth Best Actress Emmy win? Watch it above.

The bulk of West’s submission involves the revelation that Ava tampered with the medication Morgan Corinthos (Bryan Craig) was taking to treat his bipolar disorder, which indirectly resulted in his death. Ava is confronted by Carly (Best Actress nominee Laura Wright) and Sonny (Maurice Benard) about her actions, but she is defiant, claiming that she was only trying to protect her daughter Kiki (Best Younger Actress nominee Hayley Erin) — who was Morgan’s ex-girlfriend — from Morgan’s mental instability. Ava finally screams that she is guilty, but swears that she never meant for Morgan to die. Unable to take any more of Sonny and Carly’s taunts, Ava smashes a kerosene lamp and sets the room ablaze.

Ava is horribly burned by the fire, and the subsequent scenes show her heavily bandaged in the hospital, where Ava is confronted by Morgan’s brother Dante (Dominic Zamprogna). Ava claims that the excruciating pain she feels is enough penance for what she has done, and scoffs at Dante’s desire for justice. Later she is visited by Scott Baldwin (Kin Shriner), who promises to stay by Ava’s side. But Ava pushes Scott away and says that she just wants everything to end.

The reel ends with a scene between Ava and clergyman Griffin Munro (Matt Cohen). Ava removes her face mask and reveals her burns, saying that all she wants is to be beautiful again so she can forget every wrong she ever committed. Griffin tells Ava that she really is beautiful, and the two share a brief kiss. But Griffin pulls away and apologizes for misleading Ava. Ava lashes out at him, accusing him of using the priesthood as a crutch to avoid real emotions. As Ava leaves, she tells Griffin that they both hide behind masks, but at least she is willing to admit that she’s wearing one.

Will West win her fourth Best Actress Emmy with this performance against Laura Wright (“GH”), Nancy Lee Grahn (“GH”) and Marci Miller (“Days of Our Lives”), and Eileen Davidson (“The Young and the Restless”)? Let’s consider the pros and cons.

PROS:

West gives the kind of in-your-face performance that often wins Emmys. The reel gives her one knockout scene after another, from Ava’s screaming confession to her fierce denial that she ever meant for Morgan to die. In the hospital, Ava’s expressions of pain earn our sympathy despite her evil deeds. And her final line to Griffin about wearing masks gives the scene a truly impactful ending.

For large portions of her submission, much of West’s face is hidden under bandages and makeup. Yet even in those scenes West conveys a wide range of emotions, from defiance to emotional and physical agony.

This is West’s 10th career nomination, and a fourth win in this category would tie her for second place with Susan Flannery (“Days of Our Lives” and “The Bold and the Beautiful”) and Kim Zimmer (“Guiding Light”), behind only six-time winner Erika Slezak (“One Life to Live”). Emmy voters clearly respect West, and probably would not hesitate to give her a fourth trophy.

CONS:

The first half of these scenes involve life-and-death scenarios for Ava, but the second half involves her seducing a priest. West could be hurt by the lower stakes for her character towards the end of her submission.

West’s performance contains many explosive moments, but is there enough nuance and range to balance it out for voters?

West faces competition from two of her “GH” castmates, including Wright, who gives a strong performance in her own reel and in West’s. Could this pull votes away from West’s performance?

Be sure to make your Daytime Emmy predictions so that Hollywood insiders can see how their shows and performers are faring in our odds. You can keep changing your predictions until just before winners are announced on April 29. And join in the fierce debate over the 2018 Daytime Emmys taking place right now with Hollywood insiders in our daytime TV forums. Read more Gold Derby entertainment news.

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