HOLLYWOOD—Daytime television performances, writing and direction are in the final stretch for the Emmy season. After January 1, we’ll all be debating who gave an incredible performance in 2010. We’ll be wondering who will be picking up next year’s gold statuettes and even peeved by the people we feel were cheated out of their well-deserved Emmy. Next year we’ll have tough choices to make, but there are those actresses who really went above and beyond their normally great work and performed even better than ever before. I think Susan Flannery, Katherine Kelly Lang, Tracey Bregman Recht, Maura West and Jess Walton are women who defy all the odds and come out ahead of the pack.

Susan Flannery, as Stephanie on “The Bold and the Beautiful,” had a magnificent year. From the triumph of defeating a younger nemesis and getting her husband Eric back, to pumping bullets in Stephen Logan (played by Patrick Duffy) Ms. Flannery proves what makes her the best. Now Susan’s about to embark on a brilliant marathon of scenes for months to come, as her character has been diagnosed this week with stage four lung cancer. Stephanie may be the one out of breath, but viewers will be gasping for air at the magnificent scenes we are about to witness.

Academy voters forget Kelly Lang year after year. Here’s hoping that in 2011 she’ll finally be remembered. Her work as an actress has improved immensely over the past decade, with this past week making me cry, while watching Brooke regret the three decades she’s battled her arch-enemy Stephanie. Lang has triumphed over adversity as Brooke over the past nine months and still kept her post-40 character sexier than ever. That takes real talent.

Tracey Bregman Recht, as Lauren on “The Young and the Restless,” is too beautiful to take your eyes off of. The southern California beauty makes her role as the ever suffering Lauren something exciting to watch. From battling Sheila’s sister Sarah, her daughter Daisy and son Ryder, we now know that Lauren will never be free of her nemesis’s demonic offspring. Tracey played Lauren, she played Sarah, she played Sarah pretending to be Lauren, then Lauren pretending to be Sarah. That’s enough to make the average actress schizophrenic. Not Tracey, it’s exciting and exhilarating to her as an actress and even more so to watch her play it all. Then again, there is nothing average about Ms. Recht.

Jess Walton, as Jill Foster Abbott is one of those women I definitely want to work on-screen with. Jill is a damaged soul due to years of not feeling loved, and spending over four decades hating her mother, only to find out Katherine wasn’t her mother after all. Now she’s learned Lauren is her sister, and she’s screwed that relationship up as well. Walton is a solid performer, a woman who is not only dependable in her role as Jill, but also so much fun to watch. When she’s on the screen, you think it’s Bette Davis, then again, Bette was not this beautiful.

Last year’s Lead Actress Emmy-winner Maura West has done it again. Just amazing as Carly on the now canceled “As The World Turns,” and soon we’ll see her as Diane Jenkins on “The Young and the Restless.” What makes Maura so outstanding is her fresh approach to her work. She never seems listless or tired of playing her character. Now we get to watch her embrace a new diva on “Y&R.”

Daytime Emmy award-nominations will be announced in early 2011.
Photographs are Courtesy: Susan Flannery by Gilles Toucas, Bell Phillip TV Productions, Tracey Bregman by CBS/Sony Studios and Maura West by John Paschal with JPI Studios