The two Tony Awards for the musical “Nice Work If You Can Get it,” were both predictable and went to featured actors Judy Kaye and Michael McGrath. Judith Light won for best featured actress in a play for “Other Desert Cities,” the only award the Jon Robin Baitz play received. “Smash” actor Christian Borle won a Tony Award for best featured actor in a play over Andrew Garfield from “Death of a Salesman.” Mr. Garfield will soon be the new Spider-Man in the blockbuster out this summer. Tom Edden, who won a Drama Theater Award and Outer Critic’s Award for “One Man, Two Guvnors,” was favored to win.
One of the biggest upsets of the evening was James Corden’s best actor win for the British slapstick comedy import, “One Man, Two Guvnors.” The 33 year-old actor won over Philip Seymour Hoffman’s star turn in “Death of a Salesman,” and no one was more surprised than Mr. Corden, who said, in the newsroom, “I’ve been saying for the last week that I’m not going to win it because when you’re on a list like that, you just don’t expect it. It would be incredibly arrogant to think, yeah, I can win over James Earl Jones, Frank Langella and John Lithgow and Philip Seymour Hoffman, pretty much four of the finest actors alive,” he said. “It just reminds me there’s no such thing as best. I’m thrilled to win, honest. Beyond words, I really am.”
“I have this theory that actors, the people who they love, are people who they feel like they might see a little bit of themselves in. So anyone short just loves Al Pacino and Tom Cruise,” continued Corden. “For me seeing someone who you would always think is a character actor to break through and be playing those leading roles is nothing but inspiring to a young boy from High Wycombe, who hopes that that might be something they they would be able to do one day. It’s kind of ridiculous that I would win this and he sat there watching this.”
Another close race was for best actress. Nina Arianda received the Tony Award for her break out performance as the imperious dominatrix in David Ives’s “Venus in Fur.” She had tough competition from Tracie Bennett, who portrays Judy Garland in her later life in “End of the Rainbow,” and who won both the Outer Critic Circle Award and Drama Theater Award for the part. Other nominees Ms. Arianda squared off against were Stockard Channing (“Other Desert Cities”), Linda Lavin (“The Lyons”) and Cynthia Nixon (“Wit”). When asked in the pressroom how it felt to win the award for a play that is soon closing, Ms. Arianda said, “It’s very sad and it’s very exhilarating that this journey of three years is ending in a week, and I’m going to really take in every performance as best I can.”
Hugh Jackman received a special Tony Award from the Actors’ Equity Association. He thanked his wife, Deborah, who presented the award to him. “She hates public speaking, so this is probably the greatest thing you’ve ever done for me.”
Mr. Jackman generated a lot of excitement in the pressroom. Journalists asked about the movie version of “The Miserables,” which is being directed by the Academy-Award winning director of “The King’s Speech,” Tom Hooper. Mr. Jackman, who plays Jean Valjean, co-stars with fellow Aussie actor, Russell Crowe, who plays Javert. “It’s going great,” Mr. Jackman said. Commenting on the buzz the trailer is getting, he said, “I don’t think I’ve ever quite received that kind of feedback from a teaser trailer before. I’ve done it enough to know when it’s b.s. and when it’s not,” he said. “We’re going for something risky. We’re doing something that’s never been done before,” he said. “It makes it very exciting because every day at work is like an opening night.”