Let the betting begin. Here are some guesses on tonight's winners:
Play: "The Beauty Queen of Leenane," with its life-and-death struggle between a mother and daughter, will win out over the more commercial, less gutsy "Art."
Musical: "Ragtime" will win.
Revival/Play: "A View From the Bridge"
Book of a Musical: Terrence McNally. His "Ragtime" book may be humorless, but "The Lion King" is way too simplistic.
Original score: If this one goes to "The Lion King," it will be thanks to Lebo M, whose vocal harmonies enrich the rather thin Elton John-Tim Rice score immeasurably. Still, the prize will go to "Ragtime."
Director/Musical: Julie Taymor is the woman of the year. Her work on "The Lion King" is unforgettable. This one is no contest.
Director/Play: Garry Hynes, artistic director of Dublin's Druid Theatre, is responsible for discovering playwright Martin McDonagh, and she will be rewarded. Matthew Marchus is also a contender for "Art."
Leading Actor/Play: The more conservative and best choice is Anthony Paglia for a searing performance in "A View from the Bridge." But John Leguizamo, general dynamo, may give Paglia a run for his money.
Leading Actress/Play: Marie Mullen, as a daughter fighting for her life against an incredibly wily and possibly mentally ill mother, will win.
Leading Actor/Musical: This is the toughest competition of the year. Will Brian Stokes Mitchell--American, black and at the top of his game--win over what has to be the most dynamic performance of the year, by the Scottish actor Alan Cumming, as the debased M.C. in "Cabaret?" Cumming should win.
Leading Actress/Musical: Who could resist giving one award to both Alice Ripley and Emily Skinner as the Siamese Twins of the now closed "Side Show?" A strong contingent out there for Natasha Richardson as Sally Bowles in "Cabaret" could rob us of a grand theatrical gesture. The duo deserves to win.
Featured Actor/Play: Sam Trammell was adorable but overpraised in "Ah, Wilderness!" The two brothers from "Beauty Queen" may cancel each other out, though if one wins it should be Tom Murphy, who plays the younger brother. However, if Tony voters have a long memory, Max Wright should win for his elegant performance in the long closed "Ivanov."
Featured Actress/Play: Anna Manahan as the deranged mother in "Beauty Queen."
Featured Actor/Musical: This is the least exciting category of the year. Gregg Edelman will win for "1776."
Featured Actress/Musical: Tsidii Le Loka will be the only performer to win for "The Lion King."
All design awards: Set, Costume, Lighting--will go to the "The Lion King."
Choreography: Graciela Daniele's subtle and brilliant work on "Ragtime" will win.
Orchestrations: William David Brohn for "Ragtime."