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Tony Awards 2015: Let's talk snubs and surprises

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Carol Rosegg

Did you hear? The 2015 Tony Award nominations have been announced, and so have this year’s hosts—which means that awards circuit conversation is about to descend on Broadway like a rogue chandelier at the end of Act One.

Before the awards on June 7, there’s plenty of time to debate where the chips have fallen for one of Broadway’s most inexplicable seasons. Though certain favorites like Fun HomeSkylight, The King and I, and The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time made things easier by emerging as obvious locks for nominations, the playing field felt wider than usual. Predictions, shall we say, were all over the place.

Here’s EW’s quick take on some of the nomination snubs and surprises that caught our attention. If you’ve got your own to add, head down to the comments and let us know.

SURPRISE: An American in Paris

An underdog entry in the Best Musical race grand jetéd to the front of the pack when An American in Paris, the dance-heavy stage adaptation of the 1951 Gene Kelly movie, tied early favorite Fun Home for the most nominations of any production this year (12). With comedy Something Rotten! close behind at 10 nods, voters will have to choose between the jubilant classicism of Paris, the scenery-chewing showmanship of Rotten, and the profoundly moving comforts of Home.

That race doesn’t lighten up as Paris is also a contender in several juicy acting categories, where triple-threat Robbie Fairchild will face off against Fun Home‘s Michael Cerveris for leading actor, while Max von Essen and Brandon Uranowitz (a surprise inclusion) go up against Rotten‘s Brad Oscar and Christian Borle in the featured category. (There’s a war in the family, meanwhile, as three of Fun Home‘s women compete against each other in the featured category as well.)

SNUB: Finding Neverland

One of the season’s biggest wildcards was Harvey Weinstein’s powerhouse musical Finding Neverland, which faced pushback from the theater community and reviews that bordered on crocodile vicious. A late-in-the-game groundswell of support suggested that leading man Matthew Morrison might overcome the notices to earn recognition for his role as Peter Pan creator J.M. Barrie—but Neverland fell flat with a whopping zero nods. (Even the impressive design team was snubbed.) The glittery silver lining is that the box office-busting show was the first of the season to launch a national tour. That’s a happy thought.

SURPRISE: Micah Stock

SNUB: It’s Only a Play

Despite a cast with the likes of Nathan Lane, Matthew Broderick, Stockard Channing, and Megan Mullally, it was newcomer Micah Stock who scored the only nomination for the fall’s hot revival of backstage Broadway comedy It’s Only a Play. The show blew up the boards in October, but lost all momentum in the spring. (You might blame its revolving door of original cast members.) Stock, who played a wannabe actor-turned-coat check boy, shone the brightest in a sea of stars, and walked away with the show’s only awards slot.

SNUB: The directors who doubled up

Director Stephen Daldry was twice represented this season with Skylight and The Audience. He only earned a nod for the former, even though the latter remains one of the season’s best-directed entries. Did the Tonys categorically check Daldry’s box only once in order to spread the wealth? The same might be said of Scott Ellis, who got a nomination for You Can’t Take It With You but not The Elephant Man or On the Twentieth Century. Meanwhile, Pam MacKinnon and Anna D. Shapiro—both former Tony winners who each directed two revivals this year—weren’t recognized at all.

SURPRISE: This Is Our Youth

Occasionally, the Tonys will recognize plays that have long since shuttered before nominations arrive. The 2013 Pulitzer Prize winner Disgraced closed in March, but was deservedly remembered for Best Play. Perhaps more surprising is the inclusion of September’s This Is Our Youth—which scored a coveted slot in the Best Revival of a Play category, besting A Delicate Balance (the Glenn Close-John Lithgow drama was completely shut out) and The Heidi Chronicles (represented with one nomination by Tony nominee Elisabeth Moss).

SNUBS: The A-list

The big pull these days for ticket-buying tourists is an A-list name, but mega-celebrities hardly find themselves in the running for a Tony automatically. Among the biggest stars who didn’t draw any Tony love this year? Hugh Jackman, Jake Gyllenhaal, Michael Cera, John Lithgow, Ewan McGregor, Nathan Lane, Glenn Close, Blythe Danner, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Peter Gallagher, Kelsey Grammer, Vanessa Hudgens, Cynthia Nixon, and Josh Radnor. Sure, some could be considered deserving snubs, but we’ll leave that to you to decide.

SURPRISE: Ken Watanabe

There are plenty of reasons to fall in love with Lincoln Center’s revival of The King and I (the most-nominated musical revival, at nine), but it was still a surprise to see Ken Watanabe recognized for his frantic King of Siam—especially given his competition. When the committee overlooks consistently good performances like John Cariani in Something Rotten! and Rob McClure in Honeymoon in Vegas (the best part of that show, to be sure), it’s nothing short of a puzzlement.

SNUB(?): Fish in the Dark

Don’t be surprised that the year’s most difficult ticket—Larry David’s debut comedy about a death in the family—was fully ignored on the awards circuit. Expectations were perhaps too high going into this super-sized episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm… but hey, the show’s been playing to 101 percent capacity and bringing in over a million bucks a week. Who’s laughing now?

Tony Nominations by Production

An American in Paris – 12

Fun Home – 12

Something Rotten! – 10

The King and I – 9

Wolf Hall Parts One & Two – 8

Skylight – 7

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time – 6

Hand to God – 5

On the Twentieth Century – 5

The Visit – 5

You Can’t Take It with You – 5

Airline Highway – 4

The Elephant Man – 4

On the Town – 4

The Audience – 3

The Last Ship – 2

Constellations – 1

Disgraced – 1

Gigi – 1

The Heidi Chronicles – 1

It’s Only a Play – 1

This Is Our Youth – 1

Shows with zero nominations: The Country HouseFish in the DarkLiving on LoveThe RiverDoctor ZhivagoFinding NeverlandHoller If Ya Hear MeIt Shoulda Been YouA Delicate BalanceLove LettersThe Real ThingSide Show.

Which snubs and surprises would you add to our list?

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