As has been the case for the past few years, Dan will share how he would have voted if he were an Emmy voter and also offer his thoughts on who the pool of Emmy voters will select. Sometimes the two choices are the same -- and sometimes they are wildly different. And somehow, they are usually both still wrong.
▸ Skip ahead to Dan's picks for Drama Series
▸ Skip ahead to Dan's picks for Lead and Actress
▸ Skip ahead to Dan's picks for Supporting Actor and Actress
▸ Skip ahead to Dan's picks for Younger Actor and Actress
▸ Skip ahead to Dan's picks for Guest Performer
2015: 2 for 8
2014: 1 for 8
2013: 6 for 8
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
The Drama Series reels were not released to the general public again this year -- but through some great sleuthing, I was able to dig up exactly what episodes were submitted. You can check them out here.
By nature of its 30-minute length, The Bold and the Beautiful gets what I would consider to be a bit of a leg up on the other soaps in this category. B&B is able to submit four episodes instead of the usual two. Don't get me wrong -- it's completely fair. I don't know if B&B could pick any four episodes or if they have to submit two sets of back-to-back episodes. It's a question that is on my list of things to ask. In theory, if any four episodes were allowed, it could be a factor that was heavily in B&B's favor. That aside, gone are the days when B&B does a handful of episodes just for Emmy consideration. You may have heard the term "Emmy bait" used to describe it. B&B's first two episodes mixed topical drama -- Maya revealed to Rick that she was transgender -- with some salacious, soapy, political incorrectness -- Bill devising a scandalous headline for a tabloid. The show's second batch of episodes are featured strongly in some of the acting categories: Maya confronting her father about his failure to accept her for who she is. There is a similar vein to the episodes, which I think is beneficial to B&B's case for best drama. There is, however, an argument to be made that the other shows' submissions show a wider range of story. But B&B managed to tell a story that hasn't been done in this way before, and it was handled incredibly well.
Days of our Lives had some smart choices with its submissions. Featured were stars that voters will recognize simply by seeing them and an episode that celebrated the NBC soap's 50th anniversary. The first episode was very strong: a mother demanding to know where her kidnapped child had been taken, and a well-known character torturing a really good really bad guy. It highlighted all of the things that good soap can be. They were well filmed and highly dramatic. The second episode -- the one celebrating the show's anniversary -- celebrates soapiness. There's a wedding and a guy believed to be dead who resurfaces just a few minutes too late to stop the wedding of the love of his life. Oh! And there's also a planned murder of the bride in question.
I am sure this will be an unpopular thing to say, but Frank Valentini has a very odd track record for picking the episodes for the Outstanding Drama Series reel. Of course, I am assuming that as the show runner, he makes the selection. But I could be wrong. It started at One Life to Live and has continued to General Hospital. There have been some recent years when GH was the best soap on the air -- and the episodes selected were not even close to demonstrating that. This year, the show selected an episode that could qualify as a stand-alone episode, but fortunately it is one that features strong storytelling and great direction. The anniversary episode explained the backstory of the Emmy-winningest character in the history of daytime television: Luke Spencer. There are some elements that may have come across as a bit... I am struggling for the word... scenery-chewy. Sometimes you have to make up a word to properly convey your thoughts. But the throughline of the episode is so compelling and so shocking that it hits the bull's-eye. The second episode submitted has just about everything that soaps are known for: a fight, a baby reveal, a broken engagement, a lovers' reunion. The only things missing were a murder and an evil twin. Interestingly, these two episodes do show the best work of two different writing teams.
The Young and the Restless seems to always be the odds-on favorite to win Outstanding Drama Series. It's been the top-rated show for longer than I've been alive. Hush. Don't you dare roll your eyes and call me a liar! Ahem. Anyway, getting back to the category at hand... The Young and the Restless wisely chose two consecutive episodes that featured the biggest payoff on the show in years: the reveal that Adam was alive and living under everyone's noses as Gabriel. Need further proof that the storyline was powerful? Look no further than the Outstanding Lead Actor and Justin Hartley's first Emmy nod. I'll discuss that in the next section. But the storyline roped in just about every one of the key players on the show, and it included Eric Braeden getting to punch someone. There is a clear storyline through the reel, and it also features other stories that hold viewer interest.
