This year’s Olivier Award nominations were announced today, with Hollywood stars dominating the line up of talent.

Keira Knightley, James Earl Jones, Jude Law, James McAvoy, Gillian Anderson and Rachel Weisz are among the big name stars vying for Larry gongs.

Also this year plays continue to dominate the West End, reflected by the organiser’s decision to extend the Best Actor, Best Actress in a Supporting Role and Best Revival categories from five to six nominations.

Enron, six nominations

The main drama-producing houses reaped a number of nominations, notably the Royal Court, who picked up 15 nominations for four different productions – Jerusalem, Enron, The Priory and Cock. The Donmar Warehouse and National Theatre have also done well with 19 nominations between them for plays including the Donmar Warehouse production of Hamlet starring Jude Law, who was also nominated.

The Society of London Theatre, the organiser’s of the awards, have also added a new Audience Award to recognise long-running West End shows which opened before 2009, allowing Billy Elliot the Musical, The Phantom of the Opera, War Horse, We Will Rock You and Wicked another crack at the whip.

Nominee Keira Knightley

In the acting categories, competition will be fierce. The Best Actor category includes James Earl Jones, Jude Law, James McAvoy, Mark Rylance, Ken Stott and Samuel West, whilst the Best Actress category features Gillian Anderson, Lorraine Burroughs, Imelda Staunton, Juliet Stevenson and Rachel Weisz. Keira Knightley (pictured) will compete with Hayley Atwell, Michelle Dockery, Alexandra Gilbreath, Rachael Stirling and Ruth Wilson for Best Actress in a Supporting Role.

Another closely contested category will be Best Revival, with Arcadia, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, The Misanthrope, A Streetcar Named Desire, A View From the Bridge and Three Days of Rain all up for the award.

In the musical categories, Spring Awakening leads with six nominations, followed by A Little Night Music with five, and Sister Act and Hello, Dolly!, both with four. Nominees include Rowan Atkinson for Oliver!, Sheila Hancock for Sister Act, Maureen Lipman for A Little Night Music and Melanie C for Blood Brothers.

Society of London Theatre President Nica Burns said: “In an outstanding year for drama, a whole new generation of playwrights step into the spotlight. Eight wonderful new plays – challenging, stimulating and inspiring – include two women in their twenties. Mirroring this, the voting for the best acting awards was so close that the nominations had to be increased, with some of the most exciting young acting talent around taking their place alongside some our most acclaimed screen stars. What a memorable year!”

The winners will be announced at the Grosvenor House Hotel on 21 March.

The list of nominees for the 2010 Olivier Awards in full:

BEST ACTRESS

Gillian Anderson for A DOLL’S HOUSE at the Donmar Warehouse

Lorraine Burroughs for THE MOUNTAINTOP at Trafalgar Studio 1

Imelda Staunton for ENTERTAINING MR SLOANE at Trafalgar Studio 1

Juliet Stevenson for DUET FOR ONE at the Almeida theatre and Vaudeville theatre

Rachel Weisz for A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE at the Donmar Warehouse

BEST ACTOR

James Earl Jones for CAT ON A HOT TIN ROOF at the Novello theatre

Jude Law for HAMLET, Donmar at Wyndham’s theatre

James McAvoy for THREE DAYS OF RAIN at the Apollo theatre

Mark Rylance for JERUSALEM at the Jerwood Theatre Downstairs at the Royal Court and now at the Apollo theatre

Ken Stott for A VIEW FROM THE BRIDGE at the Duke of York’s theatre

Samuel West for ENRON at the Jerwood Theatre Downstairs at the Royal Court and now at the Noël Coward theatre

BEST ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE

Hayley Atwell for A VIEW FROM THE BRIDGE at the Duke of York’s theatre

Michelle Dockery for BURNT BY THE SUN at the National Theatre, Lyttelton

Alexandra Gilbreath for TWELFTH NIGHT at the Duke of York’s theatre

Keira Knightley for THE MISANTHROPE at the Comedy theatre

Rachael Stirling for THE PRIORY at the Jerwood Theatre Downstairs at the Royal Court

Ruth Wilson for A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE at the Donmar Warehouse

BEST ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE

Mackenzie Crook for JERUSALEM at the Jerwood Theatre Downstairs at the Royal Court and now at the Apollo theatre

Rory Kinnear for BURNT BY THE SUN at the National Theatre, Lyttelton

Tim Pigott-Smith for ENRON at the Jerwood Theatre Downstairs at the Royal Court and now at the Noël Coward theatre

Eddie Redmayne for RED at the Donmar Warehouse

BEST NEW PLAY

ENRON by Lucy Prebble at the Jerwood Theatre Downstairs at the Royal Court and now at the Noël Coward theatre

