PlayShakespeare.com Announces Falstaff Awards for 2014

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2014 was the "Year of Lear", Tom Hiddleston wins for Coriolanus

Today's top movie stars are embracing Shakespeare's works and bringing then to the mainstream audiences like never before.

PlayShakespeare.com is pleased to announce the nominees and winners for the annual Falstaff Awards for 2014. With PlayShakespeare.com's international reach, reviewers worldwide have come together to honor the best in Shakespeare for the year of 2014. The Falstaff Awards recognize extraordinary achievement in the areas of Best Play, Best Director, Best Performance by a Male or Female Actor, among other performance and technical categories.

2014 was the "Year of Lear" where many productions of the regal tragedy were mounted. Though there were quite a few amazing productions, no single show overwhelmingly swept the awards. A few performances stood out more than the rest, namely Tom Hiddleston in Coriolanus at the Donmar Theatre. Hiddleston's performance as the military general won him the Best Male Principal Performance award and the production also won awards for Best Sound Design (Emma Laxton) and was nominated for Best Play and for Best Scenic Design (Lucy Osborne) and Best Fight Direction (Richard Ryan).

Jude Law renewed his relationship with Shakespeare (after his well-received Hamlet production on Broadway in 2009) in Henry V at the Noel Coward Theatre. A production that won the award for Best Play of the year. Shakespeare veteran Michael Pennington's performance as King Lear (Theatre for a New Audience) was top-notch and nominated for Best Male Principal Performance in an otherwise uneven cast. Other nominations for Best Male Principal Performance include Hamish Linklater in Much Ado About Nothing and Richard Thomas as Iago in Othello at The Old Globe.

Simon Russell Beale's turn as the title role in King Lear at the National Theatre was a must-see production with standout performances from Kate Fleetwood as Goneril (winner for Best Female Principal Performance) and Michael Nardone as the Duke of Cornwall (nominated for Best Male Supporting Performance). Academy Award winning director Sam Mendes won the Best Director award and the entire production was nominated for Best Play of the year. Annette Bening and Jessica Hecht received recognition for the Public's Lear in Shakespeare in the Park.

The Oregon Shakespeare Festival garnered recognition for Richard III (with Dan Donohue and Kate Hurster, who were both nominated in their categories) with Jonathan Toppo winning Best Fight Direction. There were two technical wins for Tony Taccone's The Tempest (Daniel Ostling, winner of Best Scenic Design and Alexander V. Nichols, winner of Best Lighting Design). A first for the Falstaff Awards was Kate Hurster was nominated twice in the same category for Best Female Supporting Performance for two different productions (Richard III, The Tempest) in the same season. K.T. Vogt's hilarious stint as Launce in The Two Gentlemen of Verona (Oregon Shakespeare Festival) won her the Best Female Supporting Performance award.

The award for Best Script Adaptation/Dramaturgy goes to Dominic Dromgoole and Shakespeare's Globe Theatre for their ambitious project to travel around the world with Hamlet: Globe to Globe, performing in every country on the planet. Other nominations include iHamlet at Shakespeare in Clark Park and Ian Doescher's popular William Shakespeare's Star Wars parody.

The Falstaff Awards honor the release of How to Teach Your Children Shakespeare, a book by Ken Ludwig that makes Shakespeare more accessible to a new, younger audience. Dr. Farah Karim Cooper, Head of Higher Education and Research at Shakespeare's Globe, was nominated for two publications she edited last year and the film Muse of Fire topped an amazing list of films to win the Best Film award.

Of note is the Lear Award for Lifetime Achievement was awarded to Dame Helen Mirren in recognition of her lifelong contribution to Shakespeare performance. Now 69, Mirren joined the Royal Shakespeare Company in 1966 and has won an Academy Award (The Queen, 2006) and numerous Tonys, Golden Globes, and BAFTA awards since. Her latest Shakespearean project was in Julie Taymor's 2010 film adaptation of The Tempest.

"Today's top movie stars are embracing Shakespeare's works and bringing then to the mainstream audiences like never before. He has never been more popular or had a wider, global reach than he has today." said Ron Severdia, Founder of PlayShakespeare.com. "With all the enthusiasm leading up to the 2016 worldwide celebration honoring the 400th anniversary of his death, It will be very interesting to see how creative theatres will get."

The complete list of nominees and winners can be found at:

http://www.playshakespeare.com/falstaff

http://www.falstaffawards.com

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