OLIVIER AWARDS: Wins for Ejiofor, Scott Thomas, ‘Hairspray’

Scott Thomas Ejiofor Oliviers 2008 x325By Ray Bennett

LONDON – Chiwetel Ejiofor and Kristin Scott Thomas (left) and the Broadway smash “Hairspray” won top honors Sunday at the Laurence Olivier Awards, Britain’s equivalent of the Tony Awards.

Ejiofor was named best actor for his title performance in “Othello,” while Scott Thomas took the actress prize for “The Seagull.”

With a record-breaking 11 nominations, “Hairspray” picked up with four prizes, including best new musical.

Ejiofor, whose film credits range from Steven Spielberg’s “Amistad” in 1997 to Ridley Scott’s “American Gangster” last year, triumphed over competition that included Ian McKellen in “King Lear” and Patrick Stewart in “Macbeth.”

Ewan McGregor, who co-starred as Iago in the Donmar Warehouse’s hit production of “Othello,” was not nominated. Tom Hiddleston, who also was nominated for playing Cassio in “Othello,” won as best newcomer for “Cymbeline” at the Barbican.

Rupert Goold, who directed Stewart in “Macbeth,” was named best director, and Rory Kinnear won for best performance in a supporting role for the National’s revival of George Etherege’s restoration comedy “The Man of Mode,” which also won for Vicki Mortimer’s costume design.

“Hairspray” also won for best actor in a musical for West End veteran Michael Ball, best actress in a musical for newcomer Leanne Jones, and best performance in a supporting role in a musical for Tracie Bennett.

Richard E. Grant hosted the ceremony at Grosvenor House, where Andrew Lloyd Webber received a lifetime achievement award. Presented by the Society of London Theatre since 1976, the prizes were named the Laurence Olivier Awards in 1984.

This story appeared in The Hollywood Reporter.

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