Tony Awards Cheat Sheet

The Cheat Sheet: Tony Awards
Roll over photos for a quick look at the 65th Tony Awards nominees.
By David Ng, Los Angeles Times
Best Musical
  • The Book of Mormon
  • Catch Me If You Can
  • The Scottsboro Boys
  • Sister Act
Best Play
  • Good People
  • Jerusalem
  • War Horse
  • Mother...With the Hat
Tonys First Timers
  • Judith Light
  • Josh Gad
    The Book of Mormon
  • Edie Falco
    The House of Blue Leaves
  • John Larroquette
    How to Succeed in Business
  • Ellen Barkin
    The Normal Heart
Broadway Imports
  • Jerusalem
  • War Horse
  • Brief Encounter
  • Sister Act
  • La Bete
Notable Snubs
  • Robin Williams
    Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo
  • Daniel Radcliffe
    How to Succeed in Business
  • That Championship Season
  • Ann Closs-Farley
    The Pee-wee Herman Show
  • David Hyde Pierce, Mark Rylance
    'La Bete'
'A Serious Man'
Writer-directors Joel and Ethan Coen have seized the opportunity afforded by the Oscar-winning success of their last film, "No Country for Old Men," to make their most personal, most intensely Jewish film, a pitch-perfect comedy of despair that, against some odds, turns out to be one of their most universal as well. -- Kenneth Turan

Photo credit: Focus Features
'An Education'
Invariably funny and inexpressibly moving in the way it looks at a young girl's journey from innocence to experience, this film does so many things so well, it's difficult to know where to begin cataloging its virtues. What's easy is knowing where you'll end up, which is marveling at the performance by Carey Mulligan. -- Kenneth Turan

Photo credit: Sony Pictures Classics
Think of it as "The Jazz Singer" of 3-D filmmaking. Think of it as the most expensive and accomplished Saturday matinee movie ever made. Think of it as the ultimate James Cameron production. Whatever way you choose to look at it, "Avatar's" shock and awe demand to be seen. -- Kenneth Turan

Photo credit: 20th Century Fox
'District 9'
This movie is very smart sci-fi, but that's just the beginning; as the alien-human conflict escalates and our human hero hits hard times, it becomes a scathing social satire hidden inside a terrific action thriller teeming with gross aliens and regrettable inter-species conflict. And it's a blast. -- Betsy Sharkey

Photo credit: TriStar Pictures
'The Hurt Locker'
This film has the killer impact of the explosive devices that are the heart of its plot: It simply blows you apart and doesn't bother putting you back together again. Tense, overflowing with crackling verisimilitude, it's both the film about the war in Iraq that we've been waiting for and the kind of unqualified triumph that's been long expected from director Kathryn Bigelow. -- Kenneth Turan

Photo credit: Summit Entertainment
'Inglourious Basterds'
Ah, that most inglourious of basterds, Quentin Tarantino. What is good about the film is so very good as to outweigh the rest. He plays tension like taffy, stretching it (and us) as far as he can, particularly in the fine opening gambit with Christoph Waltz as Col. Hans Landa, one of the most bone-chilling villains ever. Is it outrageous and impolitic? Absolutely. Is it too long? Definitely. Is it worth seeing? Without question. -- Betsy Sharkey

Photo credit: The Weinstein Company
'The Blind Side'
Watching "The Blind Side" is like watching your favorite football team; you'll cheer when things go well, curse when they don't, and be reminded that in football, as in life, it's how you play the game that counts -- though winning doesn't hurt either. Based on the remarkable true story of Baltimore Ravens tackle Michael Oher, the movie stars Sandra Bullock as a spitfire of a mom. In the end, this is Bullock's movie. -- Betsy Sharkey

Photo credit: Warner Bros.
Nothing quite prepares you for this rough-cut diamond. A rare blend of pure entertainment and dark social commentary, this shockingly raw, surprisingly irreverent and absolutely unforgettable story of an obese, illiterate, pregnant black Harlem teen is one that should not be missed. -- Betsy Sharkey

