ATWT claims top prize as Emmy records are broken

Posted Friday, May 18, 2001 11:57:31 PM
2001 Daytime Emmys: ATWT claims top prize as Emmy records are broken

Records are meant to be broken -- or at least that's the way the old saying goes. This year's Daytime Emmys took a new, novel spin on that parable: Records are meant to be equaled.

The 28th Annual Daytime Emmy Awards were as surprising as they were entertaining. Few of the Emmy pundits were correctly able to predict the winners in all -- if any -- of the main categories. The majority of this year's Emmy winners were first-time winners, providing a fresh look at what some fans have called a boring or otherwise predictable awards show.

Soap Opera Central was privileged to be among the media troupe assembled backstage at this year's awards. Actually, the press area was nine floors above the stage. In this portion of our Emmy coverage, we'll look at this year's winners and give you a look at what they had to say after they'd had a chance to get familiar with their Emmy statue.


The Supporting Actor category opened the night. By most media accounts, the Supporting Actor category offered the greatest depth among the nominees. Two All My Children stars, Josh Duhamel (Leo) and Michael E Knight (Tad) were pitted against three As The World Turns stars Hunt Block (Craig), Benjamin Hendrickson (Hal) and Michael Park (Jack). This category, like most of the other categories on the night, was dominated with nominations for both All My Children and As The World Turns. Of the five nominees, however, only Knight had been previously nominated for an Emmy.

Michael E. Knight
Upon hearing his named announced as the winner, Knight leaned over to kiss his wife, One Life to Live star Catherine Hickland (Lindsay). The actor then leapt to his feet and embraced his co-star, Duhamel, before taking to the stage. There, Knight thanked his grandmother, Emelda Hesse, for providing him with the inspiration to follow a career as a performer. The win isn't Knight's first; he won previously in 1986 and 1987 in the Outstanding Young Man categories.

By the time Knight made his way to the media area - some 10 to 15 minutes later - he still looked a bit bewildered by his win. "I feel like I've been shot out of a gun," Knight said quietly. Indeed, Knight had had very little time to get comfortable, having been seated for barely 15 minutes before being awarded his Emmy.

Knight said that he feels half of his award should go to co-star Cady McClain (Dixie). "We feel very good working with each other. If she doesn't get [an Emmy] of her own, then she definitely deserves the angel half of this [Emmy statue] and I'll take the ball." Knight later hinted that his latest Emmy trophy would not take up residence in his; he's prepared to send it to the woman who was and still is his inspiration - his grandmother.

During his acceptance speech, Knight thanked Allen Savage, a man he called "a teacher and a friend." At the urging of former co-star Paige Turco (ex-Lanie), Knight met with Savage to hone his on-screen performance. Apparently, the lessons worked. "Cady noticed," Knight said, referring to his on-screen wife. "When somebody you've been working with for ten years goes, 'What are you doing?' That's how I knew it was working."


Like their male counterparts, the Supporting Actress field was comprised of nominees from just two shows - As The World Turns and All My Children. All five of the nominees were also first time nominees in the Supporting Actress category. Only All My Children's Cady McClain (Dixie) was a previous Emmy winner, having snagged an Emmy in 1990 for Outstanding Ingénue.

Oddsmakers had pegged either McClain or As The World Turns' Maura West (Carly) to be crowned the winner. So-dubbed "long shot," AMC's Rebecca Budig (Greenlee) has the most unusual Emmy clips of the bunch this year. In Budig's first set of clips, the actress' character angrily confronts a former lover in his jail cell. In her second clip, it was Budig's character that was behind bars.

Lesli Kay
In terms of media expectations, Lesli Kay was the underdog in the category. So when her name was called out as the winner, a collective "wow" swept the media room. Jokingly, Kay took one journalist to task for slapping her with 6-to-1 odds to win the category.

"You gave me 6-to-1 odds out of 5 people! I don't understand it," she laughed.

Kay thanked her co-star Maura West, saying that she truly believed that West, her "bestest of friends" would win the award. Indeed, West's submission clips did contain one of the night's most memorable moments. "I could eat you like an ice cream sundae," said fellow nominee Hunt Block in one of the scenes in West's reel. "Try it and all you'll get are crushed nuts!" West replied.

Kay also made it clear that any one of the five nominated actresses could easily have been standing in her place. "There was no shoo-in. It was an extremely tough category," Kay stated.

Kay took time to specifically thank Carolyn Culliton, As The World Turns' co-head writer, for having penned both episodes on her Emmy submission reel.

Asked to describe the character she plays, Kay was hard-pressed to come up with a simple label. "Molly is not just bad or good," Kay explained. "I always say that she's misunderstood."


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