DAN J KROLL
Dan is the founder of soapcentral.com and the host of the weekly soap opera entertainment radio show, Soap Central Live. 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. Dan has appeared as an extra on As the World Turns and as a soap expert on the SOAPnet reality-ish program, Relative Madness.
OUTSTANDING LEAD ACTOR
Each of the Lead Actor nominees submitted reels that had at least one scene that left me amazed. Doug Davidson's first half of his reel was good. It was a nice contrast to see an emotional Paul accusing an emotionless Victor of being involved in messing with Patty's mind. Michael Park was stellar as Jack broke down and confessed to Katie that he'd shot Brad, her husband and his brother. Terri Colombino was also amazing in the scenes, which makes me wonder how she didn't get a nomination this year. There was a lot of whispering in the reel -- and also in Jon Lindstrom's reel. It was a bit annoying and I had to turn up the volume just to understand what was going on. Lindstrom's reel was not indicative of his best work, I think. There was a nice arc of emotion, but the reel was probably one of my least favorite. That disappointed me because this was Lindstrom's first nomination in an incredible daytime run. James Scott's reel started strong and ended strong, but that is to be expected when the death of an infant is involved. He had a great verbal sparring with Alison Sweeney (who was incredible in this reel and in a Supporting Actress reel submitted by a co-star, which makes me wonder what she submitted that somehow kept her off the ballot) to kick things off. There were some memorable lines, particularly "You killed her, you bury her." The ending got me, though. E.J. visits his dead daughter in the morgue to have a chance to say goodbye to her and to express how much he loved her.
Who I'd like to win: Michael Park
Who will win: James Scott
The final rankings: James Scott, Peter Bergman, Michael Park, Doug Davidson, Jon Lindstrom
OUTSTANDING LEAD ACTRESS
This was one of the toughest categories to pick. I watched each of the five submissions twice before making my first cut. Michelle Stafford's reel didn't grab me the way that the other four did. It wasn't that it was a bad clip, but it didn't have the meaty material that held my interest the entire way through. I liked Bobbie Eakes' reel, but I worried that the good stuff didn't come until too close to the end of the reel, and by then I was left wanting more. But how can you deny the power of a mother confessing that she sold her baby? I really enjoyed Crystal Chappell's reel a lot -- and it was very sneaky that the reel was able to feature a "previously on Guiding Light" and "coming up next time" promo. That definitely helped voters who had no idea who Olivia was and why her story was such a big deal. It's hard having watched Guiding Light regularly to block from my mind the entire Otalia story -- and you have to do that and judge just a single episode. That left me with Maura West and Sarah Brown. I rewatched each of the reels, and there was just something about Brown's work that connected for me. West's intervention scenes were amazing and I think she'd be equally deserving of a win. Brown's emotion rang so true for me, from the controlled crying to the rage of knocking over a water pitcher. I also felt that her desire to make the person who killed her baby pay was spot on without being over the top.
Who I'd like to win: I'll be really happy with any of these actresses winning
Who will win: Sarah Brown
The final rankings: Sarah Brown, Maura West, Crystal Chappell, Bobbie Eakes, Michelle Stafford
OUTSTANDING SUPPORTING ACTOR
Billy J Miller
Before I even get started, it has to be noted that Billy J Miller's Emmy reel was an entire episode. He was featured in every single scene of that particular episode, which aired December 31, 2009 (the very last day of Emmy eligibility for this voting period). His reel was as long as the other four nominees combined. His character came off as really hard to like... pompous and a total jerk. There were moments when Miller's acting was a bit cartoonish, but the episode was an It's A Wonderful Life type of situation, so that's perfectly within the guidelines for me. I thought Bradford Anderson did a great job conveying heartbreak after seeing his girlfriend making out with another guy, but I often wonder if Spinelli's unusual way of talking leaves voters scratching their heads. If someone doesn't know a character, I'm sure they are wondering who "the Jackal" and "Maxinista" are. Jonathan Jackson displayed great nuances in his reel, but the material wasn't gripping in the way that some of the others were. There was no rage, there were no tears, there was simple, heartfelt dialogue. Any other performer would have struggled to pull it off, I think. Brian Kerwin had very little material in the first few minutes of his reel, and I was wondering when he'd get started. Charlie throwing a bottle of booze across the room was powerful, but that single scene wasn't enough to make me want to vote for him. Ricky Paull Goldin's reel started off with a great confrontation with Chrishell Stause. His character learned that his love had slept with another man in an effort to get pregnant. The reel was the shortest of the bunch, and I have to think that that will work against him when voters cast their ballots.
Who I'd like to win: Ricky Paull Goldin
Who will win: Billy J Miller
The final rankings: Billy J Miller, Ricky Paull Goldin, Bradford Anderson, Brian Kerwin, Jonathan Jackson
OUTSTANDING SUPPORTING ACTRESS
I'll be honest and say that I haven't a clue who is going to win in this category. I think that Bree Williamson should win, but I have some concerns. As I've said, I have no idea why Emmy voters vote the way that they do. There was a lot of lead-in to the powerful end of Williamson's reel. Will Emmy voters get that she has "multiple personalities?" Will they penalize her for having to wait for the good stuff? I love the comedic wit of Carolyn Hennesy. There were some amusing moments between Diane and Molly -- and that's saying a lot because I usually don't like scenes with precocious kids. But will voters cast ballots for a comedic scene in a drama series category? Arianne Zucker had some really good scenes. There were some really weird 30-second scenes that faded in and then faded out... and that was a bit distracting. I found myself wondering why the scenes were so short when I should have been focused on the material. Again, Alison Sweeney was great -- so why wasn't she nominated somewhere? I feel that Julie Pinson should have submitted the episode that ATWT submitted for Outstanding Writing (see below). I thought her work in that episode was amazing, and it was much more indicative of her best work. I've been following Beth Chamberlin's Emmy trials and tribulations on Twitter. With Guiding Light off the air, she has to foot the bill to get to Las Vegas for the Emmys -- not easy when you're out of work. I thought her reel was pretty solid, but again I wonder if voters will be turned off by the quality of GL's filming.
