Wednesday, May 4, 2016

2016 Tony Nominations React

Former Book of Mormon costars Nikki M. James and Andrew Rannells announce the 2016 Tony Award nominees.

They're here! The 2016 Tony Award nominations have been announced, and now the awards season can begin in earnest (you can view a full list of the nominees here). We'll get to my reactions to yesterday's news in a moment, but first it's time to see how I did with my annual predictions.

Below are the actual nominees in the Big 12 categories I predicted over the past couple of weeks. Nominees with an asterisk are ones I correctly prediction; if the asterisk is in parentheses, that means I listed the nominee as a wildcard pick but not an official choice.

Best Musical
Bright Star
School of Rock(*)
Shuffle Along*

Best Play
The Father*
The Humans*
King Charles III*

Best Musical Revival
The Color Purple*
Fiddler on the Roof*
She Loves Me*
Spring Awakening*

Best Play Revival
The Crucible*
Long Day's Journey Into Night*
Noises Off*
A View from the Bridge*

Best Actor in a Musical
Alex Brightman, School of Rock*
Danny Burstein, Fiddler on the Roof*
Zachary Levi, She Loves Me(*)
Lin-Manuel Miranda, Hamilton*
Leslie Odom, Jr., Hamilton*

Best Actor in a Play
Gabriel Byrne, Long Day's Journey Into Night*
Jeff Daniels, Blackbird*
Frank Langella, The Father*
Tim Pigott-Smith, King Charles III*
Mark Strong, A View from the Bridge*

Best Actress in a Musical
Laura Benanti, She Loves Me*
Carmen Cusack, Bright Star(*)
Cynthia Erivo, The Color Purple*
Jessie Mueller, Waitress*
Phillipa Soo, Hamilton*

Best Actress in a Play
Jessica Lange, Long Day's Journey Into Night*
Laurie Metcalf, Misery
Lupita Nyong'o, Eclipsed*
Sophie Okonedo, The Crucible
Michelle Williams, Blackbird*

Best Featured Actor in a Musical
Daveed Diggs, Hamilton*
Brandon Victor Dixon, Shuffle Along 
Christopher Fitzgerald, Waitress*
Jonathan Groff, Hamilton*
Christopher Jackson, Hamilton

Best Featured Actor in a Play
Reed Birney, The Humans*
Bill Camp, The Crucible
David Furr, Noises Off*
Richard Goulding, King Charles III 
Michael Shannon, Long Day's Journey Into Night*

Best Featured Actress in a Musical
Danielle Brooks, The Color Purple*
Renée Elise Goldsberry, Hamilton*
Jane Krakowski, She Loves Me*
Jennifer Simard, Disaster!
Adrienne Warren, Shuffle Along

Best Featured Actress in a Play
Pascale Armand, Eclipsed*
Megan Hilty, Noises Off*
Jayne Houdyshell, The Humans
Andrea Martin, Noises Off*
Saycon Sengbloh, Eclipsed*

For those keeping score at home, I correctly predicted 45 out of 58 nominees, or 78%. When wildcard picks that made the cut are taken into account, that increases to 48 out of 58 correct predictions, or 83%. This is slightly better than my 77% success rate last year when wildcards were taken into account.

I'm pretty proud of these results. I had a 100% accuracy rating in the Best Play, Best Musical Revival, Best Play Revival, and Best Actor in a Play categories, and wildcard picks allow me to add Best Actor and Actress in a Musical to that group. I'm a little mad at myself for missing Featured Actress in a Play thanks to my own oversight; I was going to include Jayne Houdyshell in my Best Actress predictions until I realized she wasn't eligible, and made a mental note to put her in Featured Actress but forgot.

When it comes to surprises in this year's nominees, there are a few big ones. I would say the most shocking is the strong showing of Bright Star, which managed 5 overall nominations including high profile nods in the Best Musical and Best Actress in a Musical categories. The Steve Martin-penned, bluegrass-scored musical has been struggling at the box office since previews began, and I honestly had it pegged as being one of the first shows to post a closing notice after a poor showing this morning (that dubious honor unfortunately went to Disaster!). These nominations mean Bright Star's producers will surely keep things running through the Tony ceremony, and it may even be the start of the show's fortunes turning around.

