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Revealed: Why the Tony Awards slapped Daniel Radcliffe

May 3, 2011 |  7:50 am

Daniel Radcliffe Tony Award nominations newsJust one year after the Tony Awards enthusiastically embraced Hollywood stars in an unprecedented fashion, they coldly snubbed a galaxy of Tinseltown celebs when nominations were announced Tuesday. Why?

Best guess: It's a take-back of Broadway's top prize by New Yorkers fed up with last year's invasion of West Coasters.

It's outrageous that Daniel Radcliffe wasn't nominated for best actor in a musical. Hollywood's boy wizard had received rapturous reviews from Entertainment Weekly and USA Today, though the New York Times found him at best to be a "game, engaged" performer, for "How to Succeed in Business without Really Trying," which was nominated for best musical revival. And the role had serious Tonys pedigree: Robert Morse (1962) and Matthew Broderick (1995) won for performing the part in the past.

Also missing from the list of Tony nominees were the following Hollywood film celebs: James Earl Jones ("Driving Miss Daisy"), Kathleen Turner ("High"), Ben Stiller ("House of Blue Leaves") and Robin Williams ("Bengal Tiger in the Baghdad Zoo").

Granted, some famous names made the cut, like Al Pacino ("The Merchant of Venice") and Vanessa Redgrave ("Driving Miss Daisy"), but they were unavoidable. The high-profile omissions mean something and the message, if being read correctly, is fascinating.

Usually, it's tough for film stars to be taken seriously by Tony voters, but Scarlett Johansson ("A View from the Bridge"), Catherine Zeta-Jones ("A Little Night Music"), Denzel Washington ("Fences") all won last year, shocking onlookers. The reason: The Tonys had just changed their voting system, booting out most theater critics from the electorate. In the past, the critics had added a high-brow element to the selection process. Without them, Tony voters got crazily star-struck when picking winners.

But Tony nominees aren't chosen by the whole voting body. They're picked by a select committee of Broadway insiders (see list) who obviously decided to remove the celebrity temptations from this year's nominee list before handing over the final ballot to 700 voters.

If true, that means Radcliffe was denied a shot at this year's Tony simply because too many other film stars won last year.

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-- Tom O'Neil

Photo: Rose Hemingway and Daniel Radcliffe in "How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying." Credit: Ari Mintz

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