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Category: War Horse

Watch 'War Horse' trot into the Oscar derby

Just two weeks after "War Horse" swept the Tony Awards, we get the first view of the movie adaptation as it trots into the Oscar derby.

The trailer reveals scenes of heightened visual drama not possible on the Broadway stage as a farm boy pursues his beloved horse through fiery battles in World War I. On stage, the conflict is represented merely by flashing stage lights and audio of combat sounds, but on screen, director Steven Spielberg adds the same military spectacle he used in "Saving Private Ryan," which earned him an Oscar as best director of 1998.

Spielberg also won an Oscar for directing "Schindler's List," which won best picture of 1993. He last helmed a "serious" film with "Munich" (2005), which earned him an Oscar nomination. The last time he competed as a producer of a best picture contender was 2006 ("Letters from Iwo Jima"). This year Spielberg could nab two nominations for best picture if his "Adventures of Tintin" also makes the cut. Next year, he'll compete with "Lincoln."

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'War Horse' makes dashes for Tonys and Oscars

-- Tom O'Neil


Tony Award predictions: Top eight races

War Horse Book of Mormon NewsBelow are my Tonys predix for the top categories. See more here -– plus how they all stack up against the predix of four other experts.

-- Tom O'Neil

BEST MUSICAL
X - "The Book of Mormon"
"Catch Me if You Can"
"The Scottsboro Boys"
"Sister Act"

Not even divine intervention can stop "Mormon" from winning. It's Broadway's hottest show -– both critically and commercially -– and it deserves to win by a mile.

BEST PLAY
"Good People"
"Jerusalem"
"The Mother ... With the Hat"
X - "War Horse"

"War Horse" is favored because of its impressive stagecraft. Its horse puppets are amazing, but, granted, the play itself is a bit thin as a literary property. Thus, some pundits say "Good People" can pull off an upset, but I don't agree.

BEST REVIVAL OF A MUSICAL
X - "Anything Goes"
"How to Succeed in Business without Really Trying"

"Succeed" is charming and lots of fun, but "Anything Goes" has more critical cachet.

BEST REVIVAL OF A PLAY
"Arcadia"
"The Importance of Being Earnest"
"The Merchant of Venice"
X - "The Normal Heart"

No contest. The long-overdue arrival on Broadway of the trailblazing AIDS drama "Normal Heart" makes it a major theater event, all the more so because of its cast, which includes Joe Mantello and Jim Parsons.

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE IN A PLAY
Brian Bedford, "The Importance of Being Earnest"
Bobby Cannavale, "The Mother ... With the Hat"
X - Joe Mantello, "The Normal Heart"
Al Pacino, "The Merchant of Venice"
Mark Rylance, "Jerusalem"

Rylance won all of the critics' laurels in London for this role and he wowed Broadway audiences earlier this year with his comedic chops when he starred in "La Bete," but I think Tony voters will opt for a Yankee star. Mantello is Broadway royalty as a director and performer and this is his hour.

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE IN A PLAY
Nina Arianda, "Born Yesterday"
X - Frances McDormand, "Good People"
Lily Rabe, "The Merchant of Venice"
Vanessa Redgrave, "Driving Miss Daisy"
Hannah Yelland, "Brief Encounter"

It's a three-way toss-up between Arianda, McDormand and Rabe. I'm betting on McDormand because of her Oscar pedigree. Furthermore, if voters go for "War Horse" for best play, as I think they will, they'll want to give "Good People" a consolation prize.

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'War Horse' makes dashes for Tonys and Oscars

War Horse

"War Horse" is about to become that rare contender that gallops into two award derbies in one year: the Tonys and Oscars.

Tuesday marks the first preview performance of the stage drama about a boy who risks the dangers of World War I to rescue his horse that's been hauled off to serve in the cavalry. It opens on Broadway at the Vivian Beaumont Theater on April 14. On Dec. 28, a film version produced and directed by Oscar magnet Steven Spielberg debuts in movie houses, certain to be a major Oscars contender. "War Horse" is the first "serious" (nonblockbuster) movie that Spielberg has directed since "Munich," which was nominated for best picture of 2005.

The innovative stage production of "War Horse," which mixes actors with puppeteers, originated in 2007 at the National Theatre in London, where it won the Evening Standard, Critics' Circle and Laurence Olivier awards for set design, plus an Olivier Award for choreography. Clearly, it's now being positioned for awards on this side of the Atlantic.

Nick Stafford's adaptation of the book by Michael Morpurgo is being co-produced on Broadway by the National Theatre in league with Lincoln Center. Both the U.K. and U.S. productions are directed by Marianne Elliott and Tom Morris, with "horse choreography" by Toby Sedgwick.

Below, a preview of the West End production. Above, a photo of the film version.

-- Tom O'Neil

Photo: Jeremy Irvine in "War Horse" (DreamWorks)



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