Gold Derby Executive Editor Paul Sheehan reaped the highest score (89%) among the 10 experts predicting Tony Award nominations at Gold Derby.
Third place (82 %): Harry Haun (Playbill) and Tom O’Neil (Gold Derby).
Matt Windman (amNY) and David Sheward landed in fourth place (79%). Andy Humm (Gay USA) reaped 67%.
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Sheehan’s most impressive prediction was that “Shuffle Along” star Audra McDonald – who holds the record for most Tony Award victories (6) — would not get nominated. “I left her off my list for several reasons,” Sheehan says. “I gave her spot to Carmen Cusack, who’d been with ‘Bright Star’ since it was work-shopped. Cusack is a theater veteran who’d been waiting in the wings for the spotlight. Also, I omitted McDonald because ‘Shuffle Along’ opened to so-so reviews after a troubled preview period. Furthermore, when the show opened, I think voters may have bristled when they heard that McDonald didn’t plan to stick with the production – that she planned to take a few months off to do ‘Lady Day’ in London. Lastly, maybe there was a sense among voters who thought, ‘We’re not going to nominate her for just anything.'”
Sheehan’s one mistake was predicting Nicola Walker (“View from the Bridge”) would be nominated for Best Actress in a Play even though he suspected she didn’t belong in that category. “Nicola Miller isn’t necessarily a lead, but I thought she’d get swept along with the show.”
Instead, Laurie Metcalf (“Misery”) snuck in, which didn’t surprise Sheehan. “Every time she’s been nominated in the past, Metcalf was the only nominee for her show and now she did it again for ‘Misery.’ The various incarnations of the nominating committee really like her.”