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'Book of Mormon' stars Josh Gad and Andrew Rannells clash over Tony Award [Video]

MormLet's pray they behave in a Christian manner, those two rascally stars of "Book of Mormon" who are nominated against each other at the Tony Awards for lead actor. Josh Gad and Andrew Rannells are cheeky fellows, as is evident in our video chat below. It's hard to say which one may outfox the other to win.

Of the five experts polled by Gold Derby, one (Harry Haun, Playbill) picked Gad to prevail. The others backed Tony Sheldon ("Priscilla Queen of the Desert"), but most gurus believe it's really a very close neck-and-neck-and-neck race.

Unlike best musical; every Tonys pundit on the planet is betting on "Book of Mormon" to sweep that contest. But there's much suspense over whether or not any of its stars will get to go along for the ride. Over the last 10 years, the lead stars of a winning musical also claimed a Tony Award for their performance 50% of the time: the three little leapers in "Billy Elliot" (2009), John Lloyd Young in "Jersey Boys" (2006), Harvey Fierstein and Marissa Jaret Winokur in "Hairspray" (2003), Sutton Foster in "Thoroughly Modern Millie" (2002) and Nathan Lane in "The Producers" (2001). The other five best musicals all had lead performers nominated, but they lost.

Having two costars in one category does not result in automatic loss because they split the vote. That's a common awards myth. Nathan Lane beat "The Producers" costar Matthew Broderick. Last year, Douglas Hodge won best musical actor over "La Cage aux Folles" costar Kelsey Grammer and Scarlett Johansson won best featured actress in a play over "A View from the Bridge" costar Jessica Hecht.

Of the "Mormon" costars, Gad has the more cartoonish, funny role as an inept, buffoonish missionary trying to convert tribal folk in Uganda to the Church of Latter Day Saints. His role gets all the laughs and moves the story. But Rannells has a much more emotionally etched part as Gad's upright, uptight missionary sidekick. He's got the most lines and most songs, particularly the big anthems that stir the heart. As Tony candidates, they both have strong, equal plusses.

RELATED:

L.A. Times review: 'The Book of Mormon'

Tony Award predictions: Top eight races

-- Tom O'Neil

Photo: "Book of Mormon." Credit: Eugene O'Neill Theatre

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its going to go to Tony Sheldon ("Priscilla Queen of the Desert")- the Mormon boys are good , but not Tony Worthy

Seriously? In 2011 the LA Times is going to call them The Church of Latter Day Saints and pretend they're not being racist? Come on! Taking the name of Jesus Christ out of the title as a discriminatory jab? That's like me "accidentally" referring to them as the Los Times or the Lost Angeles Times. It is seriously that silly. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has Jesus Christ in the title, and while there hasn't always been a hyphen in the Latter-day part, there has been for a long time. The only time a "reputable" news agency eliminates the hyphen is when they're trying to call us polygamists (it's code, y'all wouldn't understand.)



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