There is no denying that all of this year's Lead Actor nominees are soap opera heavyweights. Don't believe us? The five nominees have a combined 32 nominations. In a strange Emmy factoid, just two of the five (General Hospital's Steve Burton and Maurice Benard) had ever actually won an Emmy in an acting category. This year it was once again Benard's time to shine, as the actor picked up another Daytime Emmy.
Benard's reel was comprised almost entirely of material from the show's emotional Alzheimer's storyline. In the story, Mike Corbin, the on-screen father of Benard's Sonny, passes away due to complications from Alzheimer's. Max Gail, who played Mike Corbin, was awarded an Outstanding Supporting Actor trophy this year.
An emotional Benard took to the stage to accept his Daytime Emmy and shared a stunning piece of information: he had originally refused to be part of the emotional storyline.
"I want to thank the actors in the storyline -- Steve [Burton], Laura [Wright], Vernee [Watson], Dom [Zamprogna], Chad [Duell], and Eden [McCoy]. They were incredible. I also want to thank Frank [Valentin] -- since I didn't thank him last time, I am thanking him now -- for one day coming to me and saying, 'We're going to do an Alzheimer's storyline. I looked at him and said, 'That's great. I love that.' I remember auditioning with the incomparable Max Gail, and we were feeling really emotional inside, and when he left the room, I went to the wall, and I started to cry uncontrollably. Everybody in the room was like, 'What's happening?' and I said to Frank, 'I don't want to do this story because it's too hard for me.' And he said, 'You're the star of the show. You're gonna do it.'"
Benard took a moment to regain his composure, adding, "The truth is the star of the storyline [was] Alzheimer's. [It's] such a difficult disease, and I hope one day we find a cure."
This was the ninth nomination and the third win for Benard, who previously took home the gold in the Outstanding Lead Actor category in 2003 as well as in 2019. General Hospital has won 12 Lead Actor trophies -- eight of which were won by Anthony Geary (ex-Luke Spencer). Tyler Christopher's 2016 win accounts for GH's other win.
This year’s Lead Actress nominees have all been dubbed queens of the genre, but just two of the nominees had previously won in the category: Jacqueline MacInnes Wood (Steffy Forrester, The Bold and the Beautiful) in 2019, and General Hospital's Finola Hughes (Anna Devane) in 1991. Two of the others -- GH's Genie Francis (Laura Collins) and Nancy Lee Grahn (Alexis Davis) picked up wins in the Supporting Actress field. And The Young and the Restless' Melissa Claire Egan received her first Lead Actress nomination this year.
It was Wood who picked up her second Lead Actress title in three years for her work on B&B. The actress' on-screen alter ego had quite the year in 2020 -- she was struck by a car while riding her motorcycle, she developed a dependency to pain killers while recuperating from said accident, and a one-night stand with an ex led her to not know who fathered her child. And if you can believe it, that all happened in just about a five-month period.
"This is a huge honor," Wood said as she accepted her Emmy. "Thank you to [B&B head writer and executive producer] Brad Bell for everything. You believed in me from the very beginning, and thank you for writing such a deeply human and affecting story about opioid addiction."
Wood also thanked her CBS family for their support.
"It was a very intense day, and I couldn't have done it without my cast," Wood recalled. "I was really just putting myself in those shoes, so of course, it was going to be emotional."
"It was tough. I thought about, 'How am I going to execute this storyline?'" the actress shares. "But it was an important story to tell. And it's amazing what women can do with our bodies! I was very present in those scenes, but I was also very protective of that area, I was very mindful of that area. So, I was giving everything I could, but again, moms do it all the time! It's been a very stressful year, so you just make it work."
This is Wood's second win and second nomination in the Lead Actress category. She had previously been nominated in the Younger Actress category in 2012 and 2013, and in the Supporting Actress field in 2018.
Wood is the second actress from The Bold and the Beautiful to win in the Lead Actress category. Her on-screen grandmother, Susan Flannery (ex-Stephanie Forrester), won three times in the early 2000s.