And the Award Goes To...
"Passions" Josh Ryan Evans (Timmy) and Juliette Mills (Tabitha) started the evening with an entertaining scene as Timmy convinced Tabitha that soap characters were indeed their kind of people. Mere mention of Dr. Marlena, once possessed by the devil, and Tabitha was eager to mingle with the soap illuminaries. "Poof" and the two connivers disappeared into the audience at the Palladium to introduce the festivities.
The opening ceremony began with "Days of Our Lives" stars Deidre Hall (Dr. Marlena Evans Black), dressed in a stunning diamond-studed bodice satin sage gown, and the always debonair Drake Hogestyn (John Black), presenting the award for Outstanding Younger Leading Actor. With a talented field that included Bryan Datillo (Lucas, DOOL) and Jason Shane-Scott (Will, OLTL), it was handsome Mark Consuelos who emerged victorious for his role as Mateo Santos on "All My Children."
Next up were "The Young and the Restless" stars Melody Scott Thomas (Nikki) and Eric Braeden (Victor), who introduced the 25th Anniversary tribute to Soap Opera Digest. Interspersed here, as well as throughout the show, were quick glimpses at past Soap Opera Digest covers featuring fan-favorite story headlines.
Announcing the award for Favorite Couple were Tony Geary (Luke) and Jeanne Francis (Laura), soapdom's most famous golden pairing from "General Hospital." Nominees included Martha Bryne and Jon Hensley (Lily and Holden, ATWT), Joie Lenz and Paul Anthony Stewart, (Michelle and Danny, GL), but the fan favorite choice was Erika Slezak and Mark Derwin (Ben and Viki, OLTL). This was the 2nd Soap Opera Award win for Derwin, and the 9th for Slezak, not in attendance at the ceremony, whose successful career playing Viki/Nikki has parlayed her into every conceivable daytime award known to mankind.
One of the most competitive fields of the evening was for the Outstanding Younger Actress Award. The wealth of talented nominees and their respective heavy hitting storylines were key in providing the canvas from which these actresses were allowed to display some of the most outstanding acting work of the year. From the field of nominees which included Adrienne Franz (Amber, B&B), Alison Sweeney (Sami, DOOL), Maura West (Carly, ATWT), it was Kelly Ripa (Haley, AMC) who walked away with the award. Ripa, dressed in a very chic snake print zipper shirt, received her award from "Passions" young sister duo, Lena Cardwell (Simone) and Brook Kerr (Whitney).
"Guiding Light" stars Joie Lenz (Michelle) and Paul Anthony Stewart (Danny) took to the stage next to present the award for Outstanding Supporting Actress. From a field of nominees which included Laura Koslow (Kate, DOOL) and Julie Pinson (Eve, PC), it was Nancy Lee Graham (Alexis, GH) who walked onto the stage to receive her award. Dressed in a white shirt, diamond necklace, French twist – proving that simple can be both elegant and beautiful – Graham delivered a heartfelt speech thanking her castmates and writers.
Taking the stage next to present the award for Favorite Teen Star were "All My Children's" Finola Hughes (Anna), doing her best Jennifer Lopez imitation with a bodice revealing, cut-down-the-middle white shirt along with black boots and blazer and a diamond necklace, and the always handsome John Callahan (Edmund, AMC). Erin Torpey (Jessica, OLTL), with her blonde hair slicked back to provide a very 20's glamour look to go along with her lovely satin ecru gown complete with flapper style type fringes, beat out a field that included Amber Tamblyn (Emily, GH) and Jesse Metcalfe (Miguel, Passions).
Already winners in their respective categories for the evening, "All My Children" stars Kelly Ripa (Hayley) and Mark Consuelos (Mateo) were again on stage, this time to start off "Producers Choice," a parade of show clips from each soap which would be shown intermittently throughout the broadcast.
On stage next was Concetta Tomei, dressed in a simple black spaghetti strap dress accentuated with a black rhinestone rope necklace, who introduced a sequence on "Mothers and Daughters." Perhaps the grand highlight of the entire collection of clips was watching the B&B's Amber (Adrienne Franz) disown her mother with so much venom and bite that it caused a cheer among the audience.
Brother and sister tandem Alison Sweeney (Sami) and Jensen Ackles (Eric) from "Days of Our Lives" were the next presenters for the Favorite Actor category. From a particularly competitive field of definite fan favorites which included Eric Braeden (Victor), the mustached maestro of Y&R, and Kin Shriner (Scott, PC), it was Maurice Benard (Sonny, GH) who took home the award. Benard, who tackled a particularly difficult storyline that touched upon his own personal difficulties dealing with manic depression, left a message to other sufferers in his acceptance speech when he graciously encouraged "...To anyone who's manic-depressive, don't give up..."
"The Bold & the Beautiful's" young, front-burner stars Adrienne Franz (Amber), Justin Torkildsen (Rick) and Ashley Lyn Cafagna (Kimberly), looking again the fashion plate in a beaded gown that appeared to be a two piece split at the naval, were the presenters for Favorite Actress. With other nominees that included Kristian Alfonso (Hope/Princess Gina, DOOL) and Melody Thomas-Scott (Nikki, Y&R), the talented Sarah Brown walked away with the award in this category.
"One Life to Live" stars Erin Torpey (Jessica), who won earlier for "Favorite Teen Star", and Jason-Shane Scott (Will) took the stage to present one of the evening's most popular categories, Favorite Scene Stealer. From a field that included Patty D'Arbanville (Selena, GL) and Lesli Kay (Molly, ATWT), it was Josh Ryan Evans (Timmy, Passions) who not only received the award, but perhaps the lion's share of the evening's applause. Dressed smartly in a Matrix suit, Evans thanked the three ladies in his life – his mother, grandmother, and his lovely Tabitha.
