Monday, May 17, 2010

Professional Tony Handicapping, part 2

Following my updated predictions, I wanted to give the rest of the Tony prognostication printed in the Times by Charles Isherwood and Ben Brantley, along with my opinions.

Brantley and I agree that Alfred Molina should and will win the best actor in a play race for his performance in Red, even though I was in favor of Christopher Walken (in A Behanding in Spokane) early on.  Isherwood supports Denzel Washington for the win in Fences, thinking that Liev Schreiber deserves it more for A View From the Bridge.  While Schreiber is certainly deserving, I think Washington has no chance and, since Schreiber has already won a Tony, I think this is not his year.

Both critics put Viola Davis (in Fences) front and center on all counts.  Given that she is already a Tony winner and that perennial favorite Laura Linney, a three time nominee but never a winner, and that she gave a stellar performance this year in Time Stands Still, she may come in a close second.  While I'm really hoping she'll eek out the win, I can't ignore the thoughts of the professionals.  This is one of those categories I will be going back and forth on probably right up until Tony night.

The actor in a musical race is another with a slight back and forth, though certainly much less than in the above category.  Douglas Hodge's performance in La Cage Aux Folles, Ben Brantley and I agree, is the clear frontrunner in the category.  Charles Isherwood, though, has his money on Sahr Ngaujah in Fela!.  I think Ngaujah may have a chance, possibly, but I think this is definitely Hodge's category.

As for the musically inclined leading ladies, both critics agree that Sherie Rene Scott deserves the trophy and I think that she will win the prize for her stellar performance as herself in Everyday Rapture, a show which she wrote herself.  Brantley thinks that Montego Glover of Memphis will win, and Isherwood is going with Catherine Zeta-Jones for A Little Night Music.  I think, however, that the fact that most critics agree that Sherie SHOULD get the award, no one can agree on who WILL get it.  That gives me confidence that Ms. Scott will get the award.

For the supporting acor in a play category, Brantley is putting it all on Stepehen McKinley Henderson for Fences while Isherwood is going with Jon Michael Hill of Superior Donuts.  If last year is any indication, a supporting performance in an August Wilson play is a good bet.  While I haven't seen that show and I don't remember how the reviews went for Mr. Henderson, I did see Superior Donuts, which was a wonderful show that sorely deserved more nominations than it received.  This is a three way race right now, in my opinion, between Henderson, Hill, and Eddie Redmayne of Red.  Right now, I don't want to count Henderson out, because I think he has a good shot.  Hill just got a big boost from Isherwood, and I think he would certainly not be the wrong choice, but I am less sure about his chances. I think this may be Redmayne's year, however, particularly since he recently won the Olivier Award (London's equivalent of the Tony's) for the same performance.

Scarlett Johansson is getting all the press in the featured actress category and I'm not sure about it.  I agree she was great, and all the press gave her some good reviews, but I can't imagine Jan Maxwell, a theater vet and double nominee this year, will go home empty handed.  If this were Maxwell's only nomination this year, I might give it to Johansson in a snap, but not when the competition is what it is.

The featured actor in a musical category is a cinch this year and the award belongs to Bobby Steggert this year for Ragtime, though Christopher Fitzgerald from Finian's Rainbow will sure put up a good fight.  If Fitzgerald sneaks out ahead, though, I won't be entirely surprised and, given the magic tricks he was given to perform at every performance, he may actually deserve it.  Levi Kreis is definitely the dark horse in this category and he may surprise us all in this category, particularly since his is the only show in this category still open.  Something tells me that I will go back and forth on this category, as well.

The featured actress in a musical category may be the most interesting yet, with Angela Lansbury and Katie Finneran in hot contention.  Both are previous Tony winners who gave highly praised performances in big scale revivals and who stole their respective shows.  Lansbury, though, being the legend that she is, and given that this would be a record breaking 6th Tony for an actor, will get the prize.

That's all for the professional prognostication.  But there will definitely be more updates between now and June 13th, when the awards will be handed out!

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