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leblanccrop.jpgreckellcrop.jpgNominee Handicapping
Peter Reckell 3 to 1
Christian LeBlanc 4 to 1
Anthony Geary 6 to 1
Daniel Cosgrove 14 to 1
Thorsten Kaye 16 to 1

Will win: Peter Reckell
Should win: Christian LeBlanc

“DAYS” Peter Reckell is going into Emmy night as a HUGE sentimental favorite that I think will be hard to beat. Reckell has never been nominated in his long and distinguished career as Salem hero Bo Brady. His reel brought me to tears and he delivered a very real powerful performance as a son who lost his father, who recounts to his mother and brother how his father died to save other’s in the plane crash of the soap season. Never has Reckell been better. I remembered the first time this aired, and felt the same way. I think this may have struck the right chord with Emmy voters. Right on Reckell's heels, is the most extraordinary performance of the year. “Y&R’s” Christian LeBlanc (twice honored) with his time out of time episode that voters tend to love. Why? Because they can follow it from beginning, middle and end, even if you have never watched an episode of “Y&R”. LeBlanc pulls out all the acting stops: unbelievable timing, comedy, drama, sadness, in this Genoa City of the classic film, “It’s a Wonderful Life”,  which also doubled as the shows Christmas episode. Another wrinkle to the Lead Actor puzzle this week will be; Can “GH’s” Tony Geary, arguably the best soap actor on television, become the most decorated and honored daytime actor of all-time? Geary has six, another win will surpass “GL’s” Justin Deas and “OLTL’s’ Erika Slezak. He might just do it if voters fall for his portrayal of judge, defense counsel, defendant and prosecutor as Luke has an out of body experience and faces his own mortality. For my taste, it’s too showy and predictable, but it's Geary. Bringing up the acting rear is “GL’s” terrific Daniel Cosgrove, whose work is excellent as a man betrayed by the woman he is about to marry.  Then there is “AMC’s” Thorsten Kaye. Mr. Slater is subtle, strong and convincing as a man scorned by his wife’s deceit. Problem is, I really wanted Kaye to submit Myrtle’s funeral. He brought me to tears with that one.


morgancrop.jpghaskellcrop.jpgNominee Handicapping
Debbi Morgan 2 to 1
Susan Haskell 3 to 1
Susan Flannery 5 to 1
Jeanne Cooper 6 to 1
Maura West 13 to 1

Will win: Debbi Morgan
Should win: Susan Haskell

In one of the most competitive lead actress categories in year, all five nominees showcased their talents in riveting shows that truly were some of their best work of the 2008 soap season. This is a close race to call, and 4 of the 5 (excluding West) I could justify to take home the Emmys. “OLTL’s” Haskell had the performance of last year as amnesiac Marty Saybrooke who falls in love with her former rapist and is lied to by him about her entire life back-story. In her scenes, Haskell is terrific, however since the Emmys are based on one show, Haskell suffers from jumpy cuts from scene to scene. On the other hand, “AMC’s” Debbi Morgan’s gut-wrenching performance as Dr. Angela Hubbard, who reunites with her husband for the first time in 20 years, via the dramatic train track scene, is stellar. Both Haskell and Morgan have won Emmys in the past in Supporting, so on Emmy night they could join the ranks of their other nominees, Flannery, Cooper and West, all who have won in this category before. “B&B’s” Susan Flannery gives a potential knockout punch as Stephanie, with a sensitive, emotional and heartfelt performance at the bed of her long-time life partner, Eric, who she believes is about to die. Last years’ winner, who gave the soap season’s overall best performance, Jeanne Cooper, chose a terrific tour de force between herself and herself. Yes, Jeanne plays Marge the drunk, and Katherine, the duchess, in the beginning of last years’ 'doppelganger’ story. Cooper won last year and could take the prize again. “ATWT’s” Maura West chose something a little less engaging for my taste, but it does delve into the complexities of star-crossed lovers Jack and Carly and signifies her year-long battle with the bottle.


bransoncrop.jpg hansiscrop.jpgNominee Handicapping
Jeff Branson 3 to 1
Van Hansis 3 to 2
Jacob Young 9 to 1
Bradford Anderson 10 to1
Vincent Irizarry 14 to 1

