Daytime Emmy Awards 2017: Michael Logan's Fearless Predictions

Michael Logan
Sonja Flemming/CBS

Peter Bergman and Gina Tognoni in a scene from CBS' The Young and the Restless. Both are nominated for Daytime Emmy acting awards, while their show is nominated for Outstanding Daytime Drama.

Will new voting rules for the 44th Annual Daytime Emmys make for a much juicier awards show? Count on it. In seasons past, soap actors were required to submit just one episode for judging consideration, but now they can choose up to 20 killer minutes from four different episodes, and that means all beef, no filler.

Expect the competition to be fierce and some of the winners startling. Alas, just like last year, there is no broadcast TV deal in place, but the April 30 ceremony will be live-streamed from Pasadena at 8pm ET/5pm PT via Facebook Live and Twitter Periscope Producer.

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And now, here is my annual exercise in humiliation—my fearless (and frequently dead wrong) predictions!

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series
Nancy Lee Grahn (Alexis) General Hospital
Gina Tognoni (Phyllis) The Young and the Restless
Heather Tom (Katie) The Bold and the Beautiful
Jess Walton (Jill) The Young and the Restless
Laura Wright (Carly) General Hospital

Each of these terrific performances is worthy of the gold, but let’s be honest: Only Grahn, Tognoni and Wright were truly lead actresses in 2016. And one of the five would surely have been bumped if Days of Our Lives’ Melissa Reeves (Jennifer)—who did the finest lead actress work of last year—hadn’t declined to get in the race. So who’ll take that stroll to the Emmy stage? Most probably Tognoni, who submitted those blistering courtroom scenes where Phyllis blasts Victor for orchestrating her rape. But she does have a towering opponent in Wright—always flawless—who selected Carly’s devastating reaction to her son's murder.

Winner: Tognoni

Likeliest Upset: Wright

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series
Peter Bergman (Jack) The Young and the Restless
Scott Clifton (Liam) The Bold and the Beautiful
Billy Flynn (Chad) Days of Our Lives
Vincent Irizarry (Deimos) Days of Our Lives
Kristoff St. John (Neil) The Young and the Restless

Historically, this is a weak category because soap scribes rarely give their men the kind of epic emotional stories they give to the women. Not the case this year. All deliver powerfully, and from the gut, yet two stand out. Flynn soars as Chad engages in a spiritual heart-to-heart with his dead father, the notorious Stefano DiMera. And St. John is profound, understated perfection as Neil bids a final goodbye to the alcoholic mother who abandoned him so many years ago.

Winner: St. John

Likeliest Upset: Flynn

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series
Stacy Haiduk (Patty) The Young and the Restless
Anna Maria Horsford (Vivian) The Bold and the Beautiful
Finola Hughes (Anna) General Hospital
Kate Mansi (Abigail) Days of Our Lives
Kelly Sullivan (Sage) The Young and the Restless

This is a very cray category, what with Haiduk’s Mad Patty and Mansi’s Mad Abby. And Sullivan’s Sage was never really playing with a full deck, either. But this fine trio is no match for Hughes and Horsford. The former may have done herself a disservice by submitting too much versatility (Anna goes from a charmingly goofy blind date to confronting her soulmate's murderer in prison, with a tear-jerker mom-daughter scene in between) but there is no doubt that Hughes is a world-class talent. And Horsford is a revelation in scenes where Vivian learns that her holier-than-thou husband has been hiding a love child for the last 20 years. Your soul just aches for Viv, and the three-hankie ending is one of the greatest fade-outs in suds history.

