DAN J KROLL
Dan is the founder and head soap guru of soapcentral.com. His "must see" soap is All My Children, but in order to maintain the site he does watch each of the eight soaps on a regular basis. Dan started soapcentral.com as part of his personal home page in 1995. A resident of Philadelphia, he does somehow find time to do things that are non-soap-related, including sports, music, and enjoying the great Pennsylvania countryside. Dan has appeared in the SOAPnet reality-ish program, Relative Madness,
OUTSTANDING LEAD ACTOR
Christian J LeBlanc
Like last year and the year before, there seem to be two front runners for this category. This may be the very first year that all of our Emmy pickers have selected the same performer in any given category. I think that Christian LeBlanc is going to just barely edge out Tony Geary. Both actors submitted reels that featured "fantasy" episodes. LeBlanc's is a take-off of It's A Wonderful Life, where his character sees how life in Genoa City would be different had he never been born. Let's be honest: how many of us have had that question rattle around our brains at one time or another? Geary's Emmy submission reel features his character having a heart attack and then having a life-after-death moment that puts his lifestyle on trial. Geary played all sorts of different roles in the dream sequence -- and that's the kind of thing that Emmy voters love. Meanwhile, Peter Reckell earned his first-ever Emmy nomination. He's been on daytime since I was little and this is his first nomination? His Emmy submission reel dealt with the death of Bo's dad. It was very moving stuff, but the emotion level went from high to low and back again. I'm not sure if that will be enough to compete with full-length episodes that revolved around a single character. Geary and LeBlanc seem to alternate as winners each year... and since Geary won last year, that would seemingly mean that LeBlanc is on deck.
Who I'd like to win: Peter Reckell
Who should win: Toss up: Anthony Geary and Christian J LeBlanc
Who will win: Christian J LeBlanc
OUTSTANDING LEAD ACTRESS
This is a very tough category to call. I have two frontrunners: Susan Haskell and Debbi Morgan. I also have Jeanne Cooper as a black horse in the competition because she played dual roles -- and we know how the Emmy voters love actors playing two different parts. The race between Haskell and Morgan is so close, that I wouldn't be surprised if the two women tied, which would be crazy since Morgan had tied with Nancy Lee Grahn in her previous Emmy win. Could she tie twice? A couple of months ago, Haskell delivered an amazing scene that I believe will earn her an Emmy nomination next year -- and probably an Emmy win. Debbi Morgan's return to All My Children was a big deal and the reunion between Angie and the supposedly-dead Jesse went mainstream. I have to imagine that it also landed Alicia Keys a few new fan since her song "Like You'll Never See Me Again" was everywhere during the reunion week. Visually, the scenes were spot on (and filmed on location just north of Philadelphia). Haskell showed great range of emotion. She went from angry to desparation as she learned from Todd that Cole was her son. Haskell didn't have to "act" the various emotions, you could readily know what she was feeling from subtle motions, facial expressions, and intonation. So close, but I will go with Morgan.
Who I'd like to win: Debbi Morgan
Who should win: If not Morgan, Susan Haskell
Who will win: Debbi Morgan
OUTSTANDING SUPPORTING ACTOR
I find this to be the hardest categoey to predict. Every nominee is deserving -- and I won't be disappointed no matter who wins. Jeff Branson is overdue for an Emmy winner. Branson reminds me of another daytime alum, Josh Duhamel. It's not that they look alike -- they don't -- but they have the same believability in their acting. I thought scenes from Vincent Irizarry's reel were phenomenal, particularly the ones in which a distraught David held a gun to his head and said he couldn't go on now that he'd lost a second daughter. Jacob Young also had some great material as JR watched his wife choose her own death in order to save their son. Van Hansis picked scenes where Noah married Ameera to keep her in the country and Luke called things off. Hansis' work felt very natural and didn't show as "acting." Bradford Anderson is a fine performer, but his Emmy reel was a scant five minutes -- about half as long as his fellow nominees. If someone doesn't watch GH, I don't think they'll "get" his character.
