The 14th Annual Golden Donut Awards: The Best of DAYS 2020

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2020 might not have been a year that any of us expected, but DAYS still delivered the drama that made some dreary days delightful (at least for an hour)! So, grab an extra-large glass of bubbly jubilation and help Laurisa and Tony pass out some glittery gold cyber statuettes as they present simply the Best of DAYS 2020: The Golden Donut Awards in this week's Two Scoops!

THE WORST OF 2020: To read part two of our Best and Worst of DAYS 2020, The Alex North Memorial Awards, click here.

Welcome! Welcome! Welcome, friends and fellow DAYS fans, to the Fourteenth Annual Golden Donut Awards: The Best of DAYS 2020! Yes, there were a lot of exclamation points used there, but we've made it to the end of this year, and, more so, we're so excited you're joining us for one of our favorite traditions. So, thank you! See. Another one.

And, yes! Believe it or not, there was a lot to celebrate in 2020. When we've endured a year in which the best thing we can say about it is that all the days were in the correct sequential order, well, thank the soap gods we had an hour escape to Salem each weekday. From fiery weddings to holiday homecomings, DAYS has been a bright spot for its fans this year, unlike any other. To simply say, "Thank you, Team DAYS!" doesn't seem big enough to express our gratitude toward the cast and crew. Giving fans something special to look forward to -- something warm and familiar in such an unfamiliar time -- was truly a gift. So, even though it may not be big enough, "Thank you, Team DAYS!"

Now, if you've joined us over the years for the Golden Donut Awards, you might be familiar with the tradition and the rules. If not, gather round the cyber fireplace as we tell the tale. We'll wait for you to grab some eggnog. Okay. So, we love Alice Horton. From her feistiness to her famous baked goods, she's Salem's original golden girl. To honor her, we selected her signature baked good to represent all things glittery and gold about DAYS for the given year.

Like Alice would likely do, we also try to share as much love as possible and not overlap recipients. Trust us. The hardest part about the Golden Donut Awards is selecting only one winner apiece for each category, as the entire cast shines so brightly on a daily basis. From new faces in Salem like Lindsay Arnold, Isabel Durant, Mike Manning, Emily O'Brien, and pinch hitter extraordinaire Cady McClain, to our wonderful vets who warm our hearts as we're wowed by their tremendous talents each year, to -- hello, again! -- all those fabulous, familiar faces who've returned home to DAYS in 2020, and to those faces of the crew we're not as familiar with -- but equally as appreciative of, well, we're sincerely spoiled for riches. We think they're all simply the best!

With that, it's time to get golden! This is your last chance to refill some Champagne, or maybe just grab the bottle, as we have a lot of toasting to do. Again, thank you for joining us as we celebrate The Fourteenth Annual Golden Donut Awards: The Best of DAYS 2020! And the winners are...

Best Debut
New to the show or newly returned, we were thrilled to see them

Laurisa: Allie Horton
Johnny is a DiMera and has a sweet bond with Rafe. Sydney was the focus of a multi-year storyline. Will's been driving storyline since he was a child. And Allie? Well, she was the most non-controversial, and thus overlooked, of all Sami's offspring. A blank slate. But all that changed when exemplary newcomer Lindsay Arnold took over the role. Sure, I wasn't a fan of Allie's bratty attitude, but darn it if I wasn't completely captivated by Lindsay's work. The casting department hit the mark with this one. I can't wait to see what she does next.

Tony: Ava Vitali
Ava was like a shot of adrenaline -- wait! Like an injection of *whispers* Resurrection by Wilhelm to Allie and Tripp's anxiety-inducing, torrid, tortured tale. Her infusion into that storyline was incredible, but I'll spare you my lengthy gushing about that greatness as Laurisa flawlessly summed up Ava's involvement in her last Two Scoops, "Isn't she wonderful?" I cosign that entire article in ink. Love. It.

So, not only did Ms. Vitali breathe excitement into that clunker, Ava's "resurrection" actually began when she sauntered into Salem to sneak up on partner-in-crime, Philip. Philip! Ye Dimpled One. Played again by Jay Kenneth Johnson, who also recently returned (hello, honorable mention). *contented sigh* Where were we? Yes! Ava, played to perfection by the colossally talented and all-around inspiring Tamara Braun, is one of the best things to happen to DAYS this year.

