Tony Awards mystery: Will ‘Finding Neverland’ reap Best Musical bid?

Finding Neverland,” movie mogul Harvey Weinstein’s maiden Broadway show as lead producer, is a certified hit at the box office. However, it may have a tough time securing a crucial Best Musical nomination due to mostly lackluster reviews. Among them, the New York Times’ Ben Brantley dubbed it an “uncomfortable production” … “largely made up of empty calories.”

Do you think it will reap one of the four slots for Best Musical when Tony Awards nominations are announced on April 28? Make the best predictions in our Tony nominations contest and you could win a $100 Amazon gift certificate and a place of honor in our famous leaderboards.

There are 10 new tuners this season and three look like locks for nominations according to our early odds: “Fun Home,” which earned raves in its run at the Public Theater last year; “Something Rotten,” a Shakespearean sendup that has generated major buzz; and “An American in Paris,” a new dance-heavy adaptation of the Gene Kelly movie that opened last week to across-the-board raves.

That just leaves one open spot — and a lot of competition. The best bet is looking like “The Visit,” a chilly mystery that opens on the final day of eligibility, April 23, and features one of the last new scores by “Chicago”  and “Cabaret” co-creators John Kander and the late Fred Ebb, as well as a star turn by 82-year-old Chita Rivera.

As for the other late-season arrivals, “It Shoulda Been You” opened Tuesday to tepid notices from critics while the advance word on “Doctor Zhivago,” which bows Sunday, is lukewarm at best.

Two already-shuttered shows, the well-liked “Honeymoon in Vegas” and Sting’s “The Last Ship,” could also snag that final nomination. However, you can safely rule out the long-closed Tupac tuner “Holla If You Hear Me.” 

While Weinstein has earned a rep as a hugely successful if sharp-elbowed campaigner for Oscars and other movie awards, the Tonys may be a tougher prize to add to his mantelpiece. The nominations are determined by a committee of 50 theater professionals, a mix of actors (John Leguizamo, Mary Louise Parker), playwrights (Stephen Karam), regional-theater artistic directors, and even a couple journalists (The Atlantic’s Corby Kummer, former New York Times culture editor John Darnton).

In other words: This ain’t the Hollywood Foreign Press Assn.,, that easily flattered, often starstruck group that oversees the Golden Globes. It’s harder to lobby the Tony nominating committee than the broader pool of 800-some Tony voters. Four years ago, Daniel Radcliffe was widely tipped to win the Tony for Best Actor (Musical) for the hit revival of “How to Succeed in Business” – and he might have done so if hadn’t been snubbed for a nomination. (Norbert Leo Butz won, for the Tom Hanks role in “Catch Me If You Can.”)

Weinstein seems to be pulling out all the stops to get “Neverland” its moment in the spotlight – he even secured a production number for the show on last year’s Tony broadcast, with Oscar winner Jennifer Hudson (“Dreamgirls”) singing a song even though she’s not in the production. But the reviews may be too soft to secure a spot for the show in the Best Musical race.

Tonys Best Musical Actress battle:
Kelli O’Hara vs.
Chita Rivera vs. Kristen Chenoweth

When it came to predicting the Tony Awards nominations last year, the Experts tied the Top 24 Users (those users with the best scores predicting the 2013 nominations) with an overall accuracy rate of 86.67%. Our Editors were at 80.42% while all Users averaged 67.92%. (Click on each group’s name to see their overall results from last year.)

As Gold Derby Users – just like YOU – turn out to be our smartest prognosticators, it’s vital that you give us your predictions. Your picks factor into our Users racetrack odds. These, in turn, are a key component of Gold Derby’s official (combined) odds

To win, you must have the highest accuracy percentage – and maybe more than that. If more than one player has the best accuracy, the winner is the person with the highest accuracy plus most game points. So, remember to place your three super bets when making predictions. Each player gets one super bet of 500 points and two of 200 points with all the other categories worth 100 points. Strategy is key. Place those super bets wisely and they could crown you our winner.

That’s what happened when we tallied up prediction scores for last year’s Tony Awards nominations. Nine users were tied at the top with a jaw-dropping 95% accuracy. However, J F Petsche was our official winner because he scored 6,046 points (including 2,915 points for Play Revival where he had placed his 500 point bet). Compare that to second-place finisher Ted Stevenson  who scored 5,674 points (he put his 500 point bet on Musical Revival and earned 2,333 points there). 

Get started by making your own predictions for Best Musical using our easy drag-and-drop menu found at the bottom of this post.

You can continue to update and change your predictions until the morning of the nominations announcement on April 28. Just click “Save Predictions” when you’ve settled on your choice. And remember to place your 500 and 200-point bets wisely. 

To enter your predictions for the other genre categories, make sure you are logged into your Gold Derby account or register for a free account via Facebook, Twitter or Google.

After logging in, click on the “Predictions” button found at the top-right of every page. That will bring you to a list of every event currently being predicted at Gold Derby.

We are forecasting everything from the winners of the Academy of Country Music Awards and both Daytime and Primetime Emmys to the results on reality TV shows like “The Amazing Race” and “Survivor” and talent shows such as “American Idol” and “The Voice.” Click on any box to bring up that event, then scroll down to start making your predictions.

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