Olivier Awards: The 2016 Nominees

4:46 PM 3/30/2016

by Alex Ritman

Mark Rylance, Benedict Cumberbatch, Nicole Kidman, Kenneth Branagh, Judi Dench, Imelda Staunton and Cyndi Lauper are up for the U.K.'s premier theater honors.

Mark Rylance Best Supporting Actor GETTY - H 2016
Kevin Winter/Getty Images

Mark Rylance suggested that it was a "great time to be an actor" after winning the best supporting actor Oscar for Bridge of Spies. Just hours later, the sentiment was underlined when the British stage and screen star found himself nominated for one of the top honors at the U.K.'s premier theater event. 

Announced Monday Feb. 29, the Olivier Awards has Rylance nominated for best actor for his performance as a bipolar monarch soothed by the voice of a celebrated castrato in Farinelli and the King, up against the likes of Benedict Cumberbatch and Kenneth Branagh (who has a best director nomination as well).

Elsewhere, Nicole Kidman's acclaimed turn in Michael Grandage's Photograph 51 has earned her a best actress nomination alongside former Bond girl Gemma Arterton.

In the supporting categories, Sherlock star and co-creator Mark Gatiss has a nomination, as does Judi Dench, a six-time previous winner.

In the musical categories, the revival of Gypsy starring Imelda Staunton led the field with eight noms, followed closely behind by Tony-winning Broadway import Kinky Boots, which landed seven, including one for composer-lyricist Cyndi Lauper's score.

Here are the shortlists for the top categories. For a full list of nominations, go to OlivierAwards.com.

  • Best Actor

    Kenneth Cranham for The Father at Wyndham's Theater (WINNER)
    Kenneth Branagh for The Winter's Tale at Garrick Theater
    Benedict Cumberbatch for Hamlet at Barbican Theater
    Adrian Lester for Red Velvet at Garrick Theater
    Mark Rylance for Farinelli and The King at Duke of York's Theater

  • Best Actress

    Denise Gough for People, Places and Things at National Theater, Dorfman (WINNER)
    Gemma Arterton for Nell Gwynn at Apollo Theater
    Nicole Kidman for Photograph 51 at Noël Coward Theater
    Janet McTeer for Les Liaisons Dangereuses at Donmar Warehouse
    Lia Williams for Oresteia at Almeida Theater

  • Best Actress in a Supporting Role

    Judi Dench for The Winter's Tale at Garrick Theater (WINNER)
    Michele Dotrice for Nell Gwynn at Apollo Theater
    Melody Grove for Farinelli and the King at Duke of York's Theater
    Catherine Steadman for Oppenheimer at Vaudeville Theater

  • Best Actor in a Supporting Role

    Mark Gatiss for Three Days In The Country at National Theater, Lyttelton (WINNER)
    Michael Pennington for The Winter's Tale at Garrick Theater
    Tom Sturridge for American Buffalo at Wyndham's Theater
    David Suchet for The Importance of Being Earnest at Vaudeville Theater

  • Best Director

    Robert Icke for Oresteia at Almeida Theater (WINNER)
    Rob Ashford and Kenneth Branagh for The Winter's Tale at Garrick Theater
    Matthew Dunster for Hangmen at Jerwood Theatre Downstairs at Royal Court & Wyndham's Theater
    Jonathan Kent for Gypsy at Savoy Theater