Best Special Guest Star/Recurring Character

Laurisa: Sami Brady
There's never a dull moment with Sami around. And, aside from her getting into a cake fight at Eric's wedding (really, desserts are sacred), I can't say that her actions this time around were that out of line. Her Legally Blonde moments in the courtroom were hilarious, and sure, accelerating the release of a psychiatric patient is not a great thing to do, but it just so happened that the patient was Jan Spears, and the resulting storyline was just soapily delicious. Finally, Alison Sweeney never fails to pull at the heart strings. When Allie and Sami hugged it out right before Sami left, I couldn't help but tear up just a bit. Don't stay away too long, Sami. You're a hurricane, but you're definitely not boring.

Tony: Tony and Anna DiMera
Honestly, there's nothing not to love about Thaao Penghlis and Leann Hunley. They're simply magical as Tony and Anna, and 2020 treated us to several doses of the dazzling duo. In the beginning of the year, there was some tension between the two, due to drama at DiMera Enterprises. You know, the company Anna helped Gabi snag from the Brothers DiMera. I loved that hat tip to her corporate days. Tony wasn't as amused, but they patched things up and went back to Europe for a bit. Don't worry. She had his bags already packed for him. Ha!

They'd later go on to play a large part in the "Stevano" saga. The heated arguments between Anna and "Stefano" were great. Though things took a rather gruesome turn when Anna struck him with her stiletto. I guess one should trust in Anna when she exclaims you don't mess with her Tony. But, ouch! Sorry, Patch Man.

To round out the year, they returned home for the holidays! What a gift to us all. Like Kristen, I loved the DiMera siblings' jailhouse reunion as well as Anna sensing Gwen's shadiness in about a tenth of a second. Oh, joy to the soap world -- Tony and Anna are back again!

Most Improved
It's not always doom and gloom in Salem! What's taken a turn for the better?

Laurisa: Eli Grant
He's a cop who solves cases and struggles with the way others around him are willing to look the other way. That includes his wife, Lani, who, despite her questionable choice in besties, he seems to love to pieces. He's thrilled to be a dad and thinks the world of Lani. Additionally, this year, Lamon Archey got to share scenes with Brandon Beemer and James Reynolds -- helping to elevate Eli to more than just a pretty face, but to a top cop in Salem. Finally, he sealed the deal when he spoke for all of us fans and exclaimed, "Oh, my God, would you just stop about Kristen!?" Preach it, Eli. Preach.

Tony: Nicole Brady
Don't worry. I haven't had too much Champagne yet. I'm well aware that Nicole has tapped into some major Gladys Kravitz vibes this year. Julie is proud, I'm sure. The rest of us, not so much. That personality faux pas might be revisited by one of your faithful Two Scoopers next week, so I digress, as we're here to bolster Nicole and hand her a Golden Donut Award!

But before I hand this accolade over to our former Ms. Walker, let me grab a Zima and some Dunkaroos, turn on some '90s Shania "You're Still the One," and gush about "Ericole." You guys! Eric and Nicole finally got married. Finally! From their meetup at the Java Café, to lacing up their Rollerblades, and the decades of love, loathing, and everything in between, I've always rooted for this couple. To me, they are endgame for one another. So, to finally see them marry was more than marvelous. It was the marvelousest. Happy tears and dances were plentiful that day. Too bad we didn't have cake, though, right, Sami? Anyway...

More marvelous, perhaps, than them simply tying the knot, was Nicole's growth that got them there. Nearly all of Eric and Nicole's storylines have revolved around her insecurities about their relationship and the something shady she would do that ripped them apart as a result. Don't get me wrong. Eric is not blameless, but Nicole's self-sabotaging was always an underlying, if not the sole, reason things between them often didn't work out. For that to be over, for her to embrace his love, for her to trust in it -- as well as have the confidence to know she deserves it, well, Nicole, I'm proud of you!

So, finally, I'm very, very proudly handing over this shimmery cyber statuette to Nicole for letting Eric go to Africa. Sure. It was all super-duper out of the blue and a wee bit wonky, but let's be clear about what happened -- a newlywed Nicole Walker-finally-Brady trusted in her relationship enough to encourage Eric to go to another continent at the behest of a beautiful woman named Angie. Once-Upon-A-Time-Ago Nicole would have hit that chick with a Rollerblade or in some way even more destructively self-sabotaged her relationship, but not confident Nicole. I loved it! Many martinis for you, Ms. Walker, err, Mrs. Brady.