I am honestly gobsmacked to see Audra McDonald excluded from the Best Actress in a Musical race. This is only the second time in her lengthy career that the most awarded performer in Tony history has failed to net at least a nomination in her eligible category. This is even more puzzling considering that Shuffle Along did very well overall, with 10 nominations spread throughout multiple categories.

It's also clear that Tony voters did not go for American Psycho as much as I thought they would. While I have heard the show is divisive, its strong showing in the other awards races tricked me into assuming it would make a much stronger showing here. We'll see if that has any affect on the show's box office over the next few months.

Some other noteworthy thoughts:

-Hamilton can add another record to its lengthy list of achievements. Thanks to multiple acting nods, it is now the most nominated show in Tony history with 16 total nominations, breaking the record jointly held by The Producers and Billy Elliot. If Hamilton manages to sweep the awards, it will have won a total of 13 statuettes, thereby also breaking The Producers' record for most Tony wins. I find this unlikely thanks to stiff competition in the acting categories, but it is possible!

-I am *thrilled* to see Zachary Levi make the cut in the Best Actor in a Musical race. He absolutely nailed his role in what is probably my second favorite production of the season (after Hamilton of course), and 110% deserves this nomination.

-There is obviously some close competition in the production categories, as the only way to force category expansions is by having very close votes during the nominations process. Since Best Musical, Best Musical Revival, and Best Play Revival all have one more than the minimum number of slots required, several shows must have been neck and neck.

-Overall I am extremely happy with these nominees. The only person I'm inclined to say was snubbed is Audra McDonald, who is excellent as always in Shuffle Along (review coming soon!), but having not seen all the nominated performances I cannot definitely say she was unfairly excluded from what is a very competitive category.

*Sidenote: I only consider someone having been "snubbed" if I can look at one of the nominated performers and honestly say I would exclude the nominee for the person who was overlooked.

Over the coming weeks, there will be plenty more Tony coverage here at Broadway, Etc., including my annual predictions of the winners. This is shaping up to be one of the most exciting, competitive seasons in recent memory even with the presumed dominance of Hamilton in the writing and production categories, and I can't wait to discuss it with all of you. Keep an eye on this space for more predictions and reviews as the countdown to June 12th has officially begun!


  1. According to Gold Derby, I got 84% of my predictions right, ranking 19th out 548 predictors, which is amazing since I don't live in New York City. But I do pay close attention to websites like and the nominations for other award shows.

    However, Gold Derby didn't allow me to make predictions in the supporting categories (although they might start doing that next year), so I could only predict Play, Musical, Play Revival, Musical Revival, and lead actor and actress for both play and musical.

    The only major players I didn't predict were Gabriel Byrne for Long Day's Journey Into Night, Sophie Okonedo for The Crucible, Carmen Cusack for Bright Star (I had predicted Audra McDonald as the 5th nominee), Bright Star for Best Musical, and Blackbird for Best Revival Of A Play.

    I often have at least one or two out-of-left field predictions, so I'm glad I lucked out with predicting Laurie Metcalf for Misery.

    1. Stay away from the Featured nominees, they will trip you up!

      I think Carmen Cusack, Sophie Okonedo, and Bright Star's Best Musical nod caught a lot of people by surprise, so I wouldn't feel too bad about missing those. You probably should have known about "Blackbird" though :-P

    2. It was hard for me predicting the play revival. I had a tough time deciding between Long Day's Journey Into Night and Blackbird as my fourth nominee. I finally went with Long Day's Journey Into Night because it's a timeless classic and it was released closer to nomination time. Plus, a play like Blackbird has the danger of being too personal for any voters who may have been abuse victims themselves when they were children.

    3. I do think "Blackbird's" subject matter makes it a tougher sell, and that will most likely keep it from winning the big prize, but we'll see!

  2. Didn't The Producers win 12 Tonys, not 13?

    1. Yes, "The Producers" won 12 Tonys. I meant that "Hamilton" will have beaten them by winning 13, the total number of categories the show is eligible in, but I see how the grammar of that sentence isn't all that clear. I'm updating it now!