Friday, May 2, 2014
Written by Kyle Slagley
Tuesday afternoon, the nominees for the 68th Annual Tony Awards were announced, recognizing the best of the best among Broadway’s ranks. I must say that this set of awards is one of the most interesting to watch, mainly because the nominees often consist of both well-known stage actors and famous movie and TV actors.
Screen actors who try their hand at stage acting have become a very common occurrence in recent years. It wasn’t too long ago that we saw the likes of Tom Hanks, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Andrew Garfield, and Scarlett Johansson in the headlines of Playbill.
This year, there were also plenty of big-screen actors on the stage, but a few who were thought to be shoo-ins – at least for the nomination round – were snubbed, most notably Daniel Radcliffe for The Cripple of Inishmaan, Denzel Washington for A Raisin in the Sun, and Sirs Patrick Stewart & Ian McKellen for No Man’s Land and Waiting For Godot. What makes it strange is that all of these actors have received such glowing reviews in recent weeks, the snubs are almost blindsiding. Throw in the fact that Michelle Williams was overlooked for her fantastic performance in the revival of Cabaret, and it’s clear that Hollywood simply wasn’t invited to the party this year.
One screen actor who was not overlooked was Breaking Bad’s Bryan Cranston, whose performance as Lyndon B. Johnson in the play All The Way earned him a nomination for Best Actor in a Leading Role in a Play. Cranston’s nomination is definitely deserved, but even still it is a bit unusual in that All The Way is his very first foray into Broadway theatre. The same is true for Chris O’Dowd, who received a nod in the same category for his performance as Lennie in Of Mice and Men. O’Dowd is still an up-and-coming name in Hollywood, but is well known in Britain for his role as Roy in the BBC Series The IT Crowd.
The nomination that excites me the most though, Neil Patrick Harris’s nod for Best Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical for his performance in Hedwig and the Angry Inch. Though I haven’t seen Harris perform as Hedwig (pronounced Head-vig), I’ve read quite a few of the reviews and have yet to read a negative word about his performance. What’s so exciting is that Harris has been a Broadway star for over a decade, and was famously snubbed by the Tonys about ten years ago when he rose to Broadway stardom playing Lee Harvey Oswald in Assassins. Since that time, Harris has all but taken over Hollywood as everyone’s favorite womanizer Barney Stinson. Having hosted the Tony Awards four times without actually having won one, I’d say it’s about time he was recognized for his talent. If you don’t believe me, watch last year's opening sequence for the 2013 Tony Awards.
Yes, as USA Today said, the Tony Awards really took care of their own this year, giving nods to regulars like Idina Menzel for If/Then, Sutton Foster for Violet, Audra McDonald for Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill, and in the process left most of Hollywood on the sidelines..
Though it’ll be hard to top last year’s opening sequence, if anyone can do it, this year’s host and Broadway veteran Hugh Jackman is the man who can. Having hosted the Tonys three times and the Oscars once, Jackman is an experienced emcee himself. If there isn’t another walk-on bit between Jackman and Harris about who hosted the show better, I’ll be floored.
The Tony Awards show takes place at Radio City Music Hall in New York on June 8 at 8pm EDT, and will be aired live on CBS.