Best Villain

Laurisa: Vincent Belman
There was a chill in the air the second Vincent appeared on-screen. Michael Teh (with more than a slight nod to Alan Rickmann, no?) simply slithered on-screen. Perhaps the scariest thing of all was that we sorta, kinda totally, understood why he hated Ben. His stance is justified. Thus, this whole Joker and the Batman theme emerged between the two.

Tony: Jan Spears
Each time Ms. Spears strutted onto the screen with that devious smirk, I swear I asked myself, "Did I love Jan this much before!?" I honestly can't remember, but I'll never forget again -- I do. I do love Jan, and I worship Heather Lindell. She fully committed to the craziness of the role. Whatever wackadoo things Jan did, I believed she believed she was sane because of Heather's steadfastness. She simply "went there" as an actress, and it was fabulous. From the healing crystal that was "$39.99 plus tax!" to Shawn and Belle's hijacked wedding, Jan -- 'xcuse me -- Janet Spears was Salem's most entertaining crazypants ever. Here's hoping that her newest coma doesn't last as long as the previous one!

Best Hero

Laurisa: Kate DiMera
Darn it if she didn't stroll on in, pull a gun on Clyde, shoot him, and rescue her own great-grandson -- all while wearing heels and looking fabulous! Let those other women weep and wait to be rescued. Nicole making her a martini to celebrate was the icing on the cake. Go on, Kate!

Tony: Hattie Adams
There's an effervescent joy that Hattie brings to Salem. I adore her zest for life and how she loves hard. All of that was very evident this year when Ms. Adams became a hero more than once for those she cared about. Yet, unlike before, there was nothing in it for herself. No early releases from prison or schemes. Her heroism came from her big heart. She stood up bravely against the DiMeras to save her friends, and I've never been prouder to wave my "Team Hattie!" banner.

I also applauded when Hattie became her own hero. Showing amazing growth since we first met her, Ms. Adams laid down the law with Mr. Roman. If he wasn't going to treat her with respect or consider her a legit contender for his heart, she was going to respect herself enough to move on. And she did. You go, Hattie Adams!

Best Brawl
Me-ouch! Be it catty comments or full-fledged fistfights, the best battle of 2020!

Laurisa: Jack Deveraux vs. Abigail DiMera
The whole family of Hortons was hurting after drunk Abigail outed her father's affair. But one especially harsh blow came when Jack ripped Abigail apart for doing that in public. Make no mistake, Jack could have avoided the whole thing by either not having the affair or coming clean to Jennifer about it before now. But that doesn't mean that it was fine and dandy for Abigail to wave their dirty laundry in front of their closest family members and a few extras who --for some reason -- still weren't Tony and me. That was a trashy thing to do, Abs. Furthermore, Jack isn't just Abigail's father. He's her mentor. The forgiveness scene a few weeks later was sweet, too. But thank goodness for this moment when Abigail didn't just get a free pass for misbehaving. It was raw, painful, and sublimely acted by Matt Ashford and Marci Miller.

Tony: Ciara Brady vs. Statesville Prison
If there ever were a time to exclaim, "Damn, girl!" it was when Ciara straight-up broke into a prison while holding a man at gunpoint to demand justice for her wrongly accused beau. Seriously. That happened. She's that fierce of a fighter. Like, she fearlessly plowed through any person and institution that stood in her way when it came to clearing Ben's name and, more importantly at the moment, saving his life. She didn't even flinch. It's not hard to see who won this battle, as she left the Statesville staff shaking in their boots. As Clyde said to Ben of her victory, "She won me over with her loyalty. The way she fought for you when you were on Death Row. Storming into the prison like that to stop your execution. She is the stuff of legends on the inside, you know." Cheers, Ciara!

Best Comedic Scene-Stealer
Sure, drama's nice. But comedy is, too, and this character always managed to tickle the funny bone!

Laurisa: Lucas Horton
This year the #LucasSass was on fire. His head basically exploded with sarcasm when Kate tried to tell Lucas that he needed to butt out of his children's business. Kate deserved every side-eye Lucas gave her. I also want him to sit in the background of every scene and supply color commentary. His narration behind every Allie and Sami fight was priceless. Finally, Lucas was one of the few people to push back on Nicole's control over Allie. Lucas was having none of it when Nicole tried to hide his phone from him. Go on, Lucas!