Winner: Horsford

Likeliest Upset: Hughes

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series
John Aniston (Victor) Days of Our Lives
Steve Burton (Dylan) The Young and the Restless
Chad Duell (Michael) General Hospital
Jeffrey Vincent Parise (Carlos/Joe) General Hospital
James Reynolds (Abe) Days of Our Lives

Burton really deserves the hardware here, as Dylan reels from the news that baby Sully is not his kid. But I sense a surprise winner. It might be Parise, who is movie star-dynamic as psycho Carlos (but less remarkable as Father Joe) and Reynolds, who logs some marvelous screen time with Abe both in tender, superdad mode and in the hospital recovering from as assassin's bullet. But don't we all really want to see 85-year-old Aniston—so splendidly sardonic as warlord Victor—take this damn thing home?

Winner: Reynolds

Likeliest Upset: Parise

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Outstanding Younger Actress in a Drama Series
Lexi Ainsworth (Kristina) General Hospital
Reign Edwards (Nicole) The Bold and the Beautiful
Hunter King (Summer) The Young and the Restless
Chloe Lanier (Nelle) General Hospital
Alyvia Alyn Lind (Faith) The Young and the Restless

Edwards’ subtle, old-soul power is a thing to behold (perhaps too subtle to impress the Emmy judges), and Lind has uncanny emotional resources for one so young. But I think it’s Ainsworth who’ll land the prize. Her scenes in which Kristina admits to her mobster daddy that she was kicked out of school for trying to trade sex for a passing grade are striking. Then she adds the kicker: The professor she was trying to bribe into bed is a woman. You can’t beat that for drama!

Winner: Ainsworth

Likeliest Upset: Lind

Outstanding Younger Actor in a Drama Series
Bryan Craig (Morgan) General Hospital
Pierson Fodé (Thomas) The Bold and the Beautiful
James Lastovic (Joey) Days of Our Lives
Tequan Richmond (TJ) General Hospital
Anthony Turpel (R.J.) The Bold and the Beautiful

This should be a slam dunk for Craig, and his second Emmy in a row, as Morgan threatens to commit suicide rather than be committed to a mental institution. Fodé, Lastovic and Turpel need to come back another time. But Richmond, on point as TJ lays into his lying mom, is mighty impressive. It's just hard to get worked up about anything here. Young people do NOT need their own Emmy categories.

Winner: Craig

Likeliest Upset: Richmond

Outstanding Guest Performer in a Drama Series
Tobin Bell (Yo Ling) Days of Our Lives
Don Harvey (Tom) General Hospital
Monica Horan (Kieran) The Bold and the Beautiful
Nichelle Nichols (Lucinda) The Young and the Restless
Jim O'Heir (Matt) The Bold and the Beautiful

No contest here. Horror film icon Bell was a creepy blast in his exotic ubervillain gig, but it’s that intergalactic icon Nichols—yes, Star Trek’s Uhura—who will triumph as Neil's regret-filled mom Lucinda. This is the very first Emmy nomination for Nichols, who is 84. Live long and you will finally prosper!

Winner: Nichols

Likeliest Upset: Bell

Outstanding Daytime Drama
NBC’s Days of Our Lives
ABC’s General Hospital
CBS’s The Bold and the Beautiful
CBS’s The Young and the Restless

The rules are different here, with each soap submitting two full episodes (four in the case of the half-hour B&B). Days picked John and Paul's kidnapping by the wicked Yo Ling plus the dark and stormy night when Abigail is terrorized by "dead" Ben (both selections thrilling, atmospheric and beautifully crafted). GH went with the Julexis wedding and subsequent hostage crisis (highly watchable but paint-by-numbers predictable). B&B submitted its romantic Monte Carlo escapade (lots of fun but not the stuff of gold statues). And Y&R selected Adam's death-by-explosion and the emotion-charged New Year's Eve episode that ended in Devon's car crash (wise, strong choices from an otherwise dismal year). Be warned: This award is almost always an out-of-left-field jaw dropper, so bet no money here!

Winner: Days of Our Lives

Likeliest Upset: The Young and the Restless

44th Annual Daytime Emmy Awards, Sunday, April 30, 8/7c Live, streaming on Facebook Live and Twitter Periscope Producer