Al Pacino, Jessica Chastain and Alec Baldwin were among the big names who found themselves snubbed by Tony voters. The biggest shocks, however, were likely Bette Midler and Fiona Shaw, critical darlings, who Tony tea leaf readers believed were all but guaranteed a nomination.
Here’s a look at some of the actors and actresses who are likely having a very bad morning.
Bette Midler, “I’ll Eat You Last”
Holding the audience in the palm of her hand for 90 minutes, Midler delivers a bravura performance as Hollywood’s first super-agent, Sue Mengers. The Divine Miss M’s return to Broadway after a three- decade absence were greeted with strong reviews and a rapturous response from audiences. It’s possible that the story of movie-making wheeling and dealing was too focused on the wrong coast for Tony voters, who prefer their art live.
Al Pacino, “Glengarry Glen Ross”
Critics hated Pacino’s against-type performance as down-on-his-luck salesman Shelly Levene, but the movie star was a box office heavyweight. Commercial success didn’t translate into Tony votes, however, and Pacino and the production were shut out entirely.
Jessica Chastain, “The Heiress”
Chastain suffered for her art in the latest revival of Henry James’ tale of turn-of-the-century sexual power dynamics. The Oscar-nominee was saddled with the worst hairpiece since Tommy Lee Jones’ wig in “Lincoln.” Masking her natural good looks wasn’t enough to snag Chastain a seat at the Tony Awards. Unlike Cherry Jones and Olivia de Havilland, both of whom played the spinsterish central role to awards and acclaim, the would-be theater star found herself knocked out of contention.
Fiona Shaw, “The Testamant of Mary”
When Irish actress Fiona Shaw and iconoclastic director Deborah Warner teamed up to revitalize “Medea” in 2000, the Greek tragedy was a big hit with Tony voters, scoring nominations for both women. This time, the veteran collaborators found themselves on the snub list. It’s possible that the play, which presents a more human, less pious version of the Virgin Mary, was too controversial for awards attention. Score one for Catholic protestors?
Alec Baldwin, “Orphans”
The abrupt departure of Shia LaBeouf from the revival of Lyle Kessler’s crime drama this spring made “Orphans” and Baldwin staples of the New York tabloids. The attention didn’t translate into Tony love. When nominations were announced on Tuesday, neither Baldwin nor LaBeouf’s replacement, Ben Foster, were among the nominees. Instead, it was little-known English actor Tom Sturridge who found himself on the short-list.
Alan Cumming, “MacBeth”
If Tony voters rewarded ambition alone, then Cumming would likely have another statue to go along with the one he picked up for “Cabaret.” After all, few performers walked a more slender tightrope than he did when he agreed to play every major role in Shakespeare’s tragic tale of the perils of ambition. Alas, the curse of the “Scottish Play” continues, and Cumming was deemed undeserving of awards love.
Scarlett Johansson, “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof”
When Johansson made her Broadway debut in 2010’s revival of Arthur Miller’s “A View From the Bridge,” Tony voters rewarded her with a Best Featured Actress trophy. Her return trip to the Great White Way resulted in a ticket to snubsville. As Maggie the Cat, Johansson sported a spotty Southern accent and, despite her physical gifts, failed to radiate much heat. Reviews were tepid and so was the Tony response.