All of our Experts predict Philip Seymour Hoffman will win Best Actor (Play) for headlining the fourth rialto revival of 1949 Tony champ “Death of a Salesman.” Hoffman, who lost this race in 2000 for “True West” to Stephen Dillane (“The Real Thing”), is far out in front with odds of 4 to 9 to claim his first Tony.
If he prevails, Hoffman will be the first of the three Best Actor Oscar champs to play the role of Willy Loman on Broadway to win over Tony voters. George C. Scott, who turned down his 1970 Academy Award for “Patton,” contended in 1975 for the first Broadway revival; he lost to John Wood (“Travesties”). Dustin Hoffman was snubbed for his 1984 performance though the production won Best Revival and he claimed an Emmy in 1986 for the TV version. (Jeremy Irons won Best Actor that year for the original production of “The Real Thing.”).
While “Death of a Salesman” won Best Play at the third-ever Tony Awards, star Lee J. Cobb did not take home Best Actor. During those early years, only the winner was announced and it was Rex Harrison for playing Henry VIII in “Anne of the Thousand Days.” The most recent remounting of “Salesman” was in 1999 and both star Brian Dennehy and the production won Tony Awards.
In the third position at 20 to 1 is two-time Tony champ John Lithgow (“The Changing Room,” 1973; “The Sweet Smell of Success,” 2002) for playing real-life political commentator Joseph Alsop in David Auburn‘s new play “The Columnist.” He contended in this race for “Requiem for a Heavyweight,” 1985) and “M. Butterfly,” 1988).
Filling out the slate of nominees announced Tuesday are likely to be 1987 nominee Alan Rickman (“Les Liaisons Dangereuses) at 25 to 1 for his turn as a professor in Teresa Rebeck‘s wry comedy “Seminar” and Samuel L. Jackson at 33 to 1 for his portrayal of Martin Luther King, Jr. in Katori Hall’s Olivier-winning “The Mountaintop.”