Broadway played a starring role in the 2015 Academy Awards nominations — just as two nominees are playing starring roles on Broadway.
Both Bradley Cooper, nominated for best actor for “American Sniper,” and Emma Stone, tapped for supporting actress in “Birdman,” are currently playing eight performances a week on Broadway stages. Cooper’s headlining the strong-selling revival of “The Elephant Man” through Feb. 21, while Stone is amping up sales at the revival of “Cabaret,” which she’ll exit Feb. 15.
And Broadway, of course, plays a major part in “Birdman,” in which Michael Keaton’s character tries to resuscitate his acting career by writing, directing and starring in a Main Stem play. Filmmakers of “Birdman” — currently celebrating the movie’s nine noms, including best picture — camped out in Broadway’s St. James Theater for weeks in order to film the feature and also shot a couple of important scenes in theater district hangout Rum House.
Another nominated title, “Into the Woods,” also has deep ties to Broadway, but didn’t fare as well with the Oscar nominators as “Birdman” did. Possibly the most broadly popular of Stephen Sondheim’s musicals, “Woods” launched on the Rialto in 1987, ran for almost two years and went on to become a theater staple. Both Sondheim and original book writer James Lapine were heavily involved in the film, with Lapine penning the script.
Disney’s movie version, directed by “Chicago” director (and Broadway veteran) Rob Marshall, had made a play for awards-season love for the film’s creative team and starry cast, but came away with only three noms — one for obligatory nominee Meryl Streep as well as bids for costume design and production design.
When Cooper and Stone arrive at the Feb. 22 Oscar ceremony fresh off their stage stints, they’ll be joining a slew of Broadway alums who are putting the telecast together. Set designer Derek McLane and choreographer Rob Ashford are Rialto regulars, and producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron — not to mention host (and recent Tony winner) Neil Patrick Harris — all have Main Stem track records. With those fingerprints all over the telecast, Broadway’s sure to get plenty of shout-outs on the big night.