Aaron Tveit is the sole nominee in his Tony category. But he can still lose
Aaron Tveit was named the sole contender for best performance by an actor in a leading role in a musical when the nominations were announced Thursday.
Tveit’s turn — as the lovelorn writer of “Moulin Rouge!” played by Ewan McGregor in the 2001 movie — is the category’s lone nominee due to the season’s abbreviated eligibility window after Broadway shut down seven months ago to curb the spread of COVID-19. (In fact, “Moulin Rouge” paused performances before the Broadway League’s shutdown mandate, and Tveit himself tested positive for the novel coronavirus shortly afterward.)
Therefore, only the actors of four musicals qualified for such nominations. (Most interestingly, Daniel J. Watts, who portrays Ike Turner in “Tina: The Tina Turner Musical” was deemed a featured actor of the production by the Tony Administration Committee in January, and was nominated as such, even though Kobna Holdbrook-Smith won the lead actor Olivier Award last year when the show was on the West End.)
So should Tveit, also of Fox’s live “Grease” musical and the 2012 movie “Les Misérables,” start celebrating his big win? Well, the awards’ rules state that if the nominating committee has determined only one nominee in a category, that nominee must still collect 60% of Tony voters’ total ballots.
That’s happened before: “Sunset Boulevard” was the sole nominee, and therefore winner, of the Tonys for best book and best original score in 1995. And entire categories have been eliminated due to lack of eligible contenders, as was done in 1985 with lead actor and actress of a musical, as well as choreography.
The Tony Award nominations for a season shortened by the pandemic are cold comfort to all of the out-of-work artists who won’t return to Broadway before May.
Still, Tveit stans have been waiting to fete his first Tony nomination. The actor, who made his Broadway debut in “Hairspray” and also performed in “Wicked,” originated standout roles in “Next to Normal” and “Catch Me If You Can” that were arguably deserving of awards recognition. And, come what may, he’s already made Tony Awards history as the single nominee in this particular category.
“I hope this can be a positive lift amidst an industry shut down with an ever-changing timeline,” Tveit said in a statement Thursday, “as well as a reminder of power of live theater, and what it can do for us as individuals. And for our world.”
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