Tony: John Black
O-M-G! I always cracked up when Kristen or Lani talked about their friendship. That was the most hilarious aspect of DAYS this year. Huh!? What's that now? Oh. This award is for the Funniest Scene-Stealer -- not in an unintentional way. My bad. It's an aneurysm side effect. You can't blame me for thinking they're dumb. Oh, snap. There it goes again. Anyway, you can't blame John, either, for the things he's said since Sami yelled at him into a coma. You see, his harsh, blurted-out truth bombs for the latter part of the year were due to side effects of his ailment, too. His "Rant-itis," if you will, is pure and unadulterated, no "F's" given, glorious, straight-shooting joy. Well, not for the Salemites on the receiving end, but for any and all fans John spoke for as he annihilated anyone unlucky enough to tick him off, they were. And one could literally not blame him. It's delightful, in a devilish way, of course. It's also the first side effect I've ever wanted.

Best Tearjerker

Laurisa: Rafe Says Goodbye to David
Oh. My. Tears. I need to invoice Galen Gering personally for the tissues I went through, watching Rafe pack up little David's backpack and send him to live with Zoey. On paper, this scene really shouldn't have worked so well. Zoey is a character we hardly knew, who was recast halfway through. David wasn't born on-screen, nor was he part of any main family in Salem. Yet, this scene was the perfect combination of performer and character. Galen shines in dad mode. There's a sparkle in his eye. And in this scene, Rafe had to give up David because Rafe lost the case. The law -- something Rafe's dedicated most of his life to upholding -- was ordering Rafe to give away something so precious to him. His heart was in direct conflict with his head.

Tony: Maggie's Suicide Attempt
Few things in Salem are bigger than Maggie's heart, but due to the devilish Orpheus, amongst others, it was broken when she believed her drunken actions had killed not only Adrienne but her own grandchild, too. She'd also felt betrayed by her husband and Xander, whom she grew sincerely fond of. So, she was already broken, and, while we got word of what really happened first, Maggie stayed under the assumption that she was guilty. We saw it gnaw at her until she was so consumed with unrelenting guilt and grief, she decided to take her own life. Those scenes were played heartbreakingly beautifully by Suzanne Rogers. I can't praise her performances enough. Add in the powerful portrayals by Paul Telfer as Xander attempted to save Maggie's life and John Aniston as Victor read his wife's suicide note, and I was haunted by what was unfolding on the screen. Maggie looked so tiny and frail. So helpless. So hopeless. It's a Maggie we've never seen (and I hope to never see again), but, wow, I was a sobbing mess.

Best Surprise

Laurisa: Victor's Toast Before Justin's Wedding
We can always count on Victor for some surly comment. If you need a curmudgeon, he's your guy. But every once in a while, the big bad wolf becomes a Care Bear and says something truly touching. I love the toast he made on Justin's (doomed, but we all saw that coming) wedding day. Prior to things heading south, Victor proclaimed to Justin, "You're a lucky man. At the end of your life, you will have had two wonderful wives. You deserve this happiness. Yamas!"

Tony: Jake Is Jake (and Not Stefan)!
With all due respect to the risen Salemites who have sprung back from the great soap beyond in recent years, I was thrilled this storyline wasn't starring one of them. Not only was the late Mr. Stefan DiMera a total tool with only two redeeming qualities (the actors who portrayed him), but the entire resurrection schtick has gotten a bit tired, too. Instead, we got a somewhat fresher soap staple -- the twin! While not the newest trick in Soapville, it was certainly welcomed in this case. We got the uber-talented and all-around charming Brandon Barash back on DAYS and no creepy, rapey Stefan. Yes, please.

But wait! There're more surprises that came with the Jake revelation...

Not only has Jake generally been a hoot and an interesting new addition to the House of DiMera, but with the debut of Stefano's latest pop-up lovechild came the return of his mother -- Vivian! Once more played by Louise Sorrel, thankyouverymuch. Excuse me while I fanboy out and say it again, "Yes, please!" Love. Her.

Another sweet surprise!? Sure. Ivan G'Vera returned as Vivian's faithful (though not always up-front) former manservant and current companion, Ivan. Lots of warm fuzzies there, too!