Honestly, this year is a crapshoot. I would not be surprised if there were another tie. There is a lot of politicking that gets involved in these votes, and I almost feel like having an impartial panel of voters (like journalists who cover the soaps and non-daytime members) might make it a better process. But isn't that true of nearly every awards show? There are anecdotal stories of nominees that were snubbed for some of their best work who then won for years when maybe they shouldn't have, but the voters wanted to make up for the previous oversight. My personal choice is that B&B ruled the roost in 2015 and should be properly rewarded.
Who will win: The Young and the Restless
My final rankings: The Bold and the Beautiful, General Hospital, The Young and the Restless, Days of our Lives
It is amazing to see Tyler Christopher in the Lead Actor category. To me, his 1998 Younger Actor nomination seems like just yesterday. Where has the time gone? Like a fine wine, Christopher's performances have only gotten better with time. His portrayal of a father going through all the stages of grief after his son has been injured in a fire was difficult to watch. In a good way, though. But -- yes, there's a but -- so much of my personal reaction is based upon watching the on-screen chemistry of Tyler and young Nicholas Bechtel over the past few years. The performance is powerful, but is it because of the emotional nature of the story? I don't know if voters put their feelings aside when they vote and choose simply on the acting or if they take other factors into consideration. That's probably the reason that one year I'll predict all the winners then the next year get none. There is also some concern that the bulk of the meaty material is at the front end of the reel, and the reel ends with content that isn't as strong.
Kristoff St. John is another actor that seems to have been in the Younger Actor category just yesterday. In actuality, it was 1992 when he took home his Younger Actor crown. Add that together with his 2008 Supporting Actor crown, and Kristoff could become the second performer in Emmy history to win in every division of the acting categories. (His former cast mate Heather Tom was the first to do so.) And to be honest, he deserves it. Give me a bowl of popcorn or some other salty/crunchy snack, and I could sit and watch Kristoff play angry all day long. All. Day. Long. And that's mostly because he's a nice guy in real life. Later in these predictions, I will talk about wedding and funeral confrontations, but because I wrote these predictions in the opposite order of which they are posted, I forgot all about another of my favorite confrontations: the guess-what-I-am-no-longer-blind/paralyzed/comatose confrontation. The really powerful moments for me come in the second episode. Neil tells Devon to (essentially) kick rocks and then hits Devon with the "you're not my son anymore" knockout punch.
Christian LeBlanc is like Tony Geary to me in many ways. He's got a bunch of Emmys, and he's a great actor. The storyline for which he was nominated was also reportedly one that could have been his last had contract talks gone a different way. The first episode was a bit short in content, but it set the stage pretty well for what was to follow. In the first episode, Michael rails against a doctor who failed to come up with a magical cure that would not compromise Michael's "manhood." The second is unlike anything that we've seen on soaps, though I think there have been television or movies that have played up the plot. Michael hires the services of a prostitute -- not to sleep with her, but to see if he could. Watching LeBlanc's character talking to a stranger about how much he wants to make love to his wife could come off as "kinky," but Christian delivers the material sympathetically and full of emotion.
When I think of Justin Hartley, I still can't help but think of Passions. You know, that wacky little soap that featured dolls that came to life and all sorts of other kooky stuff. So you've got flying monkeys and zombies on the brain and you sort of think, "Eh. This reel's probably not gonna win." And then when you watch Justin's reel, you see how he more than succeeded in taking over a role that was played by a very popular actor. My only concern with the reel is that while Justin gets to play smug and then pleafully apologetic and backpedally, his costar, Melissa Claire Egan, has the material that draws the focus. There have been cases where an actor was stellar, but another actor in their reel was not, and it's hurt their chances. There have also been instances when a strong costar has also hurt a nominee's chances. Win or lose, Justin has been doing the best work of his career on Y&R.
