Douglas Hodge as drag queen Albin in La Cage Aux Folles
Fantastic, feelgood campfest La Cage Aux Folles is a clear frontrunner, despite the oversized stilettos, with no fewer than seven nominations. Douglas Hodge (who was replaced by Graham Norton last month) competes with his on-stage gay lover Denis Lawson for best actor in a musical. The show is also up for best musical revival (against the wonderful Piaf, the clever Sunset Boulevard, and the always excellent West Side Story), as well as being nominated for costume design, choreographer and best director.
Hodge and Lawson also compete against Matt Rawle for his part in the hugely enjoyable Zorro; that show also has a clutch of possible wins in choreographer, new musical, and for the two girls, Emma Williams and Lesli Margherita as best actress and best supporting actress in a musical.
Emma Williams is up against Elena Roger as Piaf for best actress; a terrific show that transferred from the Donmar to the Vaudeville Theatre, and continued to sell out.
The Donmar’s continuing brilliance is demonstrated by the fact four of its productions (Piaf, The Chalk Garden, Ivanov and Twelfth Night) have a total of 13 nominations. The other big frontrunner is West End producer Sonia Friedman (a name you might not know, but certainly should), whose productions were nominated 13 times.
Shakespeare is also having a good year, despite Tennantgate. David’s co-stars can boast best supporting actor nominations for Patrick Stewart as Claudius and Oliver Ford Davies as Polonius. The RSC’s remarkable Histories at the Roundhouse has four nominations.
Finally for the Bard, Derek Jacobi’s Malvolio in Twelfth Night is up for best actor (in another Donmar production, this time at Wyndham’s theatre in the West End).
Fighting it out with Derek are the mighty Michael Gambon (who already has four Oliviers) and David Bradley, for Pinter’s No Man’s Land (which we didn’t love). And Adam Godley for his terrific role as a severely autistic savant in Rain Man. (We could suggest anyone would look like a best actor contender alongside the wildly attractive but wooden Josh Hartnett; ouch…)
We don’t know about you, but we’re wondering what happened to golden boy Goold this year (who should’ve won on the strength of his Six Characters alone), and the ever-wonderful Ken Branagh, whose Ivanov took our breath away. Let us know if you think anyone else is missing off the list…
The awards will be handed out on 8 March. And here’s a full list of nominees.