Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Thoughts on the 40th Annual Daytime Emmy Awards

The Daytime Emmy Awards get no respect -- just like the actors and actresses they honor. The prizes, which were handed out for the 40th time on Sunday, June 16, are to the Primetime Emmys what the Primetime Emmys and the Tonys are to the Oscars, only worse. Or what the Golden Globes are to the Oscars. No, what the Critics' Choice Awards are to the Oscars. Or what the American Music Awards are to the Grammys.

Personally, the only Daytime Emmy categories that interest me are the drama/acting ones. If I were The Price Is Right's emcee, I suppose I'd be thrilled to win Outstanding Game Show Host, but I can't understand why anyone else would really care.

The best thing about the Daytime Emmy's drama/acting categories is how unpredictable they are. Every year, the experts weigh in on who they think will win, and every year, most of them are wrong. That's half of the fun, watching them fail. The other half is looking for patterns among the winners and nominees. Here are a few I've come up with this year.

If there's a clear consensus among prognosticators in any acting category not involving General Hospital's Anthony Geary as Luke Spencer, the Daytime Emmys will defy it. Who else but Ellen Degeneres was going to win Outstanding Talk Show Host? But the moment every pundit and his/her mother (yes, the moms of the moderators actually occasionally weigh in on the podcasts and radio shows that I listen to) started rooting for The Bold and the Beautiful's Susan Flannery (as Stephanie Forrester) and Katherine Kelly Lang (as Brooke Logan) for Outstanding Lead Actress and Outstanding Supporting Actress, respectively, and saying those awards were theirs to lose (a virtual kiss of death), I knew they were bound to do just that (see below).

The Academy likes to hand out Daytime Emmys as consolation prizes/parting gifts. Especially in the Outstanding Younger Actor/Actress categories. In recent years past, David Lago, Drew Tyler Bell and Britanny Allen all won awards after being fired from/leaving their respective soaps. This year, two-time Outstanding Younger Actress winner Julie Marie Berman won Outstanding Supporting Actress after vacating her role as Lulu Spencer on General Hospital, and first-time nominee Kristen Alderson won Outstanding Younger Actress for her long-time One Life To Live/General Hospital role as Star Manning after trading it in for the new GH role of Lauren "Kiki" Frank.

This year if you were an actress with ties to The Bold and the Beautiful's Outstanding Supporting Actor Scott Clifton, you had a better chance of winning. Check this out: When Alderson played Starr on One Life to Live, Clifton played high-school teacher Schuyler Joplin, on whom Starr had an inappropriate crush. As Dylan Quartermaine on General Hospital, he not only took the virginity of Berman's Lulu Spencer, but he got her pregnant, too. Finally, Clifton's Bold character Liam Spencer is the stepson of Outstanding Lead Actress winner Heather Tom's Bold character Katie Logan. (Fun fact: Like his former GH costar Berman, Clifton won in the Outstanding Supporting category after winning in the Outstanding Younger one, an accomplishment previously realized by Tom.)

This year, if you were an Outstanding Supporting Actor nominee with ties to Heather Tom, you had a better chance of winning. And the two guys who tied for the prize both fit that bill. In addition to the step status of Tom's and Clifton's Bold characters, Outstanding Supporting Actor Billy Miller won for the second time in that category for playing the Young and the Restless character, Billy Abbott, for which Tom's younger brother David won Outstanding Younger Actor in 2000. (Fun facts: Both Toms, incidentally, are the siblings of Nicholle Tom, who played the eldest Sheffield child on The Nanny, and Yvonne Zima, the sister of Madeline, who played the youngest Sheffield child, previously appeared on Y&R as second-generation villainess Daisy Carter.) Miller's version of Abbott is now married to Victoria Newman, the role for which Heather Tom won Outstanding Younger Actress in 1993 and 1999.

Daytime Emmy love tends to come in waves. Anthony Geary won the first of seven Outstanding Lead Actor Emmys for playing Luke Spencer in 1982 and then had to wait 17 years before he won the first of his next six, which he racked up between 1999 and 2012. On the distaff side, after winning two Outstanding Younger Actress awards for playing Victoria Newman on The Young and the Restless in eight consecutive nominations, Tom was un-nominated for three years, went 0 for 2 (in the Outstanding Supporting Actress race) during her three years as Kelly Cramer on One Life to Live, and was again un-nominated in 2009 and 2010. Now the Academy adores her once more: She's won prizes for playing Katie Logan (one Outstanding Supporting Actress, two Outstanding Lead Actress) three consecutive years and counting.

Unlike with the Academy Awards, there's really no such thing as overdue with the Daytime Emmys. Although there are some exceptions (the late Jeanne Cooper, who won Outstanding Lead Actress in 2008 on her eighth nomination), most multiply nominated actors and actresses score the bulk of those nominations after their first win, not as an extended prelude leading up to it. Susan Lucci may have finally earned Outstanding Lead Actress honors in 1999 on her 19th nomination, but just because you get a nod year after year after year doesn't mean you'll eventually win. All My Children's James Mitchell (Palmer Cortlandt), Days of Our Lives' Susan Seaforth Hayes (Julie Olson Williams), Search for Tomorrow's Mary Stuart (Joanne Gardner), General Hospital and Port Charles's Kin Shriner (Scotty Baldwin), The Young and the Restless's Joshua Morrow (Nicholas Newman) and General Hospital's Leslie Charleson (Monica Quartermaine) all are among the numerous actors and actresses who have been nominated four times or more without ever winning.

Sometimes the Daytime Emmys get it just right. And then there's The Young and the Restless's Doug Davidson, who won Outstanding Lead Actor on his fourth nomination on Sunday, almost exactly 35 years into his stint as Paul Williams on TV's No. 1-rated daytime drama. His acting throughout the storyline in which Paul shot and killed his son Ricky was the best I saw on TV, in daytime and in primetime, in 2012, and it rivaled pretty much anything I saw in film, too.

Surely the Daytime Emmys won't be televised in 2014 (for the second year, HLN did the honors this year). There. I said it. Every year everyone predicts doom and gloom the following year, and every next year, everyone is wrong. So maybe if we all say it again this year, next year we'll all once again be wrong. Here's to hoping.
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