The 2019 Olivier Awards with Mastercard are just around the corner and awards obsessive Shaun Nolan has seen most of the nominees… and most of the shows that he feels have been snubbed. Who does he think will win, and who does he think should?

The Olivier Awards have always been a point of annual excitement for me. I’m very sad that they no longer live stream the ceremony into Covent Garden as that became a wonderful way to soak up the atmosphere with friends, but I still enjoy sitting at home and listening along on the radio instead. I see a lot of London theatre – almost every single show that ends up being eligible for Olivier Award consideration, so following along with awards that I’m so deeply invested in is great fun.

The thing about the Olivier Awards though is that predicting them is so incredibly difficult. Unlike the Oscars, which I’m always reasonably on the money with, gauging where voters are leaning when it comes to London stage shows is incredibly tricky. Sometimes, I have faith in the voting committee and they agree with my opinions it seems (I tweeted in 2016 that Matt Henry and Imelda Staunton had better be nominated and win Olivier Awards for Kinky Boots and Gypsy respectively or else I would eat my own foot… thankfully, they did), but at other times, my pick for the winner isn’t even nominated.

Here are my thoughts and predictions for the 2019 Olivier Awards.

Olivier Awards 2019 Predictions

Come From Away UK Cast

BEST NEW MUSICAL

Will win: Come From Away at the Phoenix Theatre

Should win: Fun Home at the Young Vic/ Come From Away at the Phoenix Theatre

I’m sure I’m not the only one who’s wondering where Heathers: The Musical is on this list of nominees. I definitely didn’t think it was the best musical of the year, but it was superior to Tina: The Tina Turner Musical for sure. Regardless, my picks for Best New Musical would’ve been between Come From Away and Fun Home anyway.

Generally speaking, I believe that the latter is the superior musical, but both of them are constructed in unique and boundary-pushing ways (some would even argue that they’re more music theatre than musical theatre, myself included). But I do think that the momentum is behind Come From Away this year, despite the lukewarm critical reception it got, though I’d be happy to see either of them take home the prize.

The Inheritance cast (image courtesy of Marc Brenner)

BEST NEW PLAY

Will win: The Inheritance at the Young Vic and Noel Coward Theatre

Should win: The Inheritance at the Young Vic and Noel Coward Theatre

 All four nominees for Best New Play this year are especially solid, though if I’d had my way, I would’ve swapped out Misty with the completely snubbed The Humans which played Hampstead Theatre last Autumn and won the Best Play Tony Award before its transfer (and was shortlisted for the Pulitzer Prize for Drama!). The other nominees would’ve been choices of mine as well and while I think The Lehman Trilogy and Sweat were stellar – and I’m very glad that they’re coming back – The Inheritance is a juggernaut and was just as insightful and enjoyable, if not more, when I revisited it in its West End transfer.

Olivier Awards 2019 Predictions

Katharine Parkinson in Home, I’m Darling (image courtesy of Manuel Harlan)

BEST NEW COMEDY

Will win: Home, I’m Darling at the National Theatre – Dorfman and Duke of York’s Theatre

Should win: Home, I’m Darling at the National Theatre – Dorfman and Duke of York’s Theatre

I enjoyed all three of the nominees, but I do think that Nine Night and Home, I’m Darling are in a league of their own when put next to James Graham’s Quiz, which I enjoyed but wouldn’t even necessarily call a comedy. The other two are not only laugh-out-loud hilarious, but incredibly astute at analysing and exploring complex themes and ideas. Nine Night was one of my favourite plays of 2018 and because I had to miss Home, I’m Darling at the National Theatre last year, it’s become my favourite of 2019 so far. I think that both are superb, but for me, Home, I’m Darling has refused to leave my mind ever since.

Olivier Awards 2019 Predictions

Patsy Ferran & Matthew Needham in Summer & Smoke

BEST REVIVAL (PLAY)

Will win: Summer and Smoke at the Almeida Theatre and Duke of York’s Theatre

Should win: Summer and Smoke at the Almeida Theatre and Duke of York’s Theatre

Looking back, I’m not particularly overwhelmed by the revivals we were given over the past year, but the only one that did stand out to me is nominated here: Summer and Smoke, the assumed-to-be Tennesse Williams trouble play that director Rebecca Frecknall reimagined and reinvigorated at the Almeida Theatre and then in the West End last year. The production was incredible on all levels, from design to performance, and is another show that I find myself thinking about on the regular. I also enjoyed the other nominees, particularly The Lieutenant of Inishmore at the Noel Coward Theatre, but the production had nothing new to say or do and therefore isn’t as strong as Summer & Smoke in my eyes.