And finally, with Jake came the enchanting Emily O'Brien as Gwen. I mean, Ms. Rizczech is terrible, and I'm still terribly curious as to why she hates Abigail, but I can't fully hate a gal who drinks a bottle of vodka and binges B-grade slasher flicks on Christmas Day. So, you see, lots of surprises, and Stefan isn't one of them. Again-again, "Yes, please!"

Best Couple

Laurisa: Sarah Horton and Xander Kiriakis
This pick makes it two years in a row for this pair, and they earned every step of this title. Early in the year, they were adorable raising Mickey. They got to be happy on-screen, and we were happy with them. But we knew the other shoe would drop. And booooooyyyy did it. When Sarah arrived at the mansion for her wedding, she came in wearing a stunning wedding gown and a look that could absolutely kill. Xander started going through the stages of grief right in front of us -- denial, anger, and bargaining. For the first time ever, Xander couldn't throw money or power at this problem, and it broke him down. Their reunion could only happen if Sarah realized her love for Xander was greater than her anger. And as a final bonus, the two teamed up to play some P.I.s and displayed some downright charming comedic timing. They ended the year being a happy couple still part of a main storyline! Congratulations, Xarah!

Tony: Shawn Brady and Belle Black
There's something special about the chemistry between powerhouse performers Brandon Beemer and Martha Madison. They both understand where their characters have been but, more so, where they are now. The "Shelle" we've watched in Salem this year isn't the Shawn-D and 'Tink of the "Last Blast" era. Nope. They're all grown up. They're mature now, and I love their new dynamics.

They're concerned, protective parents of a daughter with mental illness. They're partners who look out for one another -- who actually stop to think about the other's feelings and needs. They're both respected professionals in their fields and attempt to help their community. They're both committed to their extended family as well as their own little three-person unit along with Claire Bear. They've both simply turned out to be great adults who are still as smitten with each other now as they were as kids. I mean, Belle's proposal to Shawn was entirely endearing, and Shawn's holiday one looks just as charming. *Swoon* And while Shawn and Belle would eventually get their super soapy storyline, thanks to Jan Spears, much of their time in Salem has been showcasing their lives together as a perfectly flawed yet perfectly delightful couple to root for!

Best Legacy Character
Some love for the next generation who have to carry the banner!

Laurisa: "Wilson"
Looking back, this past year was great for each character, who also happened to reunite to form a legacy character couple! Early in the year, we got some cute scenes between cousins Ciara and Will as they teamed up to find out the truth about who really killed Adrienne. At the same time, this year brought numerous tender Sonny/Justin scenes -- something I would never turn down. Finally, they reunited and got a true, happily ever after ending. I can't think of anything more "legacy" like than moving away to start a non-profit in memory of one of our beloved veteran characters. The door is always open for either or both to return and pave another path down the road of Wilson awesomeness.

Tony: Claire Brady
It was pretty much written in the stars that being part Kiriakis, Horton, Williams, Black, and Evans with the last name Brady means Claire's life could never be boring. And it's not! At all. This year, we watched Claire Bear come home from her stint in Bayview. Salemites took two camps -- Claire has put in the work and has redeemed herself, or Claire is still crazy for crackling fires. Claire's sanity -- or lack thereof -- was brilliantly played close to the vest by Olivia Rose Keegan. She kept us guessing. In the end, Claire is sane but will always struggle with her diagnosis and fear of losing herself again.

By the time Isabel Durant took over the role, Claire's life wasn't much easier. Bestie Ciara had "died." She found herself torn between her parents' wishes and her new "best friend" Jan Spears, whom she saw a lot of herself in as a former mental patient attempting to shake the stigma and be trusted again by society. Claire's passionate defense of Jan was a clear sign of how far she's recovered and that her heart was open to caring again. And that led her to Charlie, whom we recently found out isn't the awkward intern he's pretending to be. Nope. Thankfully for us, Claire's life will never be boring.

Best Veteran Character

Laurisa: Shawn Brady
It seems like yesterday that Shawn-D was walking the halls of Salem High. In reality, it was a few decades. In that time, our guy has grown up to be a fantastic leading man and one of Salem's best detectives. This guy actually solves crimes without breaking the law himself or losing his cool! Can you even imagine? He also had to thread a very specific needle this year, being there for Claire but also supporting Ciara. He managed to do both! He has become the flag carrier for all things Bope, remembers (and talks about!) Chelsea, and is absolutely looking toward the legacy of men like Abe Carver and Tom Horton. Shawn can easily fill the role of a leading man who also happens to be an all-around decent dude.

