Find out which backstage change Y&R's Kristoff St. John credits for finally landing him a Lead Actor Emmy nomination
Posted Tuesday, March 29, 2016 10:20:53 AM
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The Young and the Restless' Kristoff St. John (Neil Winters) delves deep into the “humongous” behind-the-scenes turn of events that gave him his first ever nomination in the Lead Actor category.

For the first time in his 25-year history with The Young and the Restless, Kristoff St. John (Neil Winters) managed to score his very first Daytime Emmy nomination in the Outstanding Lead Actor category. And he says, among other things, "It just goes to show you, when you give me something I can really work with... I'm going to turn it out."

Congratulations, Kristoff!

Kristoff St. John: Wow, that was a big buildup. I feel like I just walked out on stage and the curtain just came up. What's happening with you guys?

Well, we didn't get a nomination, so... It's just another day! Where were you when you found out?

St. John: ...What was unusual was my dad was in town from Ohio for ten days, and I was in the living room and he was in the kitchen. I was passing by my dad, and believe it or not, my phone did one of those little notifications from Twitter. I had forgotten the timing of everything because years ago, I don't know if you remember, but years ago, we used to get woken up at 5:00am or earlier, because the East Coast was actually handing out the nominations. So regardless, I got a Twitter notification, I looked down, and I saw "Congrats," and it was to Christian LeBlanc [Michael Baldwin], Justin Hartley [Adam Newman], etc., and my name was there. I kind of did a double take, I looked down and then I went to Twitter, and as soon as I pushed "notifications," I saw two or three congratulations, and that's how I found out. And then my dad asked why I was breathing so heavily [laughs]. He said, "Are you okay?!" And I said, "Yeah, I just found out I got a nomination, dad!" And he said, "Really? For what?" I don't know if he thought it was the NAACP awards or what! But I hadn't told him that the Emmys were around the corner, and he doesn't keep track, so he asked me for what, and I said it was for the Daytime Emmys. So we both jumped around the living room for about 30 seconds, and I'm not kidding -- my 77-year-old dad and I grabbed hands, and we sort of jumped in a circle and went, "Yay!"

Kristoff, you did an amazing job last year, and you had a lot of scenes. Can you tell us what you submitted and how difficult that was?

St. John: Yeah, there was a lot of material. How do I phrase this properly? Listen, the storyline was humongous, this we know. Neil finding out that his wife and son had been cheating on him while he was blind was the biggest revelation of his life. I hate to say this, but there wasn't really a lot to choose from outside of the beginning of the year and the storyline that more or less concluded in I think it was April or May. All of our usual suspects were on the plane, and Neil reveals after chugging some alcohol that he can see, and that scene, there was some pretty powerful stuff. A lot of good performances from those involved. I really only had three or four episodes to choose from, believe it or not, from the entire year. The airplane episode was one, and I couldn't use more than one scene, because there was so much chaos with all of our characters at 33,000 feet. So I zoned in on one scene in particular on the plane where he's in absolute shock and then in disgust that his wife and son would do this. The second episode was from the same storyline, and it was a scene in the GCAC with Devon [Bryton James] as Neil is raging with alcoholism and asks his son to reveal what it was like, when did he find out, etc. It was a tough call because I didn't want to rely on any kind of gimmick to push a performance, and that was the alcohol part, but the performance was so honest from Bryton, and I just felt compelled to use that one scene. And at the end of the scene, he tells his son, "This is what I want you to do: I want you to go to the liquor store, buy yourself an expensive bottle of scotch, and I want you to go to a hotel room, and I want you to lock yourself in that room, and I want you to start drinking and just keep drinking." So there's some real angst and pathos in that scene, and it was interesting. Other than that, I swear to God, I mean, I like myself, and I like my work, [but] I hate watching myself, and I really couldn't come up with anything other than that. And after discussing everything with a few of my friends, and I think we all know as actors when we've done a scene that stands out, because people will let us know on set. There's always that, "Hey, man, that scenes, that scene," and you go, "Okay, I can use that."

How far in advance do you start working on an acceptance speech, if you do at all?

