Broadway star Audra Mcdonald made history at the Tony Awards on Sunday night (08Jun14) when she became the most decorated actress on the New York stage. McDonald picked up her sixth Tony for portraying jazz and blues legend Billie Holiday in Lady Day at Emerson's Bar & Grill, putting her ahead of five-time winners Angela Lansbury and the late Julie Harris for the most competitive wins by a Broadway star.
The Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Play win also gave McDonald the first Tony Awards grand slam - she has previously won gold as a best featured actress in a play (A Raisin in the Sun and Master Class), a best lead actress in a musical (The Gershwins' Porgy and Bess) and a best featured actress in a musical (Ragtime and Carousel).
Meanwhile, Breaking Bad star Bryan Cranston was at the beginning of his Tonys journey - he scored Sunday night's Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Play for his New York stage debut as President Lyndon B. Johnson in All The Way, which also picked up the Best Play Tony.
Former Tonys host Neil Patrick Harris was also a first-time winner - he walked away with the Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical for his role as a gender-bending rocker in Hedwig & the Angry Inch.
Accepting his award, the gay star paid tribute to his partner David Burtka, stating, "I love you so much and I am so happy that we got to do this. Thank you for your sacrifices," and his kids Harper and Gideon, adding, "I'm so sorry that I haven't been able to spend as much time with you as I wish I could... I promise that as soon as this is done I'll be able to read books to you and put you to sleep."
The award marked a very special date in his family's history - Harris' parents were celebrating their wedding anniversary.
The actor's Broadway hit was the night's big winner, picking up a total of four awards. Hedwig also claimed the Best Revival of a Musical, Best Lighting and Lena Hall was honoured with the prize for Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Musical.
A Raisin in the Sun and A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder were triple winners.
A Raisin in the Sun claimed Best Revival of a Play, while Brit Sofie Okonedo and Kenny Leon claimed Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Play and Best Direction titles, respectively, and Gentleman's Guide landed awards for Best Musical, Best Costume Design and Best Direction of a Musical (Darko Tresnjak).
The full list of 2014 Tony Awards winners is:
All the Way
A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder
Best Revival of a Play
A Raisin in the Sun
Best Revival of a Musical
Hedwig and the Angry Inch
Best Book of a Musical
A Gentleman's Guide to Love & Murder - Robert L. Freedman
Best Original Score (Music and/or Lyrics) Written for the Theatre
The Bridges of Madison County- Music & Lyrics: Jason Robert Brown
Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Play
Bryan Cranston, All The Way
Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Play
Audra McDonald, Lady Day at Emerson's Bar & Grill
Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical
Neil Patrick Harris, Hedwig and the Angry Inch
Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Musical
Jessie Mueller, Beautiful - The Carole King Musical
Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Play
Mark Rylance (Twelfth Night)
Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Play
Sophie Okonedo, A Raisin in the Sun
Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Musical
James Monroe Iglehart, Aladdin
Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Musical
Lena Hall, Hedwig and the Angry Inch
Best Scenic Design of a Play
Beowulf Boritt, Act One
Best Scenic Design of a Musical
Christopher Barreca, Rocky
Best Costume Design of a Play
Jenny Tiramani, Twelfth Night
Best Costume Design of a Musical
Linda Cho, A Gentleman's Guide to Love & Murder
Best Lighting Design of a Play
Natasha Katz, The Glass Menagerie
Best Lighting Design of a Musical
Kevin Adams, Hedwig and the Angry Inch
Best Sound Design of a Play
Steve Canyon Kennedy, Lady Day at Emerson's Bar & Grill
Best Sound Design of a Musical
Brian Ronan, Beautiful - The Carole King Musical
Best Direction of a Play
Kenny Leon, A Raisin in the Sun
Best Direction of a Musical
Darko Tresnjak, A Gentleman's Guide to Love & Murder
Warren Carlyle, After Midnight
Jason Robert Brown, The Bridges of Madison County
Special Tony Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Theatre - Jane Greenwood (casting designer)
Isabelle Stevenson Award for Humanitarian Efforts - Rosie O'Donnell
Tony Honors for Excellence in the Theatre - Joseph P. Benincasa, Joan Marcus & Charlotte Wilcox
Warner Bros. Pictures via Everett Collection
With only a week and change having passed since the release of The Amazing Spider-Man 2, we no doubt feel the question living fresh in our minds: can we ever judge a remake without considering its predecessors? The conversation about the stark contrast in critical favor between Marc Webb's release and Sam Raimi's trilogy (the second installment of his franchise in particular) buzzed loudly, and we imagine the volume will keep in regards to Gareth Edwards' Godzilla. But it'll be a different sound altogether.