JERUSALEM by Jez Butterworth at the Jerwood Theatre Downstairs at the Royal Court and now at the Apollo theatre

THE MOUNTAINTOP by Katori Hall at Trafalgar Studio 1

RED by John Logan at the Donmar Warehouse

BEST NEW COMEDY

CALENDAR GIRLS by Tim Firth at the Noël Coward theatre

ENGLAND PEOPLE VERY NICE by Richard Bean at the National Theatre, Olivier

PARLOUR SONG by Jez Butterworth at the Almeida theatre

THE PRIORY by Michael Wynne at the Jerwood Theatre Downstairs at the Royal Court

BEST MUSICAL REVIVAL

Irving Berlin’s ANNIE GET YOUR GUN music and lyrics by Irving Berlin, book by Herbert and Dorothy Fields, at the Young Vic

HELLO DOLLY! book by Michael Stewart, music and lyrics by Jerry Herman, based on the play ‘The Matchmaker’ by Thornton Wilder, at the Open Air theatre

A LITTLE NIGHT MUSIC music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, book by Hugh Wheeler, suggested by a film by Ingmar Bergman, originally produced and directed on Broadway by Harold Prince, at the Garrick theatre

Lionel Bart’s OLIVER! based on the original production by Sam Mendes, at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane

BEST NEW MUSICAL

DREAMBOATS AND PETTICOATS book by Laurence Marks and Maurice Gran, at the Savoy theatre

PRISCILLA QUEEN OF THE DESERT – THE MUSICAL book by Stephan Elliott and Allan Scott, based on the Latent Image/Specific Films motion picture distributed by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Inc., at the Palace theatre

SPRING AWAKENING music by Duncan Sheik, book and lyrics by Steven Sater, based on the play by Frank Wedekind, at the Novello theatre

SISTER ACT music by Alan Menken, lyrics by Glenn Slater, book by Cheri Steinkellner and Bill Steinkellner, at the London Palladium

BEST ENTERTAINMENT

ARTURO BRACHETTI: CHANGE written and directed by Sean Foley, original concept by Serge Denoncourt, based on the repertoire of Arturo Brachetti, at the Garrick theatre

DERREN BROWN: ENIGMA written by Derren Brown and Andy Nyman, at the Adelphi theatre

MORECAMBE by Tim Whitnall, at the Duchess theatre

BEST ACTRESS IN A MUSICAL OR ENTERTAINMENT

Melanie C for BLOOD BROTHERS at the Phoenix theatre

Patina Miller for SISTER ACT at the London Palladium

Samantha Spiro for HELLO DOLLY! at the Open Air theatre

Hannah Waddingham for A LITTLE NIGHT MUSIC at the Garrick theatre

Charlotte Wakefield for SPRING AWAKENING at the Novello theatre

BEST ACTOR IN A MUSICAL OR ENTERTAINMENT

Rowan Atkinson for OLIVER! at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane

Aneurin Barnard for SPRING AWAKENING at the Novello theatre

Bob Golding for MORECAMBE at the Duchess theatre

Alexander Hanson for A LITTLE NIGHT MUSIC at the Garrick theatre

Tony Sheldon for PRISCILLA QUEEN OF THE DESERT – THE MUSICAL at the Palace theatre

BEST SUPPORTING PERFORMANCE IN A MUSICAL OR ENTERTAINMENT

Sheila Hancock for SISTER ACT at the London Palladium

Maureen Lipman for A LITTLE NIGHT MUSIC at the Garrick theatre

Kelly Price for A LITTLE NIGHT MUSIC at the Garrick theatre

Iwan Rheon for SPRING AWAKENING at the Novello theatre

BEST DIRECTOR

Rupert Goold for ENRON at the Jerwood Theatre Downstairs at the Royal Court and now at the Noël Coward theatre

Michael Grandage for HAMLET, Donmar at Wyndham’s theatre

Lindsay Posner for A VIEW FROM THE BRIDGE at the Duke of York’s theatre

Ian Rickson for JERUSALEM at the Jerwood Theatre Downstairs at the Royal Court and now at the Apollo theatre

Bijan Sheibani for OUR CLASS at the National Theatre, Cottesloe

BEST REVIVAL

ARCADIA directed by David Leveaux at the Duke of York’s theatre

CAT ON A HOT TIN ROOF directed by Debbie Allen at the Novello theatre

THE MISANTHROPE directed by Thea Sharrock at the Comedy theatre

A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE directed by Rob Ashford at the Donmar Warehouse

A VIEW FROM THE BRIDGE directed by Lindsay Posner at the Duke of York’s theatre

THREE DAYS OF RAIN directed by Jamie Lloyd at the Apollo theatre

BEST THEATRE CHOREOGRAPHER

Matthew Bourne for OLIVER! at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane

Bill T Jones for SPRING AWAKENING at the Novello theatre

Anthony Van Laast for SISTER ACT at the London Palladium

Stephen Mear for HELLO DOLLY! at the Open Air theatre

BEST LIGHTING DESIGN

BURNT BY THE SUN designed by Mark Henderson at the National Theatre, Lyttelton

ENRON designed by Mark Henderson the Jerwood Theatre Downstairs at the Royal Court and now at the Noël Coward theatre

SPRING AWAKENING designed by Kevin Adams at the Novello theatre

THREE DAYS OF RAIN designed by Jon Clark at the Apollo theatre

BEST SET DESIGN

ENGLAND PEOPLE VERY NICE designed by Mark Thompson with animation by Pete Bishop at the National Theatre, Olivier

ENRON designed by Anthony Ward at the Jerwood Theatre Downstairs at the Royal Court and now at the Noël Coward theatre

JERUSALEM designed by Ultz at the Jerwood Theatre Downstairs at the Royal Court and now at the Apollo theatre

RED designed by Christopher Oram at the Donmar Warehouse

BEST COSTUME DESIGN

HELLO DOLLY! designed by Peter McKintosh at the Open Air theatre

MADAME DE SADE designed by Christopher Oram, Donmar at Wyndham’s theatre

THE MISANTHROPE designed by Amy Roberts at the Comedy theatre

PRISCILLA, QUEEN OF THE DESERT- THE MUSICAL designed by Tim Chappel and Lizzy Gardiner at the Palace theatre

BEST SOUND DESIGN

EVERY GOOD BOY DESERVES FAVOUR designed by Christopher Shutt at the National Theatre, Olivier

JERUSALEM designed by Ian Dickinson for Autograph at the Jerwood Theatre Downstairs at the Royal Court and now at the Apollo theatre

MOTHER COURAGE AND HER CHILDREN designed by Andrew Bruce and Nick Lidster for Autograph at the National Theatre, Olivier

SPRING AWAKENING designed by Brian Ronan at the Novello theatre

THE AUDIENCE AWARD FOR MOST POPULAR SHOW

BILLY ELLIOT THE MUSICAL music by Elton John, books and lyrics by Lee Hall at the Victoria Palace

THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA music and book by Andrew Lloyd Webber, lyrics by Charles Hart, book and additional lyrics by Richard Stilgoe at His Majesty’s theatre

WAR HORSE based on the novel by Michael Morpurgo, adapted by Nick Stafford at the New London theatre

WE WILL ROCK YOU based on the songs of Queen, by Ben Elton in collaboration with Brian May and Roger Taylor at the Dominion theatre

WICKED music and lyrics by Stephen Schwartz, book by Winnie Holzman at the Apollo Victoria theatre

OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT IN AN AFFILIATE THEATRE

Soho Theatre/ Tiata Fahodzi for IYA ILE (THE FIRST WIFE)

The Tricycle Theatre for THE GREAT GAME

The Royal Court for COCK at the Jerwood Theatre Upstairs

BEST NEW OPERA PRODUCTION

The Royal Opera’s DER FLIEGENDE HOLLÄNDER at the Royal Opera House

The Royal Opera’s LULU at the Royal Opera House

English National Opera’s PETER GRIMES at the London Coliseum

The Royal Opera’s TRISTAN UND ISOLDE at the Royal Opera House

OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT IN OPERA

Anja Kampe for her performance in the Royal Opera’s DER FLIEGENDE HOLLÄNDER at the Royal Opera House

Stuart Skelton for his performance in English National Opera’s PETER GRIMES at the London Coliseum

Nina Steme for her performance in the Royal Opera’s TRISTAN UND ISOLDE at the Royal Opera House

Michael Volle for his performances in the Royal Opera’s LULU and TRISTAN AND ISOLDE at the Royal Opera House

BEST NEW DANCE PRODUCTION

Russell Maliphant’s AFTERLIGHT at Sadler’s Wells

Birmingham Royal Ballet’s E=MC² at Sadler’s Wells

The Brandstrup – Rojo project’s GOLDBERG at the Royal Opera House

Rambert Dance Company’s A LINHA CURVA at Sadler’s Wells

Fabulous Beast Dance’s THE RITE OF SPRING at the London Coliseum

OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT IN DANCE

Colin Dunne for his performance in OUT OF TIME at The Barbican Pit

Michael Hulls for his lighting designs for Russell Maliphant’s TWO:FOUR:TEN at the London Coliseum; and for Russell Maliphant’s AFTERLIGHT and for Ex Machina & Sylvie Guillem’s EONNAGATA at Sadler’s Wells

Rambert Dance Company for an outstanding year of new work