"The Bold & the Beautiful" star Darlene Conley, stunning in a periwinkle sequined chiffon over blouse and matching floor length skirt with fuchsia sequined tank along with her long, flaming red locks was ever flamboyant as she tried to spice things up by introducing another memorable clips from past Soap Opera Award Shows. The first featured Conley and Fabio in a segment that was tiring and unneeded fodder for TV purists who think this medium hasn't gone past the stage of embarrassment. This other was a charming sequence featuring Carol Burnett, the self-professed "All My Children" fanatic, who poked fun at Susan Lucci and her failed Emmy bids. Undoubtedly, it was this sort of levity that Ms. Burnett provided that needed to be present more throughout the present day show.
The presenters for Outstanding Female Newcomer was the warring trio from "Days of Our Lives." Headed by a stunning Renee Jones (Lexie), dressed in tight raw silk gown that changed colors whenever she moved, and flanked by James Carver (Abe) and Matt Cedeno (Brandon), they handed the award to Abigail Spencer (Becca, AMC), who made sure to thank the Lord and all of her castmates. Other nominees included Lindsay Korman (Theresa, Passions) and Marissa Tait (Becky, B&B).
ATWT favorites Martha Byrne (Lily) and Jon Hensley (Holden) presented the next award for Outstanding Male Newcomer. Nominees included Donn Swaby (Chad, Passions) and Bradley Cole (Prince Richard, GL). The award went to a thankful David Tom (Billy, Y&R), who thanked his beautiful sisters, both seated in the audience and quite proud of their brother.
The following presenters were another young front burner couple, this time from "Passions." Galen Gering (Luis) and McKenzie Westmore (Sheridan) took to the stage to present the award for Favorite Return, which went to Finola Hughes (Anna, AMC). Hughes, whose arrival at AMC amid accusations that her role led to the ouster of fan favorite Michael Nader (see Dimitri is back!, Nader fans call for AMC tune out, Michael Nader willing to return), made sure to thank her new castmates and the welcoming atmosphere. Nominees included Eileen Davidson (Ashley, Y&R) and Elizabeth Hubbard (Lucinda, ATWT).
Presenting the award for Outstanding Supporting Actor was "General Hospital" stars Jackie Zeman (Bobbi) and A Martinez (Roy). From a field that included Scott Holmes (Tom, ATWT) and Robert Newman (Josh, GL), it was Jon Lindstrom (Kevin, PC) who emerged as the victor. In a rather candid speech explaining how exciting it was to win and making sure that thanks went to the show's new staff, Lindstrom made sure to point out that his wife Eileen Davidson (Ashley, Y&R) was a "...total babe...".
Next on stage was John O'Hurley, a long time soap villain who provided a long-winded and somewhat comical speech of the travails of the daytime evil. Sometime after the speech ended, O'Hurley announced the award for Outstanding Villain. The nominees included Juliet Mills (Tabitha, Passions) and Kevin Spirtas (Craig, DOOL), but the winner from this talented group was Timothy D. Stickney (RJ, OLTL), the owner of perhaps the best head of hair in all of daytime.
For the category of Outstanding Lead Actress, the ceremony took a wickedly bizarre turn as "The Young and the Restless" stars Scott Reeves (Ryan), Heather Tom (Victoria) and Kristoff St. John (Neil) made sure to interrupt all ceremony with drunken screams of WAZZUP! – not once, but several times, perhaps as a way to wakeup the dead. Nominees in this category were Susan Flannery (Stephanie, B&B) and Jess Walton (Jill, Y&R), but the award went to Kim Zimmer (Reva, GL), the much-decorated award winner who momentarily looked as if someone else had one.
To close the acting categories, "Port Charles" favorites Jon Lindstrom (Kevin, PC) and Kimberlin Brown (Dr. Rachel) took to the stage to announce the winner of the Outstanding Lead Actor. From a list of nominees that included David Canary (Adam/Stuart, AMC) and Robert S. Woods (Bo, OLTL), it was Tony Geary (Luke, AMC) who took home the coveted trophy. Geary's speech made sure to include thanks to Jackie Zeman, who plays his on-screen sister Bobbie.
Finally, SOD editor Lynn Leahy took to the stage to announce "General Hospital" as the winner of Favorite Show. There was no surprises here, as GH has been the lucky recipient of this award for the last several years.
WINNERS IN A NUTSHELL
- Outstanding Lead Actress: Kim Zimmer (Reva, GL)
- Outstanding Lead Actor: Tony Geary (Luke, GH)
- Favorite Actress: Sarah Brown (Carly, GH)
- Favorite Actor: Maurice Benard (Sonny, GH)
- Favorite Couple: Erika Slezak & Mark Darwin (Viki & Ben, OLTL)
- Outstanding Supporting Actress: Nancy Lee Grahn (Alexis, GH)
- Outstanding Supporting Actor: Jon Lindstrom (Kevin, PC)
- Outstanding Younger Lead Actress: Kelly Ripa (Hayley, AMC)
- Outstanding Younger Lead Actor: Mark Consuelos (Mateo, AMC)
- Outstanding Villian: Timothy D. Stickney (R.J., OLTL)
- Outstanding Female Newcomer: Abigail Spencer (Becca, AMC)
- Outstanding Male Newcomer: David Tom (Billy, Y&R)
- Favorite Teen Star: Erin Torpey (Jessica, OLTL)
- Favorite Scene Stealer: Josh Ryan Evans (Timmy, Passions)
- Favorite Return: Finola Hughes (Alex, AMC)
- Favorite Show: General Hospital
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