Olivier, Olivier

Betty Buckley’s in and Maggie Smith’s out: So go the principal revelations of this year’s Olivier Award nominations, in which American shows – dare we say, as usual? – took a sizable share of the nominations. “She Loves Me,” with eight, was chief among them. Next best was six for the Broadway-bound “Les Parents Terribles,” including two for designer Stephen Brimson Lewis.

Of special interest to those who track Olivier procedure against the Tonys will be the inclusion of “Sunset Boulevard” star Buckley and also Tim Flavin in “Crazy for You.” Both are replacements (and, incidentally, Americans) chosen on special recommendation of the nominating panel – and, let’s be honest, to flesh out thinning categories. (Shame there’s nothing they could do about best musical, where all four entries are pretty grim: “Copacabana”?!?)

Beyond Smith’s performance in Edward Albee’s “Three Tall Women,” the committee also ignored fellow Evening Standard Award-winner Tom Courtenay (“Moscow Stations”) as well as tremendously moving performances from Robert Stephens (“King Lear”) and Paul Eddington (“Home”). Still, why grumble? Any committee smart enough to cite Sheila Gish (“Les Parents Terribles”), Dora Bryan (“The Birthday Party”), Tara Hugo (“The Threepenny Opera”) and cabaret singer Maria Friedman must be doing something right, even if consistency of approach isn’t it.

The winners will be announced April 2.

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