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If nominated, Daniel Radcliffe could have won the Tony Award

May 4, 2011 |  8:10 am

Daniel Radcliffe Tony Awards Tonys news

Many leading Broadway pundits believe Daniel Radcliffe could have won the Tony Award for best musical actor if he'd been nominated for "How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying."

Sound crazy? Not when you examine how Tony voting works. The group of people who choose winners is not the same as the one that picks nominees. Nominations are selected by 30 members of a committee who had an agenda that may not have been shared by the 700 voters who pick winners.

Melissa Bernardo of Entertainment Weekly describes that agenda as "the 'Give the Tonys back to Broadway' backlash that ensued after Denzel Washington, Catherine Zeta-Jones, and Scarlett Johansson took home trophies in 2010."

If the committee hadn't blocked Radcliffe just because he's another Hollywood superstar, Bernardo believes "Radcliffe was poised to win the leading actor in a musical Tony — just as previous J. Pierrepont Finches Matthew Broderick and Robert Morse had."

Michael Musto of the Village Voice agrees: "If he'd gotten the nomination, he probably would have been the Catherine Zeta-Jones of this year and copped the prize, with Tony Sheldon ('Priscilla, Queen of the Desert') a runner up."

Wayman Wong of the New York Daily News notes that this isn't the first time the Tony nominating committee has snubbed Radcliffe: "They didn't nominate him for ''Equus'' in 2009, either. What a shame. If Radcliffe had been nominated for playing J. Pierrepont Finch, he would've won and gotten one of the biggest standing ovations. Oh, well. He'll have to work his magic on 'How to Succeed' at the Tonys another day, but l hope he never really stops 'Trying.' "

Personally, I agree with the pundits above. However, there's one serious naysayer. Martin Denton (NYTheatre) who claims: "Looks to me like the nominators set up a 'Producers'-style sweep for 'The Book of Mormon' this year; so, I don’t actually think Radcliffe would have won the category."

"The Book of Mormon" scored 14 nominations, which is one less than the record set by "The Producers," which holds the record for most Tony victories (12, in 2001).

-- Tom O'Neil

Photo: Daniel Radcliffe in "How to Succeed in Business without Really Trying." Credit: Al Hirschfeld Theatre