Will win: Jeff Branson
Should win: Van Hansis

I hope Emmy voters get this one right. To me, there are two performances that stand out here. “GL’s” Jeff Branson has the best shot at giving Guiding Light its last acting award in the shows history. What makes this good is that Branson’s Shayne in one episode shows us his unease at being back in society and in a wheelchair, when all he wants to do is get back to fight in the war….a plight many soldiers who come back home have to face. Secondly, he is thrown for a loop when he finds out his mother, Reva, has cancer. It is there that Branson shines. However, “ATWT’s” Van Hansis really delivered a solid reel that was poignant and touching as his Luke, the impulsive romantic who tries to stave off his beloved Noah, from packing his bags and calling it quits on their relationship. The reel told a whole story from beginning to end, and a win by Hansis would be thrilling for many reasons on Emmy night. In a shocker, “AMC’s” Jacob Young in the episode where he takes his dying Babe to the hospital chapel and they say their goodbyes, was not as bad as I remembered it when it first aired. “GH’s” Bradford Anderson, who is wonderful as the eccentric computer nerd Spinelli, day in day out, just did not give me an episode that I loved. Yes, it had comic timing and all, but it just did not pull me in like Branson and Hansis. If the voters want to award soap comedy, then Anderson is the guy. Sadly, “AMC’s” evil doc, David Hayward brings up the rear in this category. Vince Irizarry shows us his skills, but it left me feeling like I wanted to hand the Emmy to Branson and Hansis.


brauncrop.jpgwilliamsoncrop.jpgNominee Handicapping
Bree Williamson 2 to 1
Tamara Braun 10 to 1
Melissa Claire Egan 12 to 1
Julie Pinson 14 to 1
Alicia Minshew 16 to 1

Will Win: Bree Williamson
Should win: Bree Williamson

This SHOULD be a no-brainer, but the wacky voters often go off the beaten path many times in this categories' history. “OLTL’s’ Bree Williamson’s star turn as a woman grieving the loss of her husband at his funeral in front of family, friends, and her sister, Natalie and her beau, Jared (who she blames for her hubby Nash’s death) was so riveting. At times it took your breath away, literally! And in the end, you knew it was “flip out” time and in subsequent episodes, Tess would come back. Two of last year’s best whack-jobs, Ava Vitali and Annie Lavery, played brilliantly by Tamara Braun on “DAYS” and Melissa Claire Egan on “AMC” would be the possible long-shot upsets. Braun one of the best actresses out there, plays tortured and disturbed extremely well. Egan’s bedside performance as Annie admits her guilt to Ryan and then sees dead people…yup, Richie (in the person of Billy Miller who is back for that episode) is quite good. “ATWT’s” loveable Janet, Julie Pinson, showcased an understated and realistic portrayal of a woman trying to hold on to her man, while “AMC’s’ Alicia Minshew, is in the wrong category! Enough said.


brookscrop.jpgberriscrop.jpgNominee Handicapping
Blake Berris 4 to 1
Darin Brooks 5 to 1
Bryton James 6 to 1
Cornelius Smith Jr. 13 to 1
EJ Boniila 15 to 1

Will Win: Blake Berris
Should win: Blake Berris

This category is hard to predict. I am going out on a limb here and say Blake Berris for his performance of Nick, a geek turned murderer on “DAYS”. His reel showed range that Emmy voters like to see. However, his former cast mate and buddy, Darin Brooks also offered up a nice reel as Max confronts the father that abandoned him. Brooks stood up to his dad, and the dialogue worked and so did Brooks. Breathing down the “DAYS” boys' necks is past Emmy winner Bryton James (no longer McClure). His reel had a beginning, middle and end, that Emmy voters love to honor. B. James delivered some good moments as he watched his sister suffer the same fate as he had….being put into foster care. “AMC’s’ Cornelius Smith’s, Frankie, who has grown in his role since this Emmy nominated performance, just left me flat. I wanted to feel more emotion from a man seeing his dad for the first time in 20 years whom he believed had died! Problem was… Darnell Williams (Jesse) stole all the scenes from him. Not good. Finally, we have EJ Bonila’s Rafe, a troubled youth and convict. Bonila’s performance was subtle, but too subtle to beat any of the young men above.


rachelcrop.jpgberman.jpgNominee Handicapping
Julie Berman 2 to 1
Rachel Melvin 3 to 1
Meredith Hagner 10 to 1
Kirsten Storms 12 to 1
Emily O’Brien 15 to 1