Olivier Awards 2019 Predictions

The cast of Company

BEST MUSICAL REVIVAL

Will win: Company at the Gielgud Theatre

Should win: Company at the Gielgud Theatre 

Stephen Sondheim’s Company is my favourite musical of all-time and while I’m not 100% in love with this new re-imagined Marianne Elliot production, I am 90% in love with it, which is enough for me to think it should win. I loved fellow nominees Caroline, or Change and The King and I, but neither did anything more than restage the original production. In an age of auteur and visionary theatre directors, to win an award for Best Revival now does, in my mind, mean that the production should be something new and different from the original. Summer and Smoke managed this for plays, and Company for musicals. And both directed by fantastic women, might I add!

 

BEST DIRECTOR

Will win: Marianne Elliot for Company at the Gielgud Theatre

Should win: Literally any of them

I don’t have much to say about this one because like I said above, I really think that anyone could win this award and I’d be happy. In fact, this category is such an embarrassment of riches that I’d like all of the nominees to take an award home in one big massive tie: Christopher Ashley for Come From Away, Stephen Daldry for The InheritanceRebecca Frecknall for Summer And Smoke, Sam Mendes for The Lehman Trilogy and Marianne. The five shows that they staged all blew me away and were unique, powerful and demonstrated the form of theatre beautifully. A fantastic bunch of nominees pulled together by the voting committee.

 

BEST ACTOR (PLAY)

Will win: Ian McKellan for King Lear at the Duke of York’s Theatre

Should win: Kyle Soller for The Inheritance at the Young Vic and Noel Coward Theatre

 

BEST ACTRESS (PLAY)

Will win: Sophie Okonedo for Antony and Cleopatra at the National Theatre – Olivier

Should win: Patsy Ferran for Summer and Smoke at the Almeida Theatre and the Duke of York’s Theatre

Zubin Varla and cast in Fun Home (image courtesy of Marc Brenner)

BEST ACTOR IN A MUSICAL

Will win: Zubin Varla for Fun Home at the Young Vic

Should win: Zubin Varla for Fun Home at the Young Vic

 

BEST ACTRESS IN A MUSICAL

Will win: Rosalie Craig for Company at the Gielgud Theatre

Should win: Sharon D. Clarke for Caroline, or Change at the Playhouse Theatre

 

BEST ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE (PLAY)

Will win: Vanessa Redgrave for The Inheritance at the Young Vic and Noel Coward Theatre

Should win: Monica Dolan for All About Eve at the Noel Coward Theatre

 

BEST ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE (PLAY)

Will win: Chris Walley for The Lieutenant of Inishmore at the Noel Coward Theatre

Should win: Chris Walley for The Lieutenant of Inishmore at the Noel Coward Theatre

Olivier Awards 2019 Predictions

The Queens of Six

BEST ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE IN A MUSICAL

Will win: Ruthie Ann Miles for The King and I at the London Palladium

Should win: “The Queens” – Aimie Atkinson, Alexia McIntosh, Millie O’Connell, Natalie Paris, Maiya Quansah-Breed and Jarneia Richard-Noel for Six at the Arts Theatre

 

BEST ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE IN A MUSICAL

Will win: Jonathan Bailey for Company at the Gielgud Theatre

Should win: Jonathan Bailey for Company at the Gielgud Theatre

 

OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT IN MUSIC

Will win: Come From Away (Book, Music and Lyrics by David Hein and Irene Sankoff; Music Supervisor, Arrangements by Ian Eisendrath; Orchestrations by August Eriksmoen; Musical Director/ UK Music Supervision by Alan Berry, and the band of Come from Away)

Should win: Come From Away/ Fun Home (Music by Jeanine Tesori, Lyrics by Lisa Kron)

 

BEST SET DESIGN

Should win: Anna Fleischle for Home, I’m Darling at the National Theatre – Dorfman and the Duke of York’s Theatre

 

BEST COSTUME DESIGN

Should win: Catherine Zuber for The King and I at the London Palladium

Olivier Awards 2019 Predictions

Simon Russell Beale, Adam Godley & Ben Miles (image courtesy of Mark Douet)

BEST SOUND DESIGN

Should win: Nick Powell and Dominic Bilkey for The Lehman Trilogy at the National Theatre – Lyttelton

 

BEST LIGHTING DESIGN

Should win: Jon Clark for The Inheritance at the Young Vic and Noel Coward Theatre

 

BEST THEATRE CHOREOGRAPHER

Should win: Kelly Devine for Come From Away at the Phoenix Theatre

 

BEST ENTERTAINMENT & FAMILY

Should win: A Monster Calls at The Old Vic

 

The 43rd Annual Olivier Awards take place on 7 April 2019. For more information or to buy tickets, please visit the venue website.