Photo credit: Lionsgate Films
Centered on cranky 78-year-old Carl Fredricksen (voiced by Ed Asner) floating off to parts unknown when his house gets hoisted into the air by exactly 20,622 helium balloons, "Up" is not only good, it's one of Pixar's best. Rarely has any film, let alone an animated one powered by the logic of dream and fantasy, been able to move so successfully -- and so effortlessly -- through so many different kinds of cinematic territory. -- Kenneth Turan

Photo credit: Disney/Pixar
'Up in the Air'
Director/co-writer Jason Reitman makes it look easy. In this comic drama about a road warrior played by George Clooney, he blends entertainment and insight, comedy and poignancy, even drama and reality, things that are difficult by themselves but a whole lot harder in combination. This film does all that and never seems to break a sweat. -- Kenneth Turan

Photo credit: Paramount Pictures
'The Book of Mormon'
The irreverent musical comedy from the creators of "South Park" is the show to beat at this year's Tony Awards, with a total of 14 nominations. The story of two mismatched Mormon missionaries assigned to spread the word in Africa has been a hit with both critics and audiences -- a rarity on Broadway.

Photo credit: Joan Marcus / AP
'Catch Me If You Can'
This crowd-pleasing musical is based on the hit 2002 movie directed by Steven Spielberg. The show, which received four nominations, tells the true story of Frank Abagnale Jr., a con artist who forged checks and posed as an airplane pilot and doctor.

Photo credit: Joan Marcus / AP
'The Scottsboro Boys'
Few people expected this postmodern historical musical, which flopped at the box office, to be remembered by the Tonys, let alone score 12 nominations. The production controversially uses minstrelsy as a motif to revisit the notorious 1931 case of nine young men accused of rape.

Photo credit: Carol Rosegg / AP
'Sister Act'
It's been a long road to Broadway for this musical based on the 1992 movie. The show, with five nominations, had its world premiere at the Pasadena Playhouse in 2006 and has seen productions in Atlanta and London. Whoopi Goldberg, who starred in the film, is a producer for the Broadway production.

Photo credit: Joan Marcus / AP
Quentin Tarantino
The 46-year-old movie fanatic and one-time guest judge on "American Idol" earns his second best director Oscar nomination and a screenplay nomination. He received a best director nod 15 years ago for "Pulp Fiction" and shared the screenplay Oscar with Roger Avery for that thriller. Tarantino won the Critics' Choice award this year for best screenplay. -- Susan King

Photo credit: The Weinstein Company
'Good People'
Set among the denizens of South Boston, David Lindsay-Abaire's drama focuses on one woman's struggle to survive and her attempt to escape her dead-end life. The playwright was last up for a Tony in 2006 for "Rabbit Hole."

Photo credit: Joan Marcus / Samuel J. Friedman Theatre
This British drama, with an impressive running time of three hours, was a critical success in London before transferring to New York. The story explores the contemporary English psyche through the character of a deranged drug dealer who lives in a caravan in the woods.

Photo credit: Simon Annand / AP
'War Horse'
The World War I drama, which is based on Michael Morpurgo's book, originated at London's National Theatre before moving to the West End and then Lincoln Center. The production employs life-size puppets by the Handspring Puppet Company to portray the equine characters.

Photo credit: Paul Kolnik / Lincoln Center Theater
'The Mother... With the Hat'
The unprintable title of the play didn't scare the Tony committee from honoring Stephen Adly Guirgis with his first nomination. The comedy-drama follows a former addict and his counselor as they navigate a series of temptations.

Photo credit: Joan Marcus / AP
Meryl Streep
For her turn as famed French chef Julia Child, the 60-year-old actress earns her staggering 16th Oscar nomination and her 13th in the lead actress category. She received her first supporting actress nod for 1978's "The Deer Hunter" and won in that category for 1979's "Kramer vs. Kramer." Streep won her lead actress Oscar for 1982's "Sophie's Choice." She's received numerous accolades for her role as Child from critics' groups and won the Golden Globe for best actress in a comedy or musical. -- Susan King

Photo credit: Columbia Pictures
Judith Light
The "Who's the Boss?" actress earned her first nomination for her Broadway return after more than 30 years. She played the wife of the legendary football coach Vince Lombardi.

