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The Olivier Awards 2024: who should and who will win? | London Theatre

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The West End’s most important night is just around the corner. Mickey-Jo Theatre takes a look at the nominees in some of the main categories, and gives us his predictions.

It’s important to remember that in such a busy season in which plenty of plays and musicals were entirely overlooked and huge names were shut out of creative and acting categories alike, it really is a privilege for this year’s shortlist just to have been nominated. That being said, I still have plenty of thoughts.

Best New Play

Dear England at National Theatre & Prince Edward Theatre
The Hills of California at Harold Pinter Theatre
The Motive and the Cue at National Theatre & Noël Coward Theatre
Till the Stars Come Down at National Theatre

What will win: Few plays had the momentum of James Graham’s Dear England, which had audiences gripped like a World Cup final crowd.
What should win: I loved The Motive and the Cue, but Dear England has truly kicked the medium forwards and deserves this likely win.

Best New Musical

The Little Big Things at @sohoplace
Next To Normal at Donmar Warehouse
Operation Mincemeat at Fortune Theatre
A Strange Loop at Barbican Theatre

What will win: I predict a big win for Operation Mincemeat, a great ending to this show’s fringe-originated success story.
What should win: I’m a huge fan of Mincemeat, but A Strange Loop was an under-appreciated contemporary masterpiece.

Best Revival

The Effect at National Theatre
Macbeth at Donmar Warehouse
Shirley Valentine at Duke of York’s Theatre
Vanya at Duke of York’s Theatre

What will win: The amount of buzz surrounding Andrew Scott’s one-man take on Chekhov’s Vanya has me convinced it will clinch the victory.
What should win: Shirley Valentine – there’s much to be said for David Pugh’s careful producing, finding the perfect star and maintaining affordable pricing.

Best Musical Revival

Groundhog Day at The Old Vic
Guys & Dolls at Bridge Theatre
Hadestown at Lyric Theatre
Sunset Boulevard at Savoy Theatre

What will win: Sunset Boulevard and Guys & Dolls are both heavyweights here with their reimagined stagings, but Sunset will take this one.
What should win: The brilliance of framing a story about Hollywood through a cinematic lens is exactly why this award exists – Sunset Boulevard.

Sir Peter Hall Award for Best Director

• Stephen Daldry & Justin Martin for Stranger Things: The First Shadow at Phoenix Theatre
• Rupert Goold for Dear England at National Theatre & Prince Edward Theatre
• Jamie Lloyd for Sunset Boulevard at Savoy Theatre
• Sam Mendes for The Motive and the Cue at National Theatre & Noël Coward Theatre

Who will win: It stands to reason that Rupert Goold will pick this one up as the captain of what I expect to be the winning team, Dear England.
Who should win: No director’s bold, boundary-breaking vision has been felt more acutely this year than Jamie Lloyd’s for Sunset Boulevard.

Best Actress

• Laura Donnelly for The Hills of California at Harold Pinter Theatre
• Sophie Okonedo for Medea at @sohoplace
• Sarah Jessica Parker for Plaza Suite at Savoy Theatre
• Sheridan Smith for Shirley Valentine at Duke of York’s Theatre
• Sarah Snook for The Picture of Dorian Gray at Theatre Royal Haymarket

Who will win: Sheridan Smith and Sarah Snook’s marathon solo shows shouldn’t be underestimated, but my money is on Laura Donnelly.
Who should win: Laura Donnelly has a gift of a role (penned by her husband Jez Butterworth), and who but her could have navigated its smoky dualities so skilfully?

Best Actor

• Joseph Fiennes for Dear England at National Theatre & Prince Edward Theatre
• Mark Gatiss for The Motive and the Cue at National Theatre & Noël Coward Theatre
• James Norton for A Little Life at Harold Pinter Theatre & Savoy Theatre
• Andrew Scott for Vanya at Duke of York’s Theatre
• David Tennant for Macbeth at Donmar Warehouse

Who will win: I’m expecting Joseph Fiennes to take this one for his charismatic performance as Gareth Southgate in Dear England.
Who should win: In a category filled with arduous turns, it would be lovely to see Mark Gatiss win for his nuanced portrayal of Sir John Gielgud.

