Laurie Metcalf "The Other Place"
Bette Midler "I'll Eat You Last"
Holland Taylor "Ann"
Cicely Tyson "The Trip to Bountiful"
Sigourney Weaver "Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike"
Other Contenders - Fiona Shaw "The Testament of Mary", Jessica Chastain "The Heiress", Amy Morton "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?", Emilia Clarke "Breakfast at Tiffany's", Scarlett Johansson "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof", Jessica Hect "The Assembled Parties", Katie Holmes "Dead Accountants"
Commentary - A lot of big names, including some that are returning to Broadway after a long absence, populate this category this year, in some big projects. The last time Sigourney Weaver was nominated for a Tony was in 1985 for Hurlyburly. This year, one of the top contenders for Best Play is Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike, and Weaver's star turn is locked and loaded for a second nomination. Laurie Metcalf is a previous nominee as well, with her first nomination coming in 2008 for November. This year in role The Other Place is getting rave reviews, and looks like a strong contender not only for a nomination, but potentially for the win. It is hard to believe that Cicely Tyson has not been on a Broadway Stage since 1983 in the revival of The Corn is Green. It is even harder to believe that in her entire career, she has never been nominated for a Tony Award. Well, after April 30th, that will most likely change, as her raved performance in The Trip to Bountiful looks like a shoo-in. In 1974, Bette Midler won a special Tony, but this year, she looks to finally be in a competition race with her role in I'll Eat You Last. Finally, the last slot is a toss up between three buzzed performances. Jessica Chastain could ride her new found celebrity to a nod in The Heiress, and previous nominee Fiona Shaw is a strong contender for her work in The Testament of Mary. But my guess is that, despite its box office woes, that the writer/star of Ann, the new play about Gov. Ann Richards, Holland Taylor will ride her popularity, and the exposure the show has gotten (including a segment on CBS Sunday Morning) and received her first Tony nomination.