Dan is the founder of Soap Central 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 Soap Central has given him an appreciation for all of the soaps; he watches each soap on a regular basis. Dan started Soap Central 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 ahead to Dan's picks for Drama Series
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2012: 3 for 8
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
Jeff Branson is an Emmy winner, and I have enjoyed him since his days on AMC. I feel that he has been woefully underused on Y&R, so it was nice to see that he finally earned an Emmy nod for his work there. I didn't really love the submitted episode because I don't think it showed the full range of his acting talents. The story was there -- awkward first date and drunken pop-up appearance -- but somehow it never reached the heights of what it could have been.
Scott Clifton has his own style of acting. I'm not sure I can explain what it is, but there is just a unique Clifton touch to everything he does. The Liam/Hope/Steffy triangle is maddening to me, but that doesn't mean that there haven't been moments of brilliance. You'll hear about two more later in these predictions. In my real world, watching a red-tufted, shirtless titmouse beg for forgiveness would get a quick, "Man up!" Still, there was something very watchable -- and the emotional breakdown at the end of the reel left a very powerful last impression.
Billy J Miller is another actor who caught my attention during his first daytime role on All My Children. I'm a fan of his work and have seen what he's done in the past. It was interesting to me that Miller chose the same episode as Peter Bergman did for his Lead Actor nomination. It's also somewhat interesting that neither reel -- and there was quite a bit of overlap -- had me wanting to hand out an Emmy. It may just be that I am more critical of performers with whom I have a long relationship and that I am unfairly judging them by some arbitrary soap opera measuring stick that I made up in my mind.
Who I'd like to win: Bradford Anderson
Who voters will pick: Scott Clifton
The final rankings: Scott Clifton, Bradford Anderson, Billy J Miller, Jeff Branson
Jessica Collins is a first-timer, and I think she should be very proud of her submission. This is another reel where Michelle Stafford pops up. I thought Collins did a really good job of going from "My father wouldn't do that!" to "Oh, my gosh -- my father did that." I think that some of the power is lost because portions of the story were contained in other episodes, so there's a bit of a missing piece. The dilemma that Avery faced is also one that I think many people can relate to in their real lives.
Melissa Claire Egan is another of my former AMC favorites that Y&R was able to snatch up. I loved her psychotic craziness as AMC's Annie, but I am also enjoying Melissa's more restrained angst as Chelsea. Michael Muhney and Melissa have great on-screen chemistry, and that really helped fuel this reel. We got to see an entire range of emotions in this reel, including two of the biggies: anger and fear. Those are two of the things that Melissa does best.
Katherine Kelly Lang finally -- finally -- landed a Daytime Emmy nomination. I've thought in the past that Katherine would receive a nomination for work that I felt was stellar -- and it never happened. There is undeniable chemistry between Katherine Kelly Lang and Susan Flannery, and this is more than likely the last time that we'll ever see them appear on-screen together. The emotion seemed real (probably because it was real). I don't know if the overload of seeing this same reel in other categories will in any way diminish the impact on voters.
Arianne Zucker's performance was heart-wrenching. In those scenes, she was a leading actress -- and it was others that supported (or tried to support) her performance. I don't know if voters take those things into consideration when they vote. I've seen past examples where a "supporting" nominee was more leading, and they didn't win even though it was almost universally expected that they would. There were some high moments of soap -- the infamous fall down the stairs while pregnant. Will that hurt her chances? Again, I don't know. What I do know is that this was one of DAYS' best performances of the year -- and why this episode was submitted as part of their Drama Series reel.
I really think that this is a neck-and-neck battle with Julie Berman for the win, and no matter what happens, they both earned top marks in my book.
Who I'd like to win: I'd be happy for any of these actresses to win
Who voters will pick: Julie Berman
The final rankings: Julie Berman, Katherine Kelly Lang, Melissa Claire Egan, Jessica Collins