Soaps and Stars Likely to Clean Up

Apr 12, 2004  •  Post A Comment

This one is too close to call.
This category is filled with previous winners and multiple-nominees and really could be anyone’s ballgame. Tamara Braun, a relative newcomer, is playing a role for which her predecessor won the award three times.
Filling Sarah Joy Brown’s shoes wasn’t easy, but Ms. Braun has more than made the part her own. Voters love when a recast puts a new spin on a tough character, but some of her material arguably went beyond melodramatic (getting shot during childbirth) and when judged out of context may be tough to take seriously.
Our gut says the winner will be Michelle Stafford, who plays her part with equal doses of venom and vulnerability. Very few actresses can have viewers laughing and crying in the same scene. The writers gave Ms. Stafford’s Phyllis a broken romance, high drama, humor and angst-ridden boardroom intrigue. If that combo doesn’t put an award in her hands again (she won as a supporting actress in 1997), nothing will.
Kim Zimmer is always formidable competition (she’s won three times), but this wasn’t her year and “Guiding Light” didn’t give her the goods. That’s saying a lot, since in the past she has played an Amish woman, a ghost and a clone-no kidding.
Nancy Lee Grahn, a previous supporting actress winner who plays “General Hospital’s” feisty resident lawyer, should have sued the writers this year for making her play a man in disguise. Critics hated that story line, and that kind of buzz often reverberates in voters’ ears.
Maura West is always terrific, but we’re guessing that like Susan Lucci before her, she doesn’t always submit her best material to the judges or
she’d have a shelf full of Emmys by now.
The Nominees
* Tamara Braun (Carly), “General Hospital”
* Nancy Lee Grahn (Alexis), “General Hospital”
* Michelle Stafford (Phyllis), “The Young and the Restless”
* Maura West (Carly), “As the World Turns”
* Kim Zimmer (Reva), “Guiding Light”
Should win: Michelle Stafford, but make way for Tamara Braun next year
Will win: Michelle Stafford
Outstanding Lead Actor
Maurice Benard, Eric Braeden and Anthony Geary have become virtual locks to be nominated every year, whether or not their story lines pass muster. These guys can take any material and make it watch-worthy, and the voters know it.
If the academy wants the tried-and-true, any one of these actors (including last year’s winner, Mr. Benard) will be going up to the podium again.
Roger Howarth, who won an Emmy as a supporting actor playing rapist and all-around bad boy Todd on “One Life to Live,” is now playing less-bad but still naughty Paul on “As the World Turns.” Mr. Howarth is solid and well liked, but winning for his first time in a new role is not likely.
If Thorsten Kaye wins-for a show, “Port Charles,” that’s been canceled-Al Gore losing Florida will no longer be the most stunning voting surprise in recent memory. As for the favorites, Mr. Geary could be done in by story lines that weren’t exactly memorable (nothing remotely comes close to when he had to confess to his son that he once raped the boy’s mother). Mr. Braeden’s Victor had a wild ride this year, including getting hit on by his son’s wife to fighting with his son and losing his daughter, who left town. But scenes where he confronted his supposedly dead father (with guest star George Kennedy) smacked of “this is my Emmy scene”-and voters tend to smell those a mile away. Mr. Benard got to go toe-to-toe a couple of hundred times with his archenemy, bed scores of women and menace the town of Port Charles, all the while looking natty and nasty. He will be tough to beat, as always.
But this year Grant Aleksander did something even tougher. He played a mentally fragile, broken man who was once a captain of industry. Plus, he had some steamy scenes, including one where his character had sex with his dad’s wife in an elevator. Voters love range like that, and Mr. Aleksander hit all the right notes, without ever looking too obvious about it.
The Nominees
* Grant Aleksander (Phillip), “Guiding Light”
* Maurice Benard (Sonny), “General Hospital”
* Eric Braeden (Victor), “The Young and the Restless”
* Anthony Geary (Luke), “General Hospital”
* Roger Howarth (Paul), “As the World Turns”
* Thorsten Kaye (Ian), “Port Charles”
Should win: Grant Aleksander
Will win: Grant Aleksander, unless he picks the wrong tapes and leaves the door open for Maurice Benard
Oustanding Supporting Actress
Sharon Case is easily one of daytime’s most beautiful actresses, and as such has been cast in boring eye-candy roles on “As the World Turns” and “General Hospital.” During her tenure on “The Young and the Restless,” she quietly became one of daytime’s most respected actresses. She can cry like nobody’s business, and last year she was nothing if not put upon. But if voters consider her more of a lead actress, that will work against her-as if her pretty blue eyes, blonde mane and model figure don’t do that already.
Kathy Brier was often heartbreaking as she mourned her dead lover (who is now back as a ghost). And for good measure, she’s also tearing up the boards on Broadway in “Hairspray.” Actors like to applaud each other when they get work, especially glossy work that enhances their soap portfolio. Also in Ms. Brier’s favor, she isn’t a glamour-puss. As stupid as that sounds, her Everyman appeal cannot be ignored.
There is no actress on daytime funnier than Ilene Kristen, but this category isn’t for comedy.
It won’t help Cady McClain that “As the World Turns” wrote her off the show for a couple of months. If she is so important to the story, why let her go?
And speaking of going, Heather Tom (a two-time Emmy winner) wanted a raise at “The Young and the Restless,” but the producers balked and she moved on to “One Life to Live.” Her goodbye scenes at “Y&R” were barn-burners, especially one in which she told off her brother Nicholas, which could quite easily give her Emmy No. 3.
The Nominees
* Kathy Brier (Marcie), “One Life to Live”
* Sharon Case (Sharon), “The Young and the Restless”
* Ilene Kristen (Roxy), “One Life to Live”
* Cady McClain (Rosanna), “As the World Turns”
* Heather Tom (Victoria), “The Young and the Restless”
Should win: Sharon Case
Will win: Heather Tom
Oustanding Supporting Actor
William de Vry made a most capable villain, and his death touched off one of the better plots on “All My Children” this past year. But if a story line works even when you’re not in it, that’s not necessarily a good situation come voting time. This is a category that usually translates to: Give it to the veteran in the group. That would favor Ron Raines and James Reynolds. But Mr. Raines wasn’t given enough to do, and Mr. Reynolds, NBC’s lone acting nod, was written out of the controversial Salem stalker plot.
Mr. Reynolds can only hope that sentimentality will favor the fired guy.
Unfortunately for him, this year he has to contend with Rick Hearst, a younger actor and previous winner; and Christian Jules LeBlanc, who might be the most understated, charismatic and poignant actor on daytime. Mr. LeBlanc has taken his once-hated lawyer character and made him someone viewers root for. How he did that is anyone’s guess and probably worthy of a prize. He makes smug and unappealing quite likable, and his range is off the chart.
This one really comes down to which actor-Mr. Hearst or Mr. LeBlanc-chose the best reel for himself. Historically, Mr. Hearst has excelled in this area (not to mention that he can make a classy, memorable acceptance speech).
While every other category has a potential dark horse candidate, this competition is clear-cut. It’s Mr. LeBlanc or Mr. Hearst, or there should be a recount.
The Nominees
* William de Vry (Michael), “All My Children”
* Rick Hearst (Ric), “General Hospital”
* Christian Jules LeBlanc (Michael), “The Young and the Restless”
* Ron Raines (Alan), “Guiding Light”
* James Reynolds (Abe), “Days of Our
Should win: Christian Jules LeBlanc
Will win: Christian Jules LeBlanc