Who voters will pick: Anthony Geary
My final rankings: Kristoff St. John, Anthony Geary, Tyler Christopher, Justin Hartley, Christian LeBlanc
At under five minutes, Tracey Bregman's reel is the shortest reel submitted this year. So a seemingly good question to ask is can a four-minute-and-change reel stand up against a reel that is three times longer? It can if your reel is filled with awesomeness like Tracey's is. Tracey Bregman and Christian LeBlanc together is like peanut butter and chocolate... a hamburger and French fries... Anybody else getting hungry? I just think they are a great on-screen pair, and it is wonderful that they are both nominated this year. That being said, I do think that the shortness of the reel may end up working against her in terms of voters who are looking for the most bang for their buck in a reel.
Kassie DePaiva is, for me, a sentimental favorite. You cannot find a bigger supporter of daytime television. When One Life to Live was canceled, Kassie was there to help grieving fans. When the show was resurrected on the Internet? Yup, that was Kassie helping people figure out how to watch. When she was hired for DAYS, she called out to OLTL fans looking for a soap to call home and told them to tune in. And when Kassie's run on DAYS was cut short, she didn't turn to Twitter to make a series of 140-character rants. No, she encouraged people to continue to tune in -- with or without her -- because she wants to make sure that daytime drama series continue. That alone deserves some sort of award -- and it could factor into voting the same way that Tony Geary's slash-and-burn exit could. Kassie runs the range of emotions in her reel. DePaiva brilliantly shows all the stages of grief. It's never over the top, but even in moments of abandon, there is still a certain level of control. Jen Lilley and A. Martinez offer great support throughout the reel. When you add in Eve seeing a vision of her daughter that fades into nothing just beyond her reach? It's magic.
Mary Beth Evans showed off a bit this year. After being overlooked for years by the Emmy voters, she scored two nominations: one for Lead Actress and one for the digital series The Bay. I love that Evans' second episode is lighthearted. It reminds everyone that daytime is more than dead babies and alcoholism. Of course, rarely does the lightheartedness seem to win Emmys. And I also worry that the first episode of the reel has Mary Beth in more of a supporting capacity.
Finola Hughes' reel does a really good job of telling a story. Rather than start off with all of the sad stuff, we get to see Anna slap the heck out of Julian Jerome. Then we get the heartbreak of seeing Anna sob over Duke's body. The real sizzle comes during Anna's session with her therapist. Finola Hughes makes use of every inch of that set. From pouring herself some water to fumbling through her purse for tissues. It plays so much better visually than a lot of soap scenes that don't allow an actor to wander about. It seems like a trivial detail, but it's something that often ends up as a comparison point when folks compare soaps and some primetime dramas. Finola Hughes is one of the strongest actresses in daytime, and -- regardless of how the Emmy balloting goes -- fans are the winners when General Hospital finally gives her material worthy of her talent.
Maura West, who at one point seemed like she couldn't buy an Emmy, is suddenly the "veteran" in this Emmy category. She has three Emmy wins to her name, and it's really, really possible that she'll pick up a fourth this year. Maura's reels revolve around what still remains an uncomfortable subject for many: the right to die. Faced with a prognosis that she had only a few months to live, Ava begged Dr. Silas Clay to help her end her life. The scenes are heart wrenching and even thought provoking. Flash forward to the second reel for some campy look-alike goodness and the big reveal that Denise is actually Ava. The only thing that could potentially derail a back-to-back win is whether or not voters aren't feeling the Denise portion of the storyline. No one can deny West's home run performance in the first episode.
This is a three-way race in my mind between Kassie, Finola, and Maura. It is possible that the two GH actresses will split the vote, paving the way for Kassie DePaiva to win... or for one of the other nominees to take the prize.
Who voters will pick: Kassie DePaiva
My final rankings: Kassie DePaiva, Finola Hughes, Maura West, Tracey Bregman, Mary Beth Evans