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‘Dog In The Night-Time’ earns 8 nods Mirren shortlisted for British stage awards

LONDON, March 26, (RTRS): A stage version of a novel about a boy with behavioural difficulties is the frontrunner for Britain’s top theatre prizes with eight Olivier Award nominations, while actress Helen Mirren was shortlisted for reprising her role as Queen Elizabeth. “The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-Time,” a play based on Mark Haddon’s 2003 award-winning novel of the same title, opened at the National Theatre in London in 2012 and transferred to London’s West End theatre district this year.
Organisers of the awards said its nominations included Best New Play, Best Director, Best Actor for Luke Treadaway, Best Actress in a Supporting Role, as well as best lighting, sound, and set design, and Best Theatre Choreographer. The new musical, “Top Hat,” based on the film starring Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers, received the second most nominations, put forward in seven categories.

The West End transfer of a revival of the musical “Sweeney Todd” about the demon barber of Fleet Street received six nominations while “The Audience” starring Mirren as the Queen and musical “Kiss Me, Kate” received five each. Mirren, 67, was nominated for Best Actress after playing Queen Elizabeth II for a second time. She won a Best Actress Oscar in 2007 for her performance in the film “The Queen”. She is up against another renowned British actress, Kristin Scott Thomas, 52, for her role in “Old Times”. Also vying for the top female award are singer-turned-actress Billy Piper in “The Effect” and Hattie Morahan in “A Doll’s House”. Rupert Everett, was nominated for Best Actor for “The Judas Kiss” competing alongside James McAvoy for “Macbeth”, Mark Rylance for “Twelfth Night”, Rafe Spall for “Constellations,” and Treadaway.

“Congratulations to all of this year’s Olivier Award nominees whose incredible talents contributed to a record-breaking year for London Theatre,” Mark Rubinstein, president of the Society of London Theatre (SOLT), said in a statement. London theatres have enjoyed a ninth successive year of record box office in 2012 with SOLT figures showing they earned 530 million pounds ($830 million) last year, a marginal rise on 2011, when attendance nudged up to 14 million.


The winners of the Olivier Awards, set up in 1976, will be announced at a ceremony at the Royal Opera House on April 28. Following is a list of the main nominations:
* Best New Play: Constellations; The Audience; The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-Time; This House
* Best New Musical: Loserville; Soul Sister; The Bodyguard; Top Hat
* Best Actor: Rupert Everett/The Judas Kiss; James McAvoy/ Macbeth; Mark Rylance/Twelfth Night; Rafe Spall/Constellations; Luke Treadaway/The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-Time
* Best Actress: Helen Mirren/The Audience; Hattie Morahan/A Doll’s House; Billie Piper/The Effect; Kristin Scott Thomas/Old Times
* Best Director: Stephen Daldry/The Audience; Marianne Elliott/The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-Time; Jeremy Herrin/This House; Simon McBurney/The Master And Margarita
* Best Actor in a Musical: Michael Ball/Sweeney Todd; Alex Bourne/Kiss Me, Kate; Tom Chambers/Top Hat; Will Young/Cabaret
* Best Actress in a Musical: Heather Headley/The Bodyguard; Imelda Staunton/Sweeney Todd; Summer Strallen/Top Hat; Hannah Waddingham/Kiss Me, Kate
* Best Entertainment and Family: Cinderella; Goodnight Mister Tom; Hansel And Gretel; Room On The Broom.

British actress Helen Mirren has chided filmmaker Sam Mendes for failing to mention any women as influences during an acceptance speech at a British awards ceremony, a thorny issue after no women filmmakers were nominated for an Oscar this year. Mendes, picking up Empire awards for best director and best film for the James Bond movie “Skyfall” as well as the annual Inspiration Award, cited Paul Thomas Anderson, Francois Truffaut, Martin Scorsese and Ingmar Bergman as his influences. His all-male list prompted Mirren, after collecting the Empire Legend Award, to express her disappointment that Mendes had no women directors in his list and that women were still not being recognised for their role in the film industry.

Mirren, 67, said the movie industry was “a really blokey world” when she started out more than 40 years ago and films sets were dominated by men. “But nowadays that’s really changed and it’s fantastic to see women and girls in the lighting department, cinematography, in the sound department, obviously in producing and writing,” she said. “I hope and pray and I know that in five or 10 years time that when the next Sam gets up and makes his or her speech there will be two or three or four or five women’s names there. Go girls!” she told a cheering crowd.

So far only one woman filmmaker has won the Oscar for Best Director — Kathryn Bigelow in 2010 for “The Hurt Locker”. Bigelow was only the fourth woman to be nominated for a Best Director Oscar after Lina Wertmuller for “Seven Beauties” in 1976, Jane Campion for “The Piano” in 1993, and Sofia Coppola for “Lost in Translation” in 2003. This year there were no women among the five nominees for the Best Director award which went to Taiwan-born Ang Lee for “Life of Pi”. Figures from the Center for the Study of Women in Television and Film at San Diego State University released in January showed that women still lag far behind men in reaching the top jobs in the film business. Only nine percent of directors of the top 250 grossing Hollywood films in 2012 were women, the same as 15 years ago.

The survey also found that in 2012, women made up 18 percent of directors, executive producers, producers, writers, cinematographers, and editors working on the top 250 US grossing films. This was unchanged from 2011 and an increase of 1 percentage point from 1998. In other Empire awards, which are voted for by the public, Martin Freeman won Best Actor for “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey,” which was also named best sci-fi/fantasy. Best actress went to “The Hunger Games” actress Jennifer Lawrence, who won the Oscar for lead female this year for her role in the quirky romance “Silver Linings Playbook”. “Harry Potter” star Daniel Radcliffe was named the year’s Empire Hero while his film “The Woman In Black” won the award for best horror.

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