The original Godzilla, a Japanese film released in 1954, reinvented the identity of the monster movie, launched a 30-film legacy, and spoke legions about the political climate of its era. The most recent of these films — Roland Emmerich's 1998 American production — is universally bemoaned as a bigger disaster than anything to befall Tokyo at the hands of the giant reptile. With these two entries likely standing out as the most prominent in the minds of contemporary audiences, Edwards' Godzilla has some long shadows cast before it. And in approaching the new movie, one might not be able to avoid comparisons to either. It's fair — by taking on an existing property, a filmmaker knowingly takes on the connotations of that property. But the 2014 installment's great success is that it isn't much like any Godzilla movie we've seen before. In a great, great way.
This isn't 1954's Godzilla, a dire and occasionally dreary allegory that uses the supernatural to tell an important story about nuclear holocaust. A complete reversal, in fact, first and foremost Edwards' Godzilla is about its monsters. Any grand themes strewn throughout — the perseverence of nature, the follies of mankind, fatherhood, madness, faith — are all in service to the very simple mission to give us some cool, weighty, articulate sci-fi disaster. Elements of gravity are plotted all over the film's surface, with scientists, military men (kudos to Edwards for not going the typical "scientists = good/smart, military = bad/dumb" route in this film — everybody here is at least open to suggestion), doctors, police officers, and a compassionate bus driver all wrestling with options in the face of behemoth danger. The humanity is everpresent, but never especially intrusive. To reiterate, this isn't a film about any of these people, or what they do.
Warner Bros. Pictures via Everett Collection
The closest thing to a helping of thematic (or human) significance comes with Ken Watanabe's Dr. Serizawa, who spouts awe-stricken maxims about cryptozoology, the Earth, and the inevitable powerlessness of man. He might not be supplying anything more substantial than our central heroes (soft-hearted soldier Aaron Taylor-Johnson, dutiful medic and mom Elizabeth Olsen, right-all-along conspiracy theorist Bryan Cranston), but Watanabe's bonkers performance as the harried scientist is so bizarrely good that you might actually believe, for a scene or two, that it all does mean something.
Ultimately, the beauty of our latest taste of Godzilla lies not in the commitment to a message that made the original so important nor in the commitment to levity that made Emmerich's so pointless, but in its commitment to imagination. Edwards' creature design is dazzling, his deus ex machina are riveting, and the ultimate payoff to which he treats his audience is the sort of gangbusters crowd-pleaser that your average contemporary monster movie is too afraid to consider.
In fairness, this year's Godzilla might not be considered an adequate remake, not quite reciprocating the ideals, tone, or importance of the original. Sure, anyone looking for a 2014 answer to 1954's game-changing paragon will find sincere philosophy traded for pulsing adventure... but they'd have a hard time ignoring the emphatic charm of this new lens for the 60-year-old lizard, both a highly original composition and a tribute in its way to the very history of monster movies (a history that owes so much to the creature in question). So does Godzilla '14 successfully fill the shoes of Godzilla '54? No — it rips them apart and dons a totally new pair... though it still has a lot of nice things to say about the first kicks.
Oh, and the '98 Godzilla? Yeah, it's better than that.
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Noted Broadway industry veterans Joe Benincasa, Charlotte Wilcox and photographer Joan Marcus are set to receive Tony Honors for Excellence in the Theater in recognition of their career achievements, according to The Hollywood Reporter. The trio will be feted at a special gala on 2 June (14), days before the 68th Annual Tony Awards takes place in New York on 8 June (14). The nominations for the main Tonys will be announced on 29 April (14).