Of the 40 nominees in the eight acting categories, fully 26 had never before earned a Tony nomination. A few of the Tony virgins are, somewhat surprisingly, actors of tremendous fame. Paul Newman, for instance—a film actor of almost unsurpassed achievement—capped off his career with his first Tony nod, for the revival of Our Town. Similarly, Vanessa Redgrave, widely acknowledged to be one of the great stage actresses of her generation, can finally add "Tony nomination" to her resume with Long Day's Journey Into Night. Fiona Shaw, another British actor of great standing, also took in her first nomination, for Medea. Thespians making their Broadway debut also did well. Those who received nominations for their very first work on America's biggest stage were: Eddie Izzard (A Day in the Death of Joe Egg), Victoria Hamilton (Joe Egg), Antonio Banderas (Nine), Clare Higgins (Vincent in Brixton), Marissa Jaret Winokur (Hairspray), Thomas Jefferson Byrd (Ma Rainey's Black Bottom), Corey Reynolds (Hairspray), Tammy Blanchard (Gypsy) and Mary Stuart Masterson (Nine). (Nominee Daniel Sunjata very nearly makes his Broadway debut in Take Me Out ; he had a minor role in the 1998 Lincoln Center Theater revival of Twelfth Night.)
John Selya, Elizabeth Parkinson, Keith Roberts, Ashley Tuttle and Michael Cavanaugh, all of Movin' Out, also won their first nods.
New York stage veterans who collected their first Tony nomination include Dick Latessa of Hairspray, who acted in 15 Broadway shows prior to the current musical hit; Hollywood Arms' Michele Pawk, whose Broadway credits include Suessical and Cabaret; Linda Emond, a critics' favorite remembered from 1776 and many Off Broadway plays; John Dossett, whose Gypsy turn is only the latest in a string of Broadway visits; Kathryn Meisle and Denis O'Hare, steady performers who both first bowed on Broadway in 1995's Racing Demon by David Hare; Stanley Tucci, whose first Broadway job was in 1982 and returned to Times Square for the first time in 16 years for Frankie and Johnny; and Malcolm Gets, a sought after actor who last appeared on Broadway in The Moliere Comedies.