CODA was the surprise winner of the marquee Darryl F. Zanuck Award for Outstanding Producer of Theatrical Motion Pictures awards at the 33rd annual Producers Guild Awards, which were handed out tonight at the Fairmont Century Plaza Hotel in Los Angeles.
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“It’s incredible,” CODA producer Philippe Rousselet said, accepting the award with his fellow producers Fabrice Gianfermi and Patrick Wachsberger. “It really means so much coming from our peers. I think we will all agree a good movie always starts with a good story … and in a world where we see the lack [of humanity] every day, I’ll take this award as a sign that there is still hope.”
The Apple Original Films pic about the hearing daughter of a deaf couple who struggles to help her family while pursuing a singing career upset awards-season juggernaut The Power of the Dog — and might have repositioned itself as the front-runner for the Best Picture Academy Award. It also made history as the first streaming film to win this award at the PGAs.
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Basically, a win tonight for any Best Pic nominee other than Power of the Dog — especially CODA, which is hot off its SAG Awards triumph last month — potentially tweaks the Oscar Best Picture race. Here’s why.
The PGAs traditionally are the first guild awards show of the season, and this year it initially was set for February 26 — the night before the SAG Awards. But the Omicron surge forced postponement of the ceremony to tonight, and as a result, this is the first time the Producers Guild Awards will be held during final Oscar voting.
That’s particularly important because the PGA Awards generally follow in lock-step with the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. This show also had 10 nominees for Best Picture and used the same ranked-choice system as the Oscars does for Best Picture only — meaning that voters must list their choices from 1 being “favorite” to 10 being “least favorite.” Thus, the PGA is the group most likely to get a similar choice as the Oscars for Best Picture.
In fact, the PGA prize has predicted the Oscar Best Picture winner a staggering 22 out of the past 32 years. And since 2009, only three films didn’t line up with both PGA and Oscar: The Big Short, La La Land and 1917.
Nomadland took the marquee PGA Award last year en route to winning Best Picture at the Academy Awards.
Music was a theme elsewhere among the film winners as Summer of Soul, from the Onyx Collective, Searachlight and Hulu, won for Outstanding Producer of Documentary Motion Pictures, and Disney’s Encanto took the Animated prize.
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On the TV side, Apple TV+’s awards-season favorite Ted Lasso won the Danny Thomas Award for Outstanding Producer of Episodic Television, Comedy.
But it was a big night for HBO. The premium cabler’s Succession won Norman Felton Award for Outstanding Producer of Episodic Television, Drama, and its Mare of Easttown won David L. Wolper Award for Outstanding Producer of Limited-Series Television.
HBO’s Last Week Tonight With John Oliver took the Live Entertainment/Variety/Sketch/Stand-up/Talk Television prize.
VH1’s RuPaul’s Drag Race won for Outstanding Producer of Game and Competition Television.
The big haul for music-focused projects tonight continued with two Rock and Roll Hall of Fame acts being the subjects of the other TV prizes tonight. Disney+’s The Beatles: Get Back won the prize for Outstanding Producer of Nonfiction Television, and Tom Petty: Somewhere You Feel Free — The Making of Wildflowers took the trophy for Televised or Streamed Motion Pictures.
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Newly minted nonagenarian and EGOT-winning actress Rita Moreno received the Stanley Kramer Award, which goes to a production, producer or other individuals “whose achievement or contribution illuminates and raises public awareness of important social issues.”
She did not disappoint in her acceptance speech.
Moreno began by noting how she was there – at the invitation of Harry Belafonte – when Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. gave his historic “I Have a Dream” speech. “In seasons when prophets fall silent and statesmen wane, thankfully filmmakers keep on preaching,” she said from the stage. “They never stop advocating for matters of equity and justice.”
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Moreno added: “We are in the throes of yet another awards season, and some in our tribe have been known to use the spotlight to advocate for issues addressed in their nominated works – climate change, universal health care, voting rights and LQBTQ advocacy and many others. And I know that, for some audiences, they have been known to create, how shall I say, a mild discomfort. For others, heart palpitations. After all, who does these actors, these Hollywood types, think they are – citizens? Well, f*ck ’em.”
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The night’s first tribute was for Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy and Star Wars patriarch George Lucas, who received the Milestone Award from their longtime friend Steven Spielberg.
“Steven, George and I met at the dawning of new age in motion picture history, and we worked side by side through one revolution in our industry after another,” said Kennedy, the producer whose films have amassed 120 Oscar nominations. “Revolutions not only in the means of moviemaking, and in the ways movies reach audiences, but also in the composition of our business.”
She added, “As women, artists of color, LGBTQ and differently labeled artists and producers, who have fought for and won a place at the table, propelling our community toward more inclusive, diverse, richer, more sophisticated and nuanced sense of responsibilities for social, racial and economic justice.”
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DC TV universe czar Greg Berlanti received the Norman Lear Award from his old pal Ryan Murphy, who called him “the natural successor to Norman Lear.”
“I think you have to understand what it was like to be ‘other’ in the ’70s or the early ’80s,” Berlanti said in his speech. “I was a deeply closeted gay kid, and the kind of vitriol we’re seeing now so openly by members of the Florida Legislature or by the governor of Texas about trans kids or gender non-conforming young people and their families, there was that kind of homophobia, overt and casual in almost every corner or every room. And if the hate was flagrant, the representation on TV was almost non-existent.”
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Insecure creator-star Issa Rae was presented with the PGA’s Visionary Award) from HBO Chief Content Officer Casey Bloys. Legendary vice chair and current Oscar nominee Mary Parent accepted the David O. Selznick Award from Dune filmmaker Denis Villeneuve.
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Among the other A-listers who presented PGA Awards tonight were Meryl Streep, Andrew Garfield, Michelle Yeoh and Lin-Manuel Miranda.
Here are the winners at the 2022 PGA Awards:
Darryl F. Zanuck Award for Outstanding Producer of Theatrical Motion Pictures
Award for Outstanding Producer of Documentary Motion Pictures
Summer of Soul (… or, When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised)
Darryl F. Zanuck Award for Outstanding Producer of Animated Theatrical Motion Pictures
Norman Felton Award for Outstanding Producer of Episodic Television — Drama
Succession (Season 3)
David L. Wolper Award for Outstanding Producer of Limited-Series Television
Mare of Easttown
Danny Thomas Award for Outstanding Producer of Episodic Television — Comedy
Ted Lasso (Season 2)
Award for Outstanding Producer of Live Entertainment, Variety, Sketch, Stand-up, and Talk Television
Last Week Tonight With John Oliver (Season 8)
Award for Outstanding Producer of Game and Competition Television
RuPaul’s Drag Race (Season 13)
Award for Outstanding Producer of Nonfiction Television
The Beatles: Get Back (Season 1)
Award for Outstanding Producer of Televised or Streamed Motion Pictures
Tom Petty: Somewhere You Feel Free — The Making of Wildflowers
Pete Hammond contributed to this report.
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