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Cumberbatch to be or not to be best actor after award nomination for Hamlet

Published 03/12/2015

Benedict Cumberbatch's nod is one of nine for Hamlet
Benedict Cumberbatch's nod is one of nine for Hamlet

Benedict Cumberbatch is up for best actor for his portrayal of Hamlet - with the show securing a total of nine nominations at the WhatsOnStage Awards.

He faces competition from fellow Hollywood star Bradley Cooper who is being recognised for his role in The Elephant Man.

The blockbuster production of Hamlet at the Barbican has picked up the most nominations this year, alongside big musicals Kinky Boots and In The Heights, which also have nine each.

As well as Cumberbatch's best actor nomination, Hamlet has two nominations each in the categories of best supporting actor and best supporting actress - including one for Ciaran Hinds.

It is also up for best play revival, best direction, best set design, and best lighting design.

Cumberbatch faces competition from James McAvoy, Mark Rylance and Alex Hassell who are in the running for best actor for their performances in The Ruling Class, Farinelli and the King and Henry V respectively.

Nicole Kidman has been nominated for best actress in a play for her part in Photograph 51.

She is up against Rosalie Craig (As You Like It), Denise Gough (People, Places, Things), Harriet Walter (Death Of A Salesman) and Lia Williams (Oresteia).

Michael Ball is up for best actor in a musical for Mack And Mabel, while Kimberley Walsh, Imelda Staunton and Beverley Knight are in the running for best actress in a musical, for their roles in Elf The Musical, Gypsy and Cats.

The best West End show category features four of the same productions as last year - Wicked, Les Miserables, Miss Saigon and Matilda. Kinky Boots is the only new production to be nominated this year.

Sita McIntosh, WhatsOnStage's chief operating officer, said: "It's been an incredibly strong year for theatre, and the shortlist celebrates the best work from across London - both West End and off-West End - and from around the UK, with Chichester Festival Theatre securing 12 nominations, more than any other single venue.

"This year's nominations are also dominated by musicals with Kinky Boots and In The Heights tying with 9 nominations apiece. Unusually they are matched by a play - this year's blockbuster Hamlet with Benedict Cumberbatch which dominated headlines over the summer.

"We're thrilled to see our awards go from strength to strength - with more members of the public voting than ever before. It's this that makes our awards so special - we give the public the voice to decide, the people who buy the tickets and ultimately decide on the success of a production."

The winners will be announced on February 21 at the Prince of Wales Theatre.

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