Who could win: All five actresses have a special place in my heart
Who will win: Bree Williamson
The final rankings: Bree Williamson, Beth Chamberlin, Carolyn Hennesy, Arianne Zucker, Julie Pinson
OUTSTANDING YOUNGER ACTOR
I find amusement in the strangest places. For me, I actually kinda like that four of the five nominees have left the roles that they were nominated for. I can't remember the last time that something like that happened. That being said, this is a tough category to call. I believe that Dylan Patton had the best submission of the bunch, but his entire reel lasted a scant four minutes and change. In that short amount of time, I thought Patton was great. I see voters holding the short on-screen time against him. I wasn't moved much by Scott Clifton's reel. At times, it was a little over-the-top. Zach Conroy performed well in his clips, but I wasn't moved other than to say it was believable. Drew Garrett's reel featured a very helpful flashback montage that explained what was going on in the rest of the episode. Drew Tyler Bell held my attention through his entire reel and there were some moments of brilliance. I liked that Thomas didn't let Steffy get to him when she told him to stay out of her life.
Who I'd like to win: Dylan Patton or Drew Garrett
Who will win: Drew Garrett
The final rankings: Drew Garrett, Dylan Patton, Drew Tyler Bell, Zach Conroy, Scott Clifton
OUTSTANDING YOUNGER ACTRESS
All five nominees should be very proud of their work. The reels made for an interesting watch because the stories were all different: loved one shot, girl wanting boy but afraid to get hurt, a cancer diagnosis, a deadbeat dad returning unexpectedly, and girl believing that her guy is cheating on her. Marnie Schulenburg's reel was a good watch, but it wasn't until the very end that I got to see her flex her range. Her character struggled with what to call the father who'd pretty much abandoned her as a kid. Molly Burnett's clip was totally different. It was lighthearted and really lacking the heavy-handed drama that we're used to seeing in reels. It made me smile quite a bit, but I don't know if it's the stuff that voters go for. Julie Berman can pull off controlled rage incredibly well. Berman's Lulu tore into Maxie so well, that it didn't look like acting -- it was like watching a real-life argument. It also helped that she had some great stuff at the end of her reel with Jane Elliot. Shelley Hennig's reel started off with a scream and her character dodging a bullet. What I liked about the reel is that there was great range that followed the crazy scream. I believed that she just witnessed her boyfriend being shot. She pulled off that fog of grief really well. In the end, Christel Khalil nailed her performance. Her reactions to her loved ones trying to prevent her from asking questions about her cancer diagnosis were on the mark. I also thought her struggle with deciding if she should call and tell the man she loves what was going on was believable.
Who I'd like to win: Shelley Hennig or Julie Berman
Who will win: Christel Khalil
The final rankings: Christel Khalil, Julie Berman, Shelley Hennig, Molly Burnett, Marnie Schulenburg
OUTSTANDING WRITING IN A DRAMA SERIES
As the World Turns
I'm torn between all four submissions. I've already mentioned why B&B scored -- the reel was very emotional. Yes, B&B submitted the same scenes for the Drama Series, Writing, and Directing categories. As the World Turns had some very powerful scenes involving a young woman's decision to have an abortion. She ultimately didn't have the procedure in the episode, which led to some great dialogue between two sisters weighing the pros and cons of abortion. It wasn't preachy and didn't really take one side or another. Soaps have a tendency to take a side in issues and beat people over the head. Some of the other scenes in the reel, however, weren't as good. AMC featured an episode that had lots of action and lots of emotion: As Bianca and Reese were getting married (in the first same-sex wedding on a soap), Kendall was unwittingly running her best friend, Greenlee, off the road. The Young and the Restless had a canvas full of characters with decent dialogue and it ended with a food fight. In the mix were a face-off over an affair and a wedding. Y&R fit a lot of material into one episode, and voters are either going to be impressed... or hate it. I don't think there's a middle ground.
Who I'd like to win: All My Children
Who will win: As the World Turns
The final rankings: As the World Turns, The Bold and the Beautiful, All My Children, The Young and the Restless
OUTSTANDING DIRECTING IN A DRAMA SERIES
We're not officially picking directing winners, but I really think that the prize will go to General Hospital. GH is always taking their camerawork to another level -- and staging a massive carnival is something that daytime hasn't seen before. I think it's a pretty foregone conclusion that their work will be rewarded. The only other possible winner in the field is, in my opinion, All My Children. AMC did a lot of funky camerawork of their own to make the Adam murder much more dramatic.
Who I'd like to win: General Hospital
Who will win: General Hospital
The final rankings: General Hospital, All My Children, The Bold and the Beautiful, One Life to Live