Tonys cliffhanger: Can anyone beat Helen Mirren (‘The Audience’) for Best Actress (Play)?

The British dominate the race for Best Actress (Play). The clear favorite is Helen Mirren who is ruling Broadway as Queen Elizabeth II in “The Audience.” Do you think she will win a Tony to go with the Oscar she won for playing the reigning monarch in “The Queen”? 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. 

Mirren snagged one of her four Emmys for portraying Elizabeth I on HBO (the other three are for two seasons of “Prime Suspect” and “The Passion of Ayn Rand”). She won an Olivier Award for the London run of “Audience” and has been nominated for a Tony twice before (for revivals of “A Month in the Country” and “Dance of Death”) without a win, so she is due. It’s also an excellent performance where she plays Elizabeth at various ages, shifting from young wife and mother to revered grandmother at a moment’s notice.

Other than Mirren, the likeliest nominees are fellow Brits Carey Mulligan for “Skylight” and Ruth Wilson for “Constellations.” Neither has been nominated before. Lindsay Duncan of “A Delicate Balance” is also a possibility, but her role as the alcoholic sister is more of a supporting one.

That leaves two slots available which will probably be filled by Americans. The strongest contenders are two women who headline revivals: Elisabeth Moss in “The Heidi Chronicles” and Glenn Close in “A Delicate Balance.” 

Blythe Danner in “The Country House” and Maggie Gyllenhaal of “The Real Thing” received mixed notices. Geneva Carr who plays the distraught mother in “Hand to God” is a dark horse, but she may eke out a nod. Though billed below the title, I hear her producers are petitioning the Tony eligibility committee to consider her as a lead.  Renee Fleming, the operatic star making her dramatic acting debut on Broadway in “Living on Love” might get a nod for novelty’s sake. And Mia Farrow garnered brilliant notices for her brief stint in the short-lived “Love Letters” and since she was the first to play the female lead in that revival’s revolving casts, technically she is eligible for Tony consideration, but was only in the show for less than a month.

There have not been many other strong lead female roles in either new plays or revivals. Patricia Clarkson of “The Elephant Man” has been relegated to the featured actress category, though her role of Mrs. Kendall has won a Tony for Carole Shelley in the leading lady field for the original production in 1978. Likewise, Emmy winners Megan Mullalley and Stockard Channing of “It’s Only a Play” are considered featured performers though they are billed above the title, due to a special ruling by the eligibility committee. Lydia Leonard, Anne Boelyn of “Wolf Hall,” will likely be placed in the featured category as well.

So the odds are the five nominees will be Close, Mirren, Moss, Mulligan, and Wilson. 

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 Actress (Play) 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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