Tony: Hope Brady
In the beginning of the year, our beloved Fancy Face was still prancing around as Princess Gina. Once she was de-chipped and that royal reign ended, Hope was left to pick up the pieces of the lives that the princess had shattered, including her own. Her redemption wasn't easy, though, even when she saved the lives of several of her loved ones. Hope had a hard time facing herself again, but those scars only added a layer to the character that wasn't there before. Without those experiences, Hope might not have accepted Ben into her family or have related to Eve (which would have robbed us of some brilliant scenes between Kristian Alfonso and Kassie DePaiva). And when we last saw Hope broken again on the floor after Ciara's death, we learned she did the one thing that only an incredibly strong person can do -- she got up and vowed to keep going. While it wasn't the happy ending we might have wished for, it still gives me, well, hope that she's out there fighting the good fight for what she believes in. Viva la Fancy Face!

Best Supporting Performer

Laurisa: Mary Beth Evans as Dr. Kayla Brady
I swear, throw anything at this woman, and she can deliver. She held up her end of the performance with Justin, despite most of us finding it hard to accept them as a legitimate couple. Talks with Aunt Kayla are never not welcome. I want to come to Kayla with my problems and let her feed me apple pie and great advice. Finally, the nuances Mary Beth managed to bring to her performances as Kayla was both triggered and conflicted over Tripp allegedly raping Allie were brilliant. When she can't trust her relationship with Steve and is afraid of her affection for her stepson, Kayla reverts back to her core -- her personal life experience and her dedication to science to search for answers. This whole Tripp/Allie storyline is not one for Kayla. But, darn it if she isn't one of my favorite parts of it!

Tony: Linsey Godfrey as Sarah Horton and Stacy Haiduk as Kristen DiMera
I actively try to avoid ties, but these two terrific thespians shared a unique experience. Their characters' lives were interwoven, and they basically shared the same tragic and triumphant trajectory -- the joy of motherhood, the crushing loss of a child, and rebuilding one's life when everything has changed. Both women did it flawlessly. The pain was real. The happiness was real, too. We witnessed Kristen fall apart then regain hope then lose it all again after becoming consumed with rage. We watched Sarah's journey from doting new parent to becoming the parent of a child with cancer to learning that child wasn't even hers and her descent into despair due to that. And when they came together, and Sarah had to hand over Kristen's baby -- her baby up until recently -- it was heartbreaking. Both actors were handed a lot to work with in a short amount of time, and they kept me completely captivated!

Best Lead Performer

Laurisa: Paul Telfer as Xander Kiriakis
Paul Telfer has a wide array of scene partners, solid actors who all throw a different energy at him. Lesser actors would just allow the other to take center stage, but Paul meets each of these individual performances and uses them to form believable layers to the character of Xander. First, it's hard not to just sing backup when you're sharing a scene with John Aniston. But Paul manages to use each scene with Victor to remind us that at the very core of Xander's character, he desperately wants to be accepted by the family patriarch.

Next, Suzanne Rogers' Maggie demands other characters take it down a notch and connect without tons of fireworks. With Maggie, Xander is tender, and we're supportive of this soft spot he has for his step-aunt. It's a good thing, too, because scenes with Maggie's daughter Sarah benefit from the connection Xander has with this family. The chemistry Paul has with Lindsey Godfrey is magic and, as I said in my best couple write-up, can go through so many different situations.

Finally, we need to talk about Xander and his mentor relationships. Paul puts Xander's full-on confidence and swagger on display with Mike Manning's Charlie. I can't wait to see how Xander reacts when he realizes Charlie is turning out to be darker than Xander himself! But, best of all, the surprise I didn't know I wanted was the mentor relationship between Jack and Xander! Matt Ashford and Paul are delightful together. Both of these men play characters who can veer a little into cartoon territory. But somehow, these gents reel their characters in just enough to give us a sweet mentorship, and Paul proves he can play the mentee, as well.

Tony: Wally Kurth as Justin Kiriakis
I've always believed that it's going to be a truly good day on DAYS when Wally shows up on-screen. His performances are genuine, and he brings Justin to life in such a rich way that this character living in a very crazy town where nearly unimaginable things happen somehow remains relatable to viewers. Whatever Justin is feeling, we believe it due to Wally's mastery of the role.