St. John: Well, the moment I found out, I started thanking everybody in my whole world. The moment that I found out, I thought, "I would like to thank [my dog] Marlon Brando, my guinea pigs..." [Laughs] No, I'm going to say this, seriously, and I believe anybody who's been nominated would [agree], the shower is one of the key places that my mind wanders, and I start thinking about that envelope being opened and my name being called. It's almost as grandiose, well, there's some ego involved with this story, of how you see yourself and pitting yourself against four other men for an Emmy. I don't know, I never write a speech, and that's maybe because I don't anticipate winning. I usually, because I'm a last-minute guy with many things, I usually the day before or the day of start loosely rehearsing in my mind some names of the people I know I can't forget. And apart from that, nothing else.

Where do you keep your two Emmys?

St. John: They're in storage.

We asked you this a while ago, and I was thinking if you say something different, it'll be like, "What?!"

St. John: Anything I've ever won, nominations, plaques, I don't know what box they're in, but they're in storage. It's a terrible thing, I know.

Are you in temporary digs, or do you just not have the room?

St. John: When I was living in a condo, the story is long, but the end of it is I was in a condo that was too small, and I put stuff in storage. I recently moved and bought a pretty decent sized house, and I've been to storage once or twice, but looking at the space that I have, I don't really know where to put a shrine to myself anywhere. [Laughs] I'm going to hold off for a while.

Are you going to be bringing your girlfriend to the ceremony on May 1st?

St. John: File that under have to and no questions! ... We support each other no matter what happens in life, so yeah, she'll be there. And I've got a twelve-year-old who's already chomping at the bit, asking me to bring her. I've been hesitant. I mean, it's only been a few days since I've know, but she found out, and she's like, "I wanna go, dad!" And I said, "You know, honey, to buy a ticket to the Emmys, I could take you down to Disney World in Florida, and we could have a great weekend!" But she said, "I don't care! I wanna go!"

Oh, she didn't buy it. Oh, no!

St. John: Yeah, and then I said, "Well, how come you wanna go so bad?" And she said, "Well, you won the last time you took me."

Awww! That's true, she's your lucky charm! What do you think about it being downtown at the Bonaventure?

St. John: All right, look, man, I really like the Westin Bonaventure. I've been there a few times, but I didn't know that it was a space reserved for a Daytime Emmy [event]. But hey, man, that's where it is. We're at that time in our evolution in the soap genre, where I think we're reformatting. And if that's a good way of saying we'll be on air next year or the following, let's pray that's the case.

They're still trying to get it online, but it's not a given yet.

St. John: Well, what do we need? Do we need money to televise it? Is that the thing?

Yep, that's it.

St. John: I think it probably rests with the Academy, and NATAS doesn't want to [fund it all]. It's about sponsor dollars, and POP must not be bringing in enough dollars to pay the Academy back for putting that thing together. That's what it must be. So, anyway, downtown L.A.? Yeah, that's cool. Wherever it is, I'll show up with bells on.

What do you think about the other guys in your category?

St. John: So, this is an unusual year. Tony Geary [ex-Luke Spencer, General Hospital] took it last year; this is what we know. There is Tyler Christopher [Nikolas Cassadine, GH], who is an amazing actor. And then two gentlemen from my show, [Justin Hartley, Adam Newman; and Christian LeBlanc, Michael Baldwin]. It feels unusual to have two thirds of that category dominated by men from Y&R. I take my hat off to all four other nominees, especially to Mr. Geary for having had a legendary career on daytime television, and not only that, because he has transcended daytime television. And I'm not kissing his ass right now as much as preparing myself mentally to absolutely lose with grace and applause when Mr. Geary receives his ninth Emmy. And I only say this with real conviction, because I understand this world, and I understand how we all operate. I didn't see his second episode, but his first one was really damn good. So you know, I feel blessed. Ultimately, I just want to say I feel blessed to have a lead actor nomination, and I hope you understand this is not something that is small for me. For all the years that I've been toiling in the trenches, and I'm going to say [it] like it is, [I] should have already had a Lead Actor nomination -- not because I love my work, but because I've been at this a long time, and I really have always submitted myself in supporting because of storyline [stuff]. And it just goes to show you, when you give me something I can really work with, when you give a year or two of heavy story, I'm going to turn it out. So at the end of the day, I'm going to the party. I've been invited to the dance. I've got my golden ticket, I'm going to sit in my chair, and I'm going to have a great time. And if for some odd reason, the gods shower me with that moment of glory, then I'll take it.

What do you think about St. John finally landing a Lead Actor nomination? Do think he's right in that Anthony Geary will win again this year, or do you think St. John himself will take home the award? We want to hear from you -- and there are many ways you can share your thoughts.

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