Will win: Julie Berman
Should win: Rachel Melvin

“GH’s” Julie Berman’s (Lulu Spencer) performance taken as a stand alone episode where she delivers monologue after monologue in front of a rocking chair and blond wig (supposedly her catatonic mother Laura), is the stuff Emmy wins are made of. Powerful and complex, Berman hits all the marks as a young woman who kills her pseudo-boyfriend in self-defense like her mother did in her life some 20 years prior. Then there is the extraordinary Rachel Melvin, who plays regret, despair, and guilt while lying in a hospital bed trying to save her father's life. Melvin showed us she had the acting chops to win the gold. In a surprise, “ATWT’s” Meredith Hagner, (Liberty) actually picked a moving episode where Liberty confronts her mother’s lover, Jack. The girl tells him... if she is going to break her mother’s heart do it now. I actually liked this! “GH’s” Kirsten Storms (Maxie) and “Y&R’s” Emily O’Brien’s (Jana) reels were so short! I just could not even compare them to Berman’s or Melvin’s, although they had nice emotional high points.


daysofourlives1.jpgNominee Handicapping
Days of our Lives 3 to 1
The Bold and the Beautiful 5 to 1
All My Children 8 to 1

Will win: Days of our Lives
Should win: Days of our Lives

It's oxygen masks vs. heart valves vs. a twister in the unusual suspects for this year's biggest prize, The Outstanding Daytime Drama Series. While episode selection is the key to an Emmy win, since we are not judging the soaps on their body of work, we have to look solely at the shows entries. DAYS looks to take home its first Daytime Emmy in 31 years for its dizzying, and at times dazzling effects of a sea of beloved Salemites fighting to stay alive, and preparing themselves for a big crash. I will say one thing to Ed Scott and Ken Cordy ( co-executive producers). After viewing this episode, I don't want to board an airplane any time soon. Could a victory by DAYS put Higley-gate behind us? And the blood-letting that occurred late last year when long time vets were kicked to the curb? Looks like. Then there is "B&B", whose subject matter is emotionally wrought with human drama. Long brilliant story short... Katie is shot, needs a heart transplant, brother Storm accidentally shot her, and decides to save her, so he will commit suicide thus Katie has a matching donor heart. It was one of "B&B's" best show submission in years, and Katherine Kelly Lang (Brooke) gave another winning performance that makes you wonder...will this lady ever get a nomination of her own? The only thing that hinders this a bit, maybe a few times where the dialog seems a bit preachy or trite.  And, will the voters go for a suicidal brother shooting himself for his sister? I think its a great plot twist.  Then there is, "Auntie Em, It's a twister. Right here in Pine Valley."  I am talking about All My Children's CGI effects for its highly promoted tornado episodes. When the twister hit, although some of the effects were cool, some weren't.  In the end, it left this viewer lackluster and cold.  But the academy nominated the series with 19 nods going into Emmy weekend.  It could just be the industry's darling episode.


bold_and_beautiful2.jpgNominee Handicapping
The Bold and the Beautiful 5 to 1
One Life to Live 6 to 1
General Hospital 8 to 1
All My Children 14 to 1

Will win: The Bold and the Beautiful
Should win: "B&B" with "OLTL" right behind it.

Every year, the Academy chooses to shock soap pundits and followers of the Emmys with an unsuspecting winner or upset in the directing and writing categories. This year, the competition is a bit tricky.  Here is what we got: "B&B" has the human drama with Katie's Heart Transplant/Storm Suicide. "OLTL's" choice was, "Who Wants To Be Shane Morasco's Father?" which is a very cleverly written piece if you know the characters and all the inside jokes of One Life.  I am not sure voters will know all the brilliant little gems, but it is written by last year's winning writing team in this category,  Team Ron Carlivati of One Life. "GH" did submit Michael's shooting, and if you look at long term story arc, it was this show that has been the defining moment in almost a year and half's worth of story.  Something to think about.  Finally, All My Children gave us Eden Riegel's Bianca, struggling to deliver Zach's baby in the middle of a tornado.  Problem is that baby should have never been written into Bianca's storyline,because hindsight is 20/20, and the ire of the "AMC" fans was enough to make this writing choice an Emmy downer.


daysofourlives1.jpgNominee Handicapping
Days of our Lives 2 to 1
All My Children 6 to 1
One Life to Live 7 to 1

Will win: Days of our Lives
Should win: Days of our Lives

How do you direct a bunch of heavy breathing, oxygen masked, faces in terror? Ask director Noel Maxam of DAYS and the brilliant Ed Scott's whose production values brought this concept home. DAYS hands down will walk away with the directing prize. In second, "OLTL's", "Who Wants To Be Shane Morasco's father?" My problem with this is , I thought it was a better writing piece than directing. Then we have All My Children. It has the tornado episode and I have a feeling this might sneak in because of its direction of people, CGI effects, and the twister of destruction leveling out our little town of P.V.

Photo Credits: Courtesy of JPI, ABC, and NATAS.