Film and television stars have stormed the stage at Britain’s showpiece theatre awards, with Helen Mirren, James McAvoy and Kristin Scott Thomas vying for the top acting gongs.
The nominations for the 2013 Olivier Awards were announced at The May Fair hotel earlier today, and Mirren was instantly installed among the favourites to secure the best actress award for her latest turn as the Queen in The Audience.
She will come up against Scott Thomas, star of The English Patient, for her performance in Old Times, Billie Piper, who was in The Effect, and Hattie Morahan for A Doll's House. The Audience was also nominated for best new play, and Stephen Daldry is in the running for best director.
Another production to open in recent weeks was Macbeth at the Trafalgar Studios, and it was nominated for best revival as well as a nod for film star McAvoy in the lead role.
He will face Everett, for his role as Oscar Wilde in The Judas Kiss, as well as Mark Rylance for Twelfth Night, Rafe Spall – recently seen in Life of Pi – for Constellations and Luke Treadaway, who starred in The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time.
Julian Bird, chief executive of The Society of London Theatre, said: “You have people who mix theatre with TV with film showing through very strongly in the nominations.”
“We do have a great thing in this country that people may have started their career in regional theatre; they build up another career but they keep coming back to the theatre.”
Judi Dench is acting in the West End currently, with Daniel Radcliffe and Jude Law set to return to the stage this year. “Britain’s very biggest film stars seem to keep coming back,” Mr Bird said.
The nominees were almost entirely British. Mr Bird said: “What we create in this country are things that go around the world. We create stars and creative talent.” Yet he added: “It is cyclical. Next year we will be talking about Book of Mormon and Once.”
The Curious Case of the Dog in the Night-Time secured the most nominations with eight, including best new play, and director Marianne Elliott. Another front-runner was musical Top Hat which gained seven nominations; while the West End transfer of Chichester Festival Theatre’s Sweeney Todd starring Imelda Staunton scored six.
The Audience and Kiss Me, Kate have five nominations apiece. New writing is also strongly represented this year with Nick Payne’s Constellations gaining four nominations and other new plays, The Effect, This House, Cinderella (St James’ Theatre) and Goodnight Mister Tom gaining nods across the categories.
Billy Elliot: The Musical, Matilda The Musical, The Phantom Of The Opera and Wicked won the public vote – a record 65,000 contributors this year- to become BBC Radio 2 Audience Award nominees.
Dance nominations are split between The Royal Ballet and Sadler’s Wells, with notable opera nominations including three out of four nominations for English National Opera for ‘best new opera , and the stage management teams at ENO London Coliseum and the Royal Opera House nominated for ‘outstanding achievement in opera’.
Former Olivier Award winners Gillian Lynne CBE and Michael Frayn are get 'special awards' for their outstanding contributions to theatre, as previously announced.
The awards ceremony will take place at the Royal Opera House, London on Sunday 28 April and will be hosted by Downton Abbey actor Hugh Bonneville and Legally Blonde: The Musical star Sheridan Smith.
There was some surprise that Smith, who has won two Oliviers, was not nominated for a third following her highly acclaimed performance in Hedda Gabler. Eve Best, who received plaudits for her powerhouse performance in Duchess of Malfi also missed out.
Gillian Lynne, who has choreographed over 50 Broadway, West End and international shows, said she felt “shock” at receiving the lifetime achievement award.
“I’m not particularly now in the public eye, I just work, work, work,” she said, adding: “I didn’t think they’d be aware of me for this award, so I’m thrilled.” Actress and singer Elaine Paige said Ms Lynne was “one of our premier choreographers”.
Ms Lynne worked on high profile shows including Cats and Phantom of the Opera. “I work on them all. When I get a minute I dash in,” she said.
“I’m just as mad about theatre and rehearsal. If I could be in a rehearsal with people who are brilliantly talented I really wouldn’t ask for much more of life.”
She also called on the government and wealthy individuals to “get behind theatre more” adding “there’s not a lot around to get your interesting offbeat performance off the ground.”