Photo credit: Joan Marcus
Josh Gad
The "The Book of Mormon" actor plays one half of a mismatched pair of missionaries who are shipped off to a rural village in Uganda. The actor, who appeared as a correspondent on "The Daily Show With Jon Stewart," will be competing against his costar, Andrew Rannells, for the Tony for lead actor in a musical.

Photo credit: Joan Marcus
Edie Falco
The "Nurse Jackie" and "Sopranos" star earned a featured-actress nomination for playing a schizophrenic housewife in the revival of John Guare's "The House of Blue Leaves." This is the first Tony nod for the actress, who previously appeared on Broadway in "Frankie & Johnny in the Claire de Lune" and "'night Mother."

Photo credit: Joan Marcus / AP
John Larroquette
Playing the corporate boss to Daniel Radcliffe's company climber has won the "Night Court" actor a Tony nomination for his Broadway debut.

Photo credit: Ari Mintz/AP
Ellen Barkin
The veteran screen actress scored a featured-actress Tony nomination for her Broadway debut in a revival of Larry Kramer's 1985 drama "The Normal Heart," in which she plays a wheelchair-bound doctor dealing with victims of the AIDS crisis.

Photo credit: Chris Pizzello / AP
This British drama originated at the Royal Court in London in 2009 before transferring to the Apollo on the West End, and then to New York's Music Box Theatre. The story explores the contemporary English psyche through the character of a deranged drug dealer who lives in a caravan in the woods.

Photo credit: Simon Annand / AP
'War Horse'
London's National Theatre premiered this visually inventive World War I drama in 2007 before it transferred to the New London Theatre on the West End, where it is still playing. The Broadway production is at the Vivian Beaumont Theatre at Lincoln Center.

Photo credit: Joan Marcus / AP
'Brief Encounter'
The Kneehigh Theatre in Cornwall, England, premiered this innovative adaptation of the 1945 David Lean movie, which transferred to the Haymarket in London in 2008. On Broadway, the play bowed at Studio 54 in a production by the Roundabout Theater. Actress Hannah Yelland is nominated for her lead role.

Photo credit: Joan Marcus
'Sister Act'
The musical, with five nominations, had its world premiere at the Pasadena Playhouse in 2006 and has seen productions in Atlanta at the Alliance Theatre and London at the Apollo Theatre.

Photo credit: Joan Marcus / AP
'La Bete'
The revival of David Hirson's period farce opened at London's Comedy Theatre in 2010 before transferring to the Music Box in New York later the same year. Joanna Lumley, of "Ab Fab" fame, is nominated as featured-actress in a play.

Photo credit: Joan Marcus
Robin Williams, 'Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo'
The Iraq war drama by Rajiv Joseph, a Pulitzer Prize finalist, was left out of all the major categories, including best play. Its leading tiger, Robin Williams, was also overlooked by the Tony committee.

Photo credit: Carol Rosegg
Daniel Radcliffe
The "Harry Potter" star failed to land a Tony nod for his lead role in this musical revival, which scored eight nominations, including ones for his costars John Larroquette and Tammy Blanchard.

Photo credit: Peter Kramer / AP
'That Championship Season'
Despite an all-star cast that includes Kiefer Sutherland, Jason Patric, Brian Cox and Chris Noth, the revival of Jason Miller's 1973 Pulitzer Prize-winning drama received no nominations.

Photo credit: Charles Sykes / AP
Ann Closs-Farley (costume designer), 'The Pee-wee Herman Show'
L.A. designer Ann Closs-Farley's costumes worn by Pee-wee and the gang were imaginative and colorful, but they failed to sufficiently dazzle the Tony committee. The comeback show, which debuted in L.A. in 2010, failed to garner any nominations.

Photo credit: Kevin Mazur / HBO
David Hyde Pierce and Mark Rylance, 'La Bete'
Rylance landed a nomination for "Jerusalem" but his comic work earlier this season in the revival of "La BĂȘte" was overlooked, as was his co-star, Tony winner David Hyde Pierce.

Photo credit: Joan Marcus
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