The Tony Awards are the biggest night in theater, but they've often struggled to attract viewers who are more interested in TV or movies as their primary source of entertainment. This year, though, they shouldn't have any trouble attracting an audience full of binge-watchers and moviegoers, as the 2014 nominations are filled with familiar faces. Whether you're going through Breaking Bad withdrawal or you haven't been stopped singing the score to Frozen in months or you're just sick of waiting for the final installment of The Hobbit franchise to hit theaters, this year's Tony Awards should cater to all of your interests.
However, it's not all good news for the Hollywood stars who decided to tread the boards this year. Plenty of big name actors were left off the list of nominees, resulting in reactions of shock (Are the Tony voters just not big Harry Potter fans?) and disbelief (No, McKellan and Stewart have to be here somewhere. I'll check again). We've gathered up all of the Tony nominations and snubs for our favorite Hollywood stars into one handy guide, so you'll be ready to place your bets by the time the awards roll around June 8th.
Bryan Cranston We Know Him For: His award winning turn as science teacher turned meth kingpin Walter White on Breaking Bad. He is the one who knocks. Nominated For: Best Leading Actor in a Play for his role as President Lyndon B. Johnson in All the Way Previous Nominations: None This Makes Up For: Being shot full of holes at the end of Breaking Bad; the threat of losing an Emmy to the McConaissance
Chris O'Dowd We Know Him For: Romancing Kristen Wiig in Bridesmaids; providing the world's worst tech support in The I.T. Crowd Nominated For: Best Leading Actor in a Play as the gentle giant Lennie in Of Mice and Men Previous Nominations: None This Makes Up For: That time he had to pretend to be disabled during a disastrous night at the theater
Tony Shalhoub We Know Him For: Playing the obsessive-compulsive detective Adrian Monk on Monk Nominated For: Best Leading Actor in a Play for playing theater icon Moss Hart in Act One Previous Nominations: Two Best Featured Actor in a Play nods: in 1992 for Conversations with My Father and 2013 for Golden Boy This Makes Up For: Years of having to clean up after people in the middle of murder investigations
Tyne Daly We Know Her For: Being one half of the most famous female cop duo on television, Mary Beth Lacey on Cagney and Lacey Nominated For: Best Leading Actress in a Play for her turn as the grieving mother of an AIDS victim in Mothers and Sons Previous Nominations/Wins: One Best Leading Actress in a Musical win for 1989's Gypsy and one 2006 Best Featured Actress in a Play nomination for Rabbit Hole This Makes Up For: Not immediately being offered a guest star stint on Brooklyn Nine-Nine. Come on, one of Terry's twins is named after her!
Neil Patrick Harris We Know Him For: Playing the legen - wait for it! - dary Barney Stinson on How I Met Your MotherNominated For: Best Leading Actor in a Musical for his in-your-face performance in Hedwig and the Angry Inch Previous Nominations: None, but he did host the awards four times. This Makes Up For: That disaster of a How I Met Your Mother series finale. Kind of.
Sutton Foster We Know Her For: Starring in the cult ABC Family hit show Bunheads, playing Brett’s sign-flipping girlfriend Coco on Flight of the Concords Nominated For: Best Leading Actress in a Musical for her role as Violet, a Southern girl travelling to get televangelist to heal her terrible scars in Violet Previous Nominations/Wins: Three nominations and two wins, both for Best Leading Actress in a Musical for 2002's Throughly Modern Millie and 2011's Anything Goes This Makes Up For: The fact that Bunheads was cancelled far too soon. They will never take Khaleesi's dragons!
Idina Menzel We Know Her For: Voicing Elsa in Frozen, playing Rachel Berry's birth mother, Shelby Corcoran on Glee, her alter ego, Adele Dazeem Nominated For: Best Leading Actress in a Musical for playing Elizabeth, a woman struggling with the different paths her life could take in If/Then Previous Nominations/Wins: One nomination in 1996 for Rent and one win for playing Elphaba in 2004's Wicked This Makes Up For: John Travolta's Oscars flub; everyone having "Let It Go" stuck in our heads for the past six, long months
Stephen Fry We Know Him For: Making up one half of Fry and Laurie, starring in Jeeves and Wooster and Blackadder, being an international treasure Nominated For: Best Featured Actor in a Play for his turn as the pompous, scheming servant Malvolio in Twelfth Night Previous Nominations: Best Book of a Musical in 1987 for Me and My Girl This Makes Up For: Playing the least intimidating villain in The Hobbit films. At least Smaug can breathe fire!
Anika Noni Rose We Know Her For: Voicing Tiana, the first black Disney princess in The Princess and the Frog, holding her own opposite Beyoncé and Jennifer Hudson in Dreamgirls Nominated For: Best Featured Actress in a Play for her performance as Beneatha, the activist sister of Walter Younger in A Raisin in the Sun Previous Nominations/Wins: A Best Featured Actress in a Musical win for Caroline, or Change in 2004 This Makes Up For: Having her two most famous characters overshadowed by Beyonce and Adele Dazeem
Daniel Radcliffe We Know Him For: Playing the most famous and most beloved boy wizard of all time, Harry Potter Snubbed For: Best Leading Actor in a Play for his hilarious and heartbreaking performance as Billy, a crippled Irish boy in The Cripple of Inishmaan At Least He's Got: An encyclopedic knowledge of spells and hexes with which to enact revenge
Denzel WashingtonWe Know Him For: His Oscar winning performances in Glory and Training Day, being one of the biggest movie stars in the world Snubbed For: Best Leading Actor in a Play for his take on the iconic role of Walter Younger in A Raisin in the Sun At Least He's Got: His devastating looks to fall back on.