Olivier Awards 2013 nominations in full:
Rupert Everett - The Judas Kiss
James McAvoy - Macbeth
Mark Rylance - Twelfth Night
Rafe Spall - Constellations
Luke Treadaway - The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-Time
Helen Mirren - The Audience
Hattie Morahan - A Doll's House
Billie Piper - The Effect
Kristin Scott Thomas - Old Times
BEST ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE
Paul Chahidi - Twelfth Night
Richard McCabe - The Audience
Adrian Scarborough - Hedda Gabler
Kyle Soller - Long Day's Journey Into Night
BEST ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE
Janie Dee - NSFW
Anastasia Hille - The Effect
Cush Jumbo - Julius Caesar (Donmar Warehouse)
Helen McCrory - The Last Of The Haussmans
Nicola Walker - The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-Time
MASTERCARD BEST NEW PLAY
The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-Time
Stephen Daldry - The Audience
Marianne Elliott - The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-Time
Jeremy Herrin - This House
Simon McBurney - The Master And Margarita
BEST ACTOR IN A MUSICAL
Michael Ball - Sweeney Todd
Alex Bourne - Kiss Me, Kate
Tom Chambers - Top Hat
Will Young - Cabaret
BEST ACTRESS IN A MUSICAL
Heather Headley - The Bodyguard
Imelda Staunton - Sweeney Todd
Summer Strallen - Top Hat
Hannah Waddingham - Kiss Me, Kate
BEST PERFORMANCE IN A SUPPORTING ROLE IN A MUSICAL
Adam Garcia - Kiss Me, Kate
Debbie Kurup - The Bodyguard
Sian Phillips - Cabaret
Leigh Zimmerman - A Chorus Line
BEST NEW MUSICAL
Long Day's Journey Into Night
Twelfth Night (Apollo Theatre)
BEST MUSICAL REVIVAL
A Chorus Line
Kiss Me, Kate
BEST ENTERTAINMENT AND FAMILY
Cinderella (St James Theatre)
Goodnight Mister Tom
Hansel And Gretel
Room On The Broom
WHITE LIGHT AWARD FOR BEST LIGHTING DESIGN
Paul Anderson - The Master And Margarita
Paule Constable - The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-Time
Lee Curran - Constellations
Mark Henderson - Sweeney Todd
BEST SOUND DESIGN
Ian Dickinson - The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-Time
Paul Groothuis - Sweeney Todd
David McSeveney - Constellations
Gareth Owen - Top Hat
BEST COSTUME DESIGN
Bob Crowley - The Audience
Jon Morrell - Top Hat
Jenny Tiramani - Twelfth Night
Anthony Ward - Sweeney Todd
XL VIDEO AWARD FOR BEST SET DESIGN
Hildegard Bechtler - Top Hat
Miriam Buether & Wang Gongxin - Wild Swans
Bunny Christie & Finn Ross - The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-Time
Tim Hatley - The Bodyguard
BEST NEW DANCE PRODUCTION
Aeternum by the Royal Ballet at the Royal Opera House, choreographed by Christopher Wheeldon
Cacti by Nederlands Dans Theatre 2 at Sadler's Wells, choreographed by Alexander Ekman
A Streetcar Named Desire by Scottish Ballet at Sadler's Wells
OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT IN DANCE
Lez Brotherston for the set and costumes for Matthew Bourne's Sleeping Beauty, New Adventures at Sadler's Wells
ILL-Abilities company in Breakin' Convention at Sadler's Wells
Marianela Nunez for Aeternum, Diana & Actaeon and Viscera, The Royal Ballet at the Royal Opera House
BEST THEATRE CHOREOGRAPHER
Scott Ambler - Chariots Of Fire
Bill Deamer - Top Hat
Scott Graham & Steven Hoggett - The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-Time
Stephen Mear - Kiss Me, Kate
OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT IN AN AFFILIATE THEATRE
Caroline Horton for You're Not Like The Other Girls Chrissy at the Bush Theatre
The production of Red Velvet at the Tricycle Theatre
The season of new writing at the Royal Court Upstairs
Kate Bond and Morgan Lloyd for You Me Bum Bum Train, presented by Theatre Royal Stratford East
BEST NEW OPERA PRODUCTION
Billy Budd, English National Opera at the London Coliseum
Caligula, English National Opera at the London Coliseum
Einstein On The Beach at the Barbican Theatre
La Traviata, English National Opera at the London Coliseum
OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT IN OPERA
Edward Gardner for his conducting of The Flying Dutchman and Billy Budd at the English National Opera, London Coliseum
Bryan Hymel for his performances in Les Troyens, Robert Le Diable and Rusalka at the Royal Opera House
Music Theatre Wales for In The Locked Room/Ghost Patrol at the Linbury Theatre, the Royal Opera House
The Stage Management teams at English National Opera, London Coliseum and the Royal Opera House
BBC RADIO 2 AUDIENCE AWARD
Billy Elliot The Musical
Matilda The Musical
The Phantom Of The Opera
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