NEW YORK -- Can Tom Hanks add a Tony Award to his crowded mantle?
That’s one of many questions that emerged after the Tony committee announced its acting nominations Tuesday morning, with Hanks' name on the shortlist for best actor in a play for his portrayal of late columnist Mike McAlary in Nora Ephron’s “Lucky Guy.”
Hanks already has two Oscars and five Emmys over his 30-year career as an actor and producer, but he has never won a Tony.
He'll face stiff competition, with a group of heavy-hitters rounding out the category. They include David Hyde-Pierce ("Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike,") Nathan Lane ("The Nance,"), Tracy Letts ("Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?") and Tom Sturridge ("Orphans")
It's a heady group; apart from Sturridge, who is mainly a screen actor, all three have won Tonys before -- Letts for best play and Lane and Hyde-Pierce for acting.
Not included in the list was Alan Cumming, who as an actor playing 15 different roles in a one-man "Macbeth" had been on many forecasters' list to nab a nomination.
In the category of actress in a play, the early favorite is Cicely Tyson, who made a return to Broadway after three decades as the elderly mother Carrie Watts in the revival of Horton Foote’s “A Trip to Bountiful.”
She’s joined in the category by Laurie Metcalf, as a woman on the cusp of dementia in "The Other Place"; Holland Taylor as Texas Gov. Ann Richards in "Ann”; Kristine Nielsen as a dysfunctional relative in "Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike" and Letts' quick-witted co-star Amy Morton in "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?"
Left off the list was Bette Midler, who made a return to Broadway as Hollywood superagent Sue Mengers in "I'll Eat You Last." Midler was given a special Tony Award in 1974 but has never won a conventional prize.
The category of lead actress in a musical has seen its share of drama since the administration committee voted to disallow the four young women who play the title role in “Matilda” from the category. (They will be given a special prize.)
That leaves “Pippin” star Patina Miller as the front-runner; she’s joined by Valisia LeKae ("Motown"), Laura Osnes ("Rodgers & Hammerstein's Cinderella"), Stephanie Block ("The Mystery of Edwin Drood") and Carolee Carmello ("Scandalous") in the category.
Lilla Crawford ("Annie") was a favorite to land a spot but was not nominated.
“Matilda" still has a shot at a prize on the lead actor side -- though, ironically, it’s for a female role. Bertie Carvel nabbed a lead actor in a musical nomination for his cross-dressing turn as fearsome headmistress Miss Trunchbull in the Roald Dahl adaptation.
He is joined in the category by another cross-dressing star, “Kinky Boots” lead Billy Porter, as well as Porter's co-star Stark Sands. Filling out the category is Santino Fontana ("Rodgers and Hammerstein's Cinderella") and, in a bit of a back-from-the-forgotten-land-of-fall-closures, the relative newcomer Rob McClure as the titular screen icon in "Chaplin."
Brandon Victor Dixon ("Motown"), who had been seen as a contender in the category, was left off the list.
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