The Olivier Awards -- Britain's equivalent of the Tony Awards -- announced nominations for the 34th edition of the kudos Monday. Topping the list of acting nominees is Oscar champ Rachel Weisz ("The Constant Gardener") for her work as Blanche DuBois in a revival of "A Streetcar Named Desire." Weisz -- who has already won the precursor Evening Standard and Critics Choice awards -- faces off against competition that includes Emmy winner Gillian Anderson ("The X-Files") for a revival of "A Doll's House," also at the Donmar Warehouse.
That nonprofit theater company received 10 nominations for five productions, including a best actor bid by Jude Law for "Hamlet." Law -- who picked up the best Shakespearean performance prize at the Critics Choice Awards -- contends against, among others, two-time Tony champ James Earl Jones ("The Great White Hope," "Fences") in a revival of "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof" and Tony winner Mark Rylance ("Boeing-Boeing") -- who also won the Critics Choice -- for "Jerusalem."
That new work by Jez Butterworth earned six nominations for the Royal Court, as did "Enron." Both vie for best play against "The Mountaintop." Unlike the Tonys, the Oliviers have a separate category for best comedy, and Butterworth has a bid there as well with "Parlour Song." The other nominees are "Calendar Girls," "England People Very Nice" and "The Priory."
Both of the Tennessee Williams works -- "Streetcar" and "Cat" -- contend in the play revival race that also includes "Arcadia," "The Misanthrope," "Three Days of Rain" and "A View From the Bridge." One-time "Atonement" co-stars Keira Knightley and James McAvoy earned nods for their appearances in "Misanthrope" and "Three Days," respectively.
Many Olivier winners have crossed the Atlantic in the past -- such as last season's Tony champs "God of Carnage" and "Billy Elliot." This year's crop of Olivier contenders includes one top Tony Award winner -- 2007 best musical "Spring Awakening," which leads with six nominations. Also up for the new-musical Olivier are two tuners based on movies -- "Priscilla Queen of the Desert" and "Sister Act" -- as well as "Dreamboats and Petticoats."
Unlike the Tony Awards -- with several dozen members of a committee setting the slate and then almost 700 voters choosing the champs -- the Olivier Awards nominees are decided by the membership of the Society of London Theatres as a whole, and the winners are determined by five theater professionals and eight members of the public. Winners will be announced March 21 at a Grosvenor House ceremony.
The full list of nominations can be found at the Society of London Theatres website.
Photo: Olivier Awards. Credit: Society of London Theatres