Who I'd like to win: I wouldn't mind seeing any of these actors win
Who should win: Jeff Branson
Who will win: Jeff Branson
OUTSTANDING SUPPORTING ACTRESS
I had pegged Melissa Claire Egan as an Emmy nominee the very day that her Emmy reel episode originally aired. It was one of those episodes that made you slowly move closer to the television screen... just waiting to see what happened next. Unfortunately, if you're not an AMC viewer, and many voters don't watch the soaps regularly, you don't get the whole gist of what the scene is about. Bree Williamson appeared on-screen for over 17 minutes in her Emmy reel. The episode had her character delivered a speech at her husband's funeral. There was definite emotion, but some voters may feel that the scenes were "too soapy." Like Egan, Tamara Braun pulls off a reel that shows her character is cuckoo. But more than just being a bit off, Braun shows some other emotions as well. Her real is relatively short -- just 11 minutes -- but the shortness may have resulted in more voters watching her entire reel. Yes, sometimes voters do not watch all of the reels or stop watching if a reel is too long. Is it fair? No. Braun also could have received a nod for her work on All My Children. I'd be happy with either Williamson or Braun winning, but I think the Emmy will find its way home with Braun.
Who I'd like to win: Melissa Claire Egan
Who should win: If not Braun, Bree Williamson
Who will win: Tamara Braun
OUTSTANDING YOUNGER ACTOR
Cornelius Smith, Jr.
For me, this seems to be the biggest shoo-in. With no disrespect intended towards the other nominees, Smith hit a homerun with his submission reel. Smith holds his own against Emmy winner Darnell Williams and there's a great deal of range and emotion. I was so disappointed by Blake Berris' choice for his Emmy reel because I had pegged him earlier this year as a frontrunner in the category. It wasn't that his reel was bad. I just don't think that one reel accurately captures the work he did over a two-month period. There is also an outside chance that voters might cast ballots for Bryton McClure. He put together a very nice performance, but he isn't the "star" of his scenes and that might cost him some votes.
Who I'd like to win: Cornelius Smith, Jr.
Who should win: Cornelius Smith, Jr.
Who will win: Cornelius Smith, Jr.
OUTSTANDING YOUNGER ACTRESS
I believe that one of the two General Hospital actresses will take home this award. I was surprised two years when Julie Marie Berman did not win an Emmy for her work. This year, she has very similar mother-daughter scenes opposite Emmy winner Genie Francis. The scenes are heavy on monologue, as Berman talks to her comatose mother. I am not sure if she'll be hindered by the fact that she didn't have any other actors to play off of, or applauded for being able to play a scene by herself. Meanwhile, Kirsten Storms has one of the shortest Emmy reels ever. She appears in under five minutes' worth of scenes. In that short time, though, Maxie, grieving the death of her sister, tears into her mother for not being there when she and her sister, Georgie, needed her. It's great stuff, but she's only on-screen for a short time.
Who I'd like to win: Kirsten Storms
Who should win: Kirsten Storms
Who will win: Kirsten Storms
OUTSTANDING WRITING IN A DRAMA SERIES
The Bold and the Beautiful
The Bold and the Beautiful scripted one of the most powerful storylines of 2008 with the suicide of Storm Logan. You could argue that the plot was soapy, but having a character commit suicide so that he heart could be transplanted into his sister was some pretty emotional stuff. General Hospital also has a pretty emotion-filled episode. In its reel, young Michael Corinthos and taken down by a sniper's bullet. The thought of a child being gunned down is unimaginable. There are a few scenes that end up being a bit distracting within the reel, but overall it's very solid. One Life to Live submitted an episode that featured a "dream sequence." In those scenes, Rex Balsom hovered between life and death and had to play a game of Who Wants To Be Shane Morasco's Father?
Who I'd like to win: The Bold and the Beautiful
Who should win: The Bold and the Beautiful
Who will win: The Bold and the Beautiful