Corden won for lead actor in a play for the British comedy import "One Man, Two Guvnors," beating out Philip Seymour Hoffman for "Death of a Salesman." Hoffman had been considered by many industry watchers as the favorite to win for his portrayal of Willy Loman in the revival of the Arthur Miller classic.
Critics have praised Corden's comic performance in the play, which is by Richard Bean. The comedy, which is an adaptation of the 18th century Italian play "Servant of Two Masters," ran at the National Theatre in London, with Corden in the lead role, before opening on Broadway at the Music Box Theatre.
The other nominees in the category were James Earl Jones in "Gore Vidal's The Best Man," Frank Langella in "Man and Boy" and John Lithgow in "The Columnist." Last year's winner in the category was Mark Rylance in "Jerusalem."
Kazee took home the Tony for lead actor in a musical for his performance in "Once." The actor plays one half of a romantic pair in the show adapted from the 2006 movie of the same name. Jeremy Jordan had been a favorite to win the award for his performance in the Disney musical "Newsies."
The other nominees in the category were Danny Burstein and Ron Raines for "Follies," and Norm Lewis for "The Gershwins' Porgy and Bess."