Millions of people around the globe tuned in to watch Boyle's $43.2 million (£27 million) spectacular this summer (12), which featured appearances from The Queen, Daniel Craig, Sir Kenneth Branagh and David Beckham and officially kicked off the 2012 London Games.
As well as Boyle, Dame Judi Dench was a big winner, being presented with the Moscow Art Theatre's Golden Seagull award for her contribution to world theatre.
Simon Russell Beale received the Best Actor award for Collaborators while Hattie Morahan picked up Best Actress for her performance in A Doll's House.
Sir Nicholas Hytner was presented with the Best Director award for Timon of Athens and the Lebedev Special award for his dynamic directorship of the National Theatre.
Constellations was named Best Play.
British funnyman James Corden hosted the star-studded event at the Savoy Hotel in the U.K. capital.
Her part as Lotte in the surrealist play, which ran at The Barbican in London earlier this year (12), marks the Australian star's first U.K. stage role in more than 13 years.
She faces competition for the theatre prize from British actresses Dame Eileen Atkins (All That Fall) and Hattie Morahan (A Doll's House) as well as Laurie Metcalf (Long Day's Journey Into Night).
Last year (11), Sheridan Smith saw off competition from Kristin Scott Thomas to scoop the top actress accolade at the annual prizegiving.
Sarah Sands, editor of the London Evening Standard, says, "This year's shortlist serves to remind what is so great about London's theatre - new plays by young writers, classic drama reimagined in the most exciting ways and a host of unforgettable performances."
The winners will be announced at a ceremony hosted by British funnyman James Corden at London's Savoy Hotel on 25 November (12).
Based on the first of Philip Pullman’s bestselling fantasy trilogy The Golden Compass follows along the same lines as the Harry Potter series. It is set in a parallel universe very much like our own but not quite in which there are witches who fly the skies armored ice bears who rule the north and individual animal spirits called "daemons" who are intricately joined to their human counterparts. And of course there is also the whole good vs. evil milieu. The bad guys in this scenario are the Magisterium a group of high-minded intellectuals running the joint who want to control all of humanity by basically eliminating free will. Our heroine is 12-year-old Lyra Belacqua (Dakota Blue Richards) who turns out to be the Magisterium’s greatest threat because she is the child destined to possess the last remaining Golden Compass a truth-telling device. Still with me? Her uncle the scientist Lord Asriel (Daniel Craig) is captured by the Magisterium while a benefactress Mrs. Coulter (Nicole Kidman) takes Lyra under her wing--mind you not for benevolent reasons. Escaping Mrs. Coulter’s clutches Lyra sets out to find her loyal friend who has mysteriously joined the hundreds of children currently disappearing without a trace. Her adventure takes her over sky and ocean to the north and with her band of friends and allies--and the power of the Golden Compass--Lyra will need all her skill and courage to stop the war that’s coming. Whew that’s a tall order to fill for one little girl. But don’t let the little-girl act fool you. As played by the lovely Richards in her debut performance Lyra is one tough cookie seemingly unafraid of the challenges she faces including confronting a 12-foot-tall polar bear charging at her among other things. Much like Daniel Radcliffe before her the plucky actress is quite a find and should The Golden Compass trilogy continue she’ll be an indelible part of it. As will Kidman and Craig as the yin-and-yang parental figures in Lyra’s life--particularly Kidman who doesn’t stretch much but is effective as Mrs. Coulter. The enchanting lady whose daemon is a nasty golden monkey that doesn’t talk (fits the character perfectly) really does have ice water flowing through her veins. Also good are Sam Elliott as Texan aeronaut Lee Scoresby and Eva Green as the ethereal witch Serafina Pekkala. But the character who makes the biggest impression both literally and figuratively is the armored ice bear Iorek Byrnison an exiled prince from his homeland of Svalbard who is looking for a little retribution. As voiced by Ian McKellen (who else?) Iorek is definitely a force to be reckoned with every time he is on screen. His bear-on-bear battle with the reigning Svalbardian king who kicked him out is one of the film’s best moments. Love the character names too. There’s a lot going on in The Golden Compass which might confuse the smaller ones in the audience. Pullman's books are dense much like the Harry Potter series and one must stay pretty focused to follow all the film's plot points--some of which will with any luck make more sense further down the line. And it is also at times hard to stay emotionally involved in the spectacle of it all (the exception is definitely the ice bears). But still if you allow yourself to be immersed in this fantastical purely make-believe world of gadgetry grandeur and austerity much like the worlds of Harry Potter Lord of the Rings and Chronicles of Narnia then you shouldn’t be too disappointed with Golden Compass. Even more amazing is the director who came up with the film’s vision: Chris Weitz best known for helming the little British dramedy About a Boy. Maybe not the first choice but it’s clear the director is passionate about the material as he covers as much ground as possible in the first installment. Probably the most fascinating part are the daemons who are the animal manifestations of their human counterparts interconnected in all ways. Some have smaller domestic animals such as dogs cats mice; some like Lord Asriel have big animals such as snow leopard; some even have insects. It gets your mind wandering about what yours might be.