Early 2016 Tony Awards Predictions: Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Play

Chris Peterson

  • OnStage Founder & Editor-in-Chief
  • @CMPeterson81


A little while back we released some of our way too early Tony predictions, but now that the nominations are just a month away, and with very little left to open on Broadway, it's time to start thinking about who might be hearing their named called on June 12th. 

So with that in mind, for the next couple of days, I'll be releasing my Tony nominations and possible winners. 

Today's Category: Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Play

This year has been surprising one for this category. At the beginning of the season, there were some strong contenders on paper. But as more and more show opened, things changed dramatically. Here's our breakdown: 


  • Frank Langella - The Father
  • Mark Strong - A View From the Bridge

Probable Nominees

  • Tim Pigott-Smith - King Charles III
  • Jesse Tyler Ferguson - Fully Committed
  • Gabriel Byrne - Long Day's Journey into Night

On the Bubble

  • Clive Owen - Old Times
  • Jeff Daniels - Blackbird
  • Ben Whishaw - The Crucible

As you can see, it's a loaded field with no real front runner. The locks are obvious. The praise for both these performances, plus Drama Desk nods, suggests we should expect to see their names included. As for the probables, Ferguson is getting rave reviews and playing 40 different roles deserves a nod. I also think, given the praise for the show, Bryne should expect to see his name here too. I wouldn't be shocked if Pigott-Smith is or isn't nominated. 

As far as the bubble goes, I'd say Owen has the best chance. The buzz on Blackbird hasn't been high and I don't think Whishaw will make the cut either. 

Probable Winner: Very tough call on this one. If I had to pick one, it would be Langella right now.