Best Actor in a Musical

• David Cumming for Operation Mincemeat at Fortune Theatre
• Tom Francis for Sunset Boulevard at Savoy Theatre
• Daniel Mays for Guys & Dolls at Bridge Theatre
• Charlie Stemp for Crazy For You at Gillian Lynne Theatre

Who will win: I’ve a feeling that an Olivier win will be the final destination of Tom Francis’s infamous walk around the block during Sunset Boulevard.
Who should win: I’ve been ready to personally inscribe this award for Charlie Stemp since opening night of Crazy For You. Since the interval, in fact.

Best Actress in a Musical

• Natasha Hodgson for Operation Mincemeat at Fortune Theatre
• Caissie Levy for Next to Normal at Donmar Warehouse
• Nicole Scherzinger for Sunset Boulevard at Savoy Theatre
• Marisha Wallace for Guys & Dolls at Bridge Theatre

Who will win: Nicole Scherzinger’s Norma Desmond set the West End ablaze, there’s no way we won’t be hearing her acceptance speech.
Who should win: Scherzinger’s tour de force notwithstanding, I’d hand this to Caissie Levy, who broke as many hearts with a subtler stroke.

Best Actor in a Supporting Role

• Will Close for Dear England at National Theatre & Prince Edward Theatre
• Paul Hilton for An Enemy of the People at Duke of York’s Theatre
• Giles Terera for Clyde’s at Donmar Warehouse
• Luke Thompson for A Little Life at Harold Pinter Theatre & Savoy Theatre
• Zubin Varla for A Little Life at Harold Pinter Theatre & Savoy Theatre

Who will win: This category often begets wins for understated turns, and Will Close will surely be numbered among Dear England’s goals.
Who should win: Will Close’s gentle performance was in many ways the heart of Dear England, this is well deserved.

Best Actress in a Supporting Role

• Lorraine Ashbourne for Till the Stars Come Down at National Theatre
• Priyanga Burford for An Enemy of the People at Duke of York’s Theatre
• Haydn Gwynne for When Winston Went To War With The Wireless at Donmar Warehouse
• Gina McKee for Dear England at National Theatre
• Tanya Reynolds for A Mirror at Almeida Theatre & Trafalgar Theatre

Who will win: I predict a posthumous win for the late, legendary Haydn Gwyne, on this her fifth Olivier Award nomination.
Who should win: The inexplicably snubbed Tuppence Middleton, whose Elizabeth Taylor was the magnetic catalyst of The Motive and the Cue.

Best Actress in a Supporting Role in a Musical

• Grace Hodgett-Young for Sunset Boulevard at Savoy Theatre
• Zoe Roberts for Operation Mincemeat at Fortune Theatre
• Amy Trigg for The Little Big Things at @sohoplace
• Eleanor Worthington-Cox for Next to Normal at Donmar Warehouse

Who will win: There’s much love for The Little Big Things, and Amy Trigg’s charming performance may earn her a win as its only nominated cast member.
Who should win: History’s youngest Olivier winner Eleanor Worthington-Cox should be adding a second to her trophy cabinet.

Best Actor in a Supporting Role in a Musical

• Jak Malone for Operation Mincemeat at Fortune Theatre
• Cedric Neal for Guys & Dolls at Bridge Theatre
• David Thaxton for Sunset Boulevard at Savoy Theatre
• Jack Wolfe for Next to Normal at Donmar Warehouse

Who will win: Cedric and David are both nominated for previously Olivier-winning roles, but this will be a photo finish between Jack and Jak.
Who should win: I will be jumping up and down if Jak Malone takes this. His is one of the few performances I’ve seen truly stop a show.

The Olivier Awards 2024 will take place on Sunday 14 April 2024 at the Royal Albert Hall. It will be broadcast on ITV 1.

Book tickets to Olivier-nominated shows on London Theatre.

This article first appeared in the April issue of London Theatre Magazine.

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