The Olivier Awards 2012 Nominations

Olivier Awards 2012
The Olivier Awards are the most important recognization in Britain for any professional in the theatre. Named after one of the most famous and revered actors of the 20th century, Sir Laurence Olivier, they have been celebrating Britain’s theatrical talents since 1976. Last year, they started a partnership with Mastercard, which will support the main ceremony and the side events taking place on Sunday 15th of April.
I must get past my prejudice about Matilda and go to see it. 10 nominations at the Olivier Awards, the maximum a musical could get, cannot be a coincidence, can they? The second highest number of nominations gained by a musical is 5 gained by Ghost. 5 also by the comedies The Ladykillers and One Man, Two Guvnors. James Corden received one of the latter’s. One name on a long list of stars. What I appreciate about the Olivier Awards, alongside with the category Best New Play sponsored by Mastercard, is how it never turns into a predictable game among stars, no matter how many you can have.
Of course you will have Sheridan Smith nominated somewhere (this year, Best Performance in a Supporting Role for Flare Path), but it’s because she has talent and luck in getting roles which let it shine. It’s not automatic that they will win it, as her competitors are maybe less famous, but as great as she is. I actually think that the award may go to Oliver Chris (One Man, Two Guvnors).
The “Best Actor” category is probably the one with more stars in it, as Jude Law, James Corden and Benedict Cumberbatch (sharing the nomination with Jonny Lee Miller) are competing against each other and David Haig and Douglas Hodge for the award. However, David Tennant and Catherine Tate’s Much Ado About Nothing runs for the Best Revival and Kristin Scott Thomas return to the stage was worth a Best Actress nomination, and she got it. I will be very happy if she also won the award, as she is my favourite actress, but Marcia Warren runs in the same category for her role in The Ladykillers so the competition is hard in that one too.
The Olivier Awards, though, are not only about the actors, or the plays as it looks from my words. And not only about the West End!
One award is dedicated to outstanding achievements in affiliate theatres, and set costume lighting and sound design have their own categories. The two categories dedicated to Opera, which get the public closer to an art that is still considered the theatre for rich middle-aged cultivated people, are something interesting as well. You see the stars from the coloured (well, maybe excluding Imelda Staunton and Michael Ball that are hosting the event this year, and are now in Sweeney Todd the Musical) and popular musicals in the West End, and the opera singers all sitting together, among actors starring in family-oriented productions and some intellectual pieces. Stars and unknown new promises. All together, celebrated by the same event.
I think there are objective reasons if the Olivier Awards are the only event of this kind I care about even without Colin Firth involved, and it’s not that I have a religious-like veneration for the person after whom the awards are named (I have it, but it’s not the reason).
I think the main reason is how talent is celebrated, in the context of an art that has always been the most democratic of all (it was born with democracy).