James Franco We Know Him For: His Oscar-nominated performance in 127 Hours, his lackluster Oscar hosting gig, the dreads and grills he rocked in Spring Breakers, being the older brother of Dave Franco Snubbed For: Best Leading Actor in a Play for his role as George in Of Mice and Men At Least He's Got: About 50 other slightly pretentious artistic endeavors he can distract himself with
Zach Braff We Know Him For: Playing the goofy daydreamer JD on Scrubs, making Garden State, the movie everyone loves to hate Snubbed For: Best Leading Actor in a Musical for playing playwright David Shayne in Woody Allen's Bullets Over Broadway At Least He's Got: One of the cutest celebrity friendships ever with Donald Faison to comfort him in his time of need
Zachary Quinto We Know Him As: Murderous Sylar on Heroes, the rebooted version of Spock in Star Trek Snubbed For: Best Leading Actor in a Play for his interpretation of Tom Wingfield in The Glass Menagerie At Least He's Got: A new Star Trek movie coming up to keep him busy
Ian McKellan We Know Him For: Playing two of the most iconic and nerdy characters of all time: Magneto and Gandalf Snubbed For: Best Leading Actor in a Play for both No Man's Land and Waiting For Godot, which ran in rep at the Cort Theater At Least He's Got: Many more exciting New York adventures with Patrick Stewart to cheer him up
Patrick Stewart We Know Him For: Playing two of the most iconic and nerdy characters of all time: Professor X and Captain Jean Luc Picard Snubbed For: Best Leading Actor in a Play for both No Man's Land and Waiting for Godot, which he starred in opposite McKellan At Least He's Got: Many more adorable New York adventures with Ian McKellan to cheer him up
Michelle Williams We Know Her For: Her Oscar nominated performances in Brokeback Mountain, Blue Valentine and My Week With Marilyn, playing bad girl with a heart of gold, Jen Lindley, on Dawson's Creek Snubbed For: Best Leading Actress in a Musical for her Broadway debut as Sally Bowles in Cabaret At Least She's Got: Those Dawson's Creek residual checks to make up for it.
Paramount Pictures via Everett Collection
Here's a feat: taking what is likely the oldest, most well-known story in the world, and making a retelling feel inventive. Over the course of its two-and-a-half-hour runtime, Darren Aronofsky's Noah takes many forms — Tolkien-esque fantasy, trippy psychological thriller, merciless dissection of the dark points of abject faith — never feeling too rigidly confined to the parameters of the familiar tale that we've all experienced in the form of bedtime stories, religious education lessons, and vegetable-laden cartoons. As many forms as the parable has taken over the past few thousand years, Aronofsky manages to find a few new takes.
The director's thumbprint is branded boldly on Russell Crowe's Noah, a man who begins his journey as a simple pawn of God and evolves into a dimensional human as tortured as Natalie Portman's ballerina or Jared Leto's smack head. Noah's obsession and crisis: his faith. The peak of the righteous descendant of Seth (that's Adam and Eve's third son — the one who didn't die or bash his brother's head in with a rock), Noah is determined to carry out the heavenly mission imparted upon him via ambiguous, psychedelic visions. God wants him to do something — spoilers: build an ark — and he will do it. No matter what.
No matter what it means to his family, to his lineage, to his fellow man, to the world. He's going to do it. No matter what. The depths to which Aronofsky explores this simple concept — the nature of unmitigated devotion — makes what we all knew as a simplistic A-to-B children's story so gripping. While the throughline is not a far cry from the themes explored in his previous works, the application of his Requiem for a Dream, The Wrestler, and Black Swan ideas in this movie does not feel like a rehashing. Experiencing such modern, humane ideas in biblical epic is, in fact, a thrill-ride.
Paramount Pictures via Everett Collection
Although Aronofsky accesses some highly guttural stuff inside of his title character, he lets whimsy and imagination take hold of the world outside of him. Jumping headfirst into the fantastical, the director lines his magical realm with rock monsters — "Watcher" angels encased in Earth-anchored prisons as punishment for their betrayal of God — and a variety of fauna that range in innovation from your traditional white dove to some kind of horned, scaled dog bastardization.
But the most winning elements of Noah, and easily the most surprising, come when Aronofsky goes cosmic. He jumps beyond the literal to send us coursing through eons to watch the creation of God's universe, matter exploding from oblivion, a line of creatures evolving (in earnest) into one another as the planet progresses to the point at which we meet our tortured seafarer. Aronofsky's imagination, his aptitude as a cinematic magician, peak (not just in terms of the film, but in terms of his career) in these scenes.
