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 was All My Children, but his work on soapcentral.com has given him an appreciation for all of the soaps; he watches each soap 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.
Note from Dan: It seems that if I pick someone to win, it's the Emmy kiss of death. It's hard to know what voters look for when they cast their Emmy ballots. So I've opted to pick who I think the Emmy voters will select, and then I offer my own rankings that reflect how I would have voted.
▸ Skip to Dan's picks for Drama Series
▸ Skip to Dan's picks for Lead and Actress
▸ Skip to Dan's picks for Supporting Actor and Actress
▸ Skip to Dan's picks for Younger Actor and Actress
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See Dan's predictions from past years
2011: 3 for 8
2010: 2 for 8
2009: 3 for 8
2008: 5 for 8
2007: 2 for 8
2006: 5 for 8
2005: 3 for 8
2004: 0 for 8
2003: 2 for 8
2002: 2 for 8
2001: 1 for 8
Bradford Anderson has been nominated for an Emmy two times previously. He's a fine actor, but I have to suspect that voters who are not familiar with General Hospital don't understand why Spinelli speaks the way he speaks. Fast-forward to this year when Bradford's character talked like a black-and-white movie gumshoe throughout the reel. The conversation between Spinelli and Maxie was interesting and certainly unlike anything else in recent Daytime Emmy history. Oddly missing from the reel was a final scene. According to the soapcentral.com recaps for the episode, Spinelli placed a cupcake on Georgie's tombstone. That did not make it to the Emmy reel.
Usually actors and actresses turn in some of their best performances right after they receive word that they've been fired. I guess there's no longer that self-questioning involved -- you can go for it without any fear of, well, being fired. Matthew Ashford was still very much gainfully employed at Days of our Lives when his Emmy reel episode aired, but he was let go shortly thereafter. DAYS gets a bad rap sometimes for not being a "serious" soap. Matthew Ashford's Jack was averse to talking to Marlena about the time he spent held prisoner in Afghanistan. She eventually got him to open up, and later, as the painful memories returned, it provided some gripping television. Matthew received very strong backup from Deidre Hall (Marlena Evans) in the scenes.
Sean Blakemore could very well sneak in and win this category. The ease with which he delivered his lines made it look like he was relating personal experience and not delivering scripted lines. There was a certainly relevancy to the material that wasn't necessarily reflected in anyone else's material. Shawn revealed that he'd been responsible for the friendly fire death of another soldier. As if that wasn't enough, as a child, Shawn also witnessed his father's murder.
Jonathan Jackson is a phenomenal actor. Let there be no mistaking that. I think I may be comparing Jonathan's performance in this year's reel to the one that won him an Emmy last year. I know that's not the way you're supposed to vote, but it's hard to unring a bell. Jonathan's reel -- as just about every GH-related submission -- had to do with Luke's drinking and the death of little Jake. Anything that Jonathan and Anthony Geary (Luke Spencer) do is magical. There was a powerful confrontation in the episode that really sealed the deal.
Jason Thompson's reel was understated, poignant, and -- at times -- silly. The chemistry between Jason and Kimberly McCullough (Robin Scorpio) was wonderful, and I liked the the episode was "real." Patrick recorded a video to his daughter, who had fallen asleep before she could celebrate her birthday with him. There was playful banter between Patrick and Robin, but also a poignancy that made me wish that I had a video from my parents. I didn't pick this reel as the one that I think will win, but I most certainly would not be surprised if it did.
Who I'd like to win: Sean Blakemore
Who voters will pick: Jonathan Jackson
The final rankings: Matthew Ashford, Sean Blakemore, Jonathan Jackson, Jason Thompson, Bradford Anderson
Genie Francis delivered a surprisingly layered reel. The surprise has nothing to do with Genie's acting ability, but rather the sometimes questionable writing for newer characters on The Young and the Restless. Genevieve played it cool when she was presented with divorce papers, but later fought back tears. When Jack dropped by later to celebrate the divorce, Genevieve pulled back from being intimate because her previous husband, Colin, was the only man she'd ever been intimate with. From there, there was a surprisingly candid discussion filled with all sorts of emotions.
If you've ever wondered if it's difficult to pick an Emmy reel, one soap star weighed in on that very subject. On Twitter, Nancy Lee Grahn remarked that she submitted her selected episode because it was "the only one I had." And quite an episode it was. Alexis tried to reason with Carly, but stood by calmly when Carly turned things on Alexis, saying that Alexis still had feelings for Carly's exes. When Carly was done, Alexis bitchily (yet understatedly) dropped her own bombshell: the divorce papers that Carly's late husband had never filed. By the end, I was rooting for Alexis -- and that may prompt voters to send some votes Nancy Lee's way.
The problem that comes with selecting a single episode for Emmy consideration is that sometimes not everything that is relevant can be submitted because it didn't air within the hour-long confines of a single episode, as Erika Slezak expressed in the Lead Actress category above. Rebecca Herbst's work during the storyline surrounding the death of little Jake definitely warranted an Emmy. When I watched her Emmy reel, it was hard to shake loose that I knew the rest of her work outside of the seven-minute reel. The most powerful part of the episode involved no dialogue. Viewers saw Lucky inform Elizabeth that Jake had died, but it was done from a distance so all that was shown on-screen was Liz collapsing into Lucky's arms. It was incredibly emotional -- but it only told part of the story. Missing was the prelude to the accident, and the post-accident grief.
I was very torn when I watched Elizabeth Hendrickson's Emmy reel. I wanted her to smash something, slap somebody, or do something else spontaneously. Perhaps we've become accustomed to expecting some sort of craziness in an Emmy reel in order to slap a "winner" label on it. In the episode, Chloe learned that her daughter has been taken to the hospital -- and she wasn't initially reachable by phone because she was with a man at the time. Her worst fears became a reality when doctors revealed that the little girl was suffering from leukemia. When Chloe said that she wanted to fix it, I didn't get the "she doesn't know what's going on here" vibe; I felt as though Chloe was so deeply in shock that she didn't want to admit that Delia's condition was serious. Hendrickson did a great job of relating those feelings.
Who I'd like to win: Melissa Claire Egan
Who voters will pick: Rebecca Herbst
The final rankings: Genie Francis, Rebecca Herbst, Nancy Lee Grahn, Elizabeth Hendrickson, Melissa Claire Egan