Emma Samms: I’m a winner at last!

Emma Samms with Jon Culshaw, lead actor in Visitors, and composer Richard T Holmes who wrote an orig

Emma Samms with Jon Culshaw, lead actor in Visitors, and composer Richard T Holmes who wrote an original score for the play, at the awards ceremony in New York City - Credit: Archant

The trials of the red carpet and failing to clinch the Hottest Female Star have all been worthwhile when it comes to collecting this wonderful award

I was nominated for an award once. In 1993 in recognition of my role on the American soap opera General Hospital I was nominated for the Soap Opera Digest Award of ‘Hottest Female Star’. I didn’t win.

I’ve certainly attended lots of award ceremonies. I’ve been to the Golden Globes a few times, I even presented at them once. I’ve been to the Academy Awards, the BAFTA’s, the Emmy’s, the Daytime Emmy’s and the British Soap Awards. Like I said, I didn’t win. Wasn’t even nominated.

Surprisingly, the red carpet arrival isn’t as fun as it looks (not that it looks that fun when you think about it). Even if it’s raining or cold, coats and umbrellas are discouraged, sodden shoes and goose bumps to be ignored as, heaven forbid, you might spoil the glamorous illusion of impermeable, weatherproof stardom. You are expected to smile for each and every one of the cameras pointed at you.

On most of these occasions, the dresses I’ve worn have hit the glamour quotient but usually at the cost of comfort, mobility and range of flattering positions. Often there’s only one pose that truly works in a dress. One pose that will feel awkward but look fabulous enough to avoid the dreaded “What Was She Thinking?” tabloid headline.

And the whole time you work your way down the line of photographers, sucking in your tummy, crossing one leg in front of the other, turning at the waist, (I’m giving you valuable insider-information here, folks) and flashing your best smile, you are intensely aware that the photographers are desperately hoping for you to trip and fall, have some sort of spectacular wardrobe malfunction or at least make a funny facial expression for them to capture and sell on.

Every step is fraught with danger and those photographers are not financially inclined to wish you well. Once inside though, one can relax a little. There’s usually a bar at the back where everyone hangs out except for when his or her category comes up. A lot of empty seats in the audience would not look good on television, so professional Seat Fillers hover at the edge of the stalls, awaiting instructions from the floor managers and hurrying into position when required.

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One year, in the middle of the Academy Awards, I was lucky enough to be invited into the TV truck to sit next to Jeff Margolis, the director of the television broadcast for a few minutes. This was beyond fascinating. Firstly, you’d have thought the atmosphere in that truck as they coordinated the live feed to an audience of several hundred million viewers would have been a little more tense. I was enormously impressed by Jeff and his team as they switched live from one camera angle to another and cued actors on and off, lighting changes, music and film clips and seemingly a hundred other things. I was most surprised, however, by witnessing the Oscar winners experience and what it’s like for them at that lofty and glorious moment: Basically, as soon as they started their acceptance speech, the massive screens behind the audience at the back of the auditorium (used by the presenters and hosts to read their words from) started a numerical countdown from 30 seconds. When the 30 seconds had been reached, the screens flashed the words WRAP IT UP for ten seconds and then after that, the very latest Oscar winner would see the huge words: GET OFF being repeatedly flashed in their face. If even that didn’t do the trick then music would be played to drown out their words and they’d finally give up and exit the stage.

Of course, up until a couple of weeks ago, I didn’t have to worry about acceptance speeches because I hadn’t won anything. But ‘Visitors’, the little radio drama that I wrote and directed for BBC Radio Gloucestershire, unbelievably won a bronze at the New York Festivals International Radio Awards! Because we were in New York when we accepted the award, I’d like to use this column to thank all the wonderful local people who gave us their talent and spare time. To say that there’s too many to mention and that I couldn’t have done it without you is such a cliché but it’s true. You know who you are and you were brilliant. THANK YOU.

It’s about a billion times much more pleasing than if I’d won ‘Hottest Female Star’, I can tell you that.

Follow Emma on Twitter! @EmmaSamms1