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With all this propped against the stark humanity of his story — not just in terms of Crowe's existential spiral, but in character beats like grandfather Methuselah's relationship with the youngsters, in little Ham's playful teasing of his new rock monster pet — Aronofsky manages something we never could have anticipated from Noah. It's scientific, cathartic, humane. Impressively, this age-old tale, here, is new. And beyond that feat, it's a pretty winning spin.
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I know, that headline is trouble. You're always treading dangerous ground when you insist on defining what makes a good this or the right kind of that, as if there is no room for change or improvement when it comes to classic properties. Of course there is — Jason Segel's 2011 Muppet film approached the concept from an entirely different direction. It didn't hit all of its marks, but it prevailed overall in its conceit: make a movie not about Muppets, but about Muppet fandom. But Muppets Most Wanted, in absence of a clear mission statement and fueled largely by the monetary glimmers of the sequel game (the film's opening number admits this outright), has fewer marks readily available to hit. Landing in the ambiguity between the classic Muppet adventure formula and Segel's post-modern Henson appreciation party, Most Wanted feels like a failure on both counts. It doesn't know which kind of movie it wants to, or should, be. So it doesn't really be anything.
On the one hand, there's the half-cocked "get-the-band-back-together" through line, mimicking but not quite accomplishing the spirit of the 2011 picture. None of the Muppets are particularly likable or charming in this turn, and even fewer of them actually given anything to do. Kermit loses his s**t in the first act after a spat with Piggy and a barrage of insubordination from his troupe (provoked by the nefarious Dominic Badguy, Ricky Gervais), storms off in a huff, and gets swept up in a case of mistaken identity when his criminal doppelganger Constantine pulls the old switcheroo, landing Kermit in a Russian gulag. You'd think this would be a good opportunity for the second tier of Muppet favorites — Piggy, Fozzy, Gonzo, Scooter, Rowlf, et al — to go on a search and rescue... but save for a very brief sequence at the tail end of this achingly long film, none of the other Muppets are giving anything to do. They just hem and haw and perform the occasional "Indoor Running of the Bulls" while Dominic and Constantine scheme, rob banks, and bicker.
Meanwhile, Kermit has some fun in prison — a far more endearing plot that sees him befriending the merry convicts, organizing a penitentiary revue, and even winning the heart of the vicious warden Nadia (Tina Fey). If only we could spend more time with real Kermit and less time with fake Kermit and his second banana Gervais, an effectively boring pair.
On the other hand, though, there's the Muppet shtick that fans of The Great Muppet Caper and Muppet Treasure Island — and yes, The Muppet Show itself — will deem the movie's best material: CIA Agent Sam Eagle and Interpol Agent Jean Pierre Napoleon (Ty Burrell) hot on the trail of Constantine and Dominic. Here, we get a different type of Muppet movie entirely from what Segel and the A-plot in Most Wanted are opting: the old fashioned vaudeville act, with Sam standing as an independent entity from his googly-eyed brethren, on a goofy, musical prowl with Burrell that fuels the film with its best and most consistent chuckles. Their "Interrogation Song" number is outstanding, exemplifying the many talents of Flight of the Conchords' Bret McKenzie, who wrote all the music for this and the previous film.
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Unfortunately, Muppets Most Wanted isn't sure that it wants to be The Great Muppet Caper, beheld so stubbornly to its Segelian roots. There's a palpable compulsion to stick with this agonizingly self-aware, nostalgia-crazy, brimming-beacons-of-the-past-in-a-callous-today theme that doesn't work a fraction as well as it did in the 2011 film. Without a legitimate celebration of any of our favorite characters, how could it? With so much going on in this movie, and such a lengthy runtime at just under two hours, it's a sure sign of failure that we walk away feeling like we spent barely any time with the Muppets.
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Rockers The Replacements hit the stage at the Riot Fest in Toronto, Canada on Sunday (25Aug14) for their first show in over 20 years. Frontman Paul Westerberg joked about the time between gigs during the band's headlining set, stating, "Sorry we took so long, we've been having a wardrobe debate - it was unresolved."
Westerberg and bassist Tommy Stinson were joined onstage by drummer Josh Freese and Dave Minehan on guitar for their first concert since an Independence Day gig in Chicago, Illinois in 1991.
The duo and their new bandmates will return to that city for the next Riot Fest show on 15 September (13) and they'll also perform in Denver, Colorado on 21 September (13).
Westerberg and Stinson reunited last year (12) to record the EP Songs for Slim in an effort to raise funds to help pay for former Replacements guitarist Slim Dunlap's medical fees after he suffered a massive stroke in 2012.
Neil Patrick Harris is a fantastic awards show host. Just ask the TV Land Awards, the Spike Video Game Awards, and the 2009 Tony Awards -- the guy sure has some serious range. Now, he's been asked to the Tonys this year and provide some of his infectious awesomeness to that stage.
As great as he is, I'm not sure that's the only reason CBS chose the actor as their host. Harris is also known as Barney Stinson to fans of CBS' How I Met Your Mother, which, if ratings are any indication, include a huge chunk of the country. Even so, we know he's going to give us a good show. Here's a look at what he gave us a few years ago in addition to his biting Broadway digs.