This year, that mastery has been more prevalent than nearly any other. We witnessed Justin deal with devastating loss, rebuilding his life, loving again, sadly experiencing heartbreak once more on the day of his wedding to Kayla, and again moving forward while saying goodbye to his beloved son along the way. Some days, we witnessed Justin deal with several of those poignant life moments within the span of a single episode, as the "Time Jump" would often take us back and forth between past and present, which in Salem is technically the future, but I digress.

While most of us sensed that the supercoupledom of "Stayla" would most likely steamroll the tender, quieter relationship built between two grieving friends who fell for one another, I don't think even the most dedicated Steve and Kayla fan walked away unscathed, as Wally's performances were gut-wrenching. His stoicism at the wedding was inspiring, but that glimpse into his grief as he packed his record collection and said goodbye to the life he was so looking forward to was soul-crushing. Yet all the while, Justin remained an honorable man who didn't take the easy way to avoid such heartbreak. Wally portrayed this to pitch perfection, and I couldn't admire him more!

Best Storyline

Laurisa: CIN's Journey to the Altar
Let's be honest. If Ciara was willing to get past Ben's actual three murders, there's no way she's going to let an alleged murder charge stop her from snuggling up with her strangle boo again. Not when they finally got into a hotel and acquired an actual, regular-sized bed. No, ma'am.

So, she does what any awesome soap gal does -- puts on leather pants, solves the mystery of who actually murdered Jordan, and drags the real killer at gunpoint down to confess to the warden just before Ben's final dose of lethal injection goes into his innocent (in this case) veins. Forget an Emmy. Someone get Victoria Konefal a cape, as she turned Ciara into a complete action hero. Ben, you better lock this one down.

And, sure enough, he did. Their proposal was adorable -- romantic with a side of cookies -- basically, my perfect date. They did overcome a lot together. It was nice to see Hope come around on Ben, not so much to redeem Ben, but to connect with Ciara. There's no way they could have known how important those scenes were at the time, but considering what happened later in the year, this was poignant and lovely.

Finally, can we talk about the wedding for a minute? It was a true show-stopper. The group scene, the wardrobe, the performances, and that explosion! DAYS went all out with the special effects for this one. The only thing that may have topped it was Robert Scott Wilson's performance as Ben reciting his vows. We saw a lot of grooms give beautiful performances this year. But something about Rob's raw and intense delivery of those lines left a whole church and my own living room completely floored. The storyline would go on to make some strange turns and mistakes. But the early part of the year, culminating in the vow exchange, was exactly why I'm a soap fan.

Tony: Salem's Saddest Mother's Day Ever
This was a devastatingly fantastic storyline. It had all the twists and turns one could ever wish for in such an epic undertaking. With so many characters involved and interwoven, it also gave nearly every actor a moment in the spotlight. Oh, and the acting was top notch! The writing and direction were stellar, too. Salem (and viewers) was left shaken from the events of that Mother's Day of doom, no doubt. The Emmys will love it! I loved it and was glued to my screen during that week of flashback episodes telling the tale. Still, just when we thought we'd figured it out, another set of twists and turns would explode onto everything we thought we'd known. It was, well, devastatingly fantastic. Congratulations, Team DAYS, for a tale well told!

Parting Thoughts...
So, friends and fellow fans, those are your winners of the 2020 Golden Donut Awards! Again, thank you for joining us, not only for the awards, but throughout the year as we gush and gab about all things DAYS. We appreciate it more than you know!

And since you listen to us all the time, it's time for us to hear from you, so be sure to share who you'd hand a golden, glimmery cyber statuette to below in the Comments section, on the Soap Central message boards, and on Twitter.

Now, as we seem to say each year, raise a glass of something bubbly to Team DAYS -- may the sands continue through the hourglass all the days of our lives! See you next week for the Fourteenth Annual Alex North Memorial Awards, and happy holidays, one and all!
Laurisa and Tony

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Two Scoops is an opinion column. The views expressed are not designed to be indicative of the opinions of Soap Central or its advertisers. The Two Scoops section allows our Scoop staff to discuss what might happen and what has happened, and to share their opinions on all of it. They stand by their opinions and do not expect others to share the same point of view.

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