For the past two years, the Producers Guild of America’s theatrical motion picture awards have had a major impact on awards season. Its 2009 winner The Hurt Locker and 2010 winner The King’s Speech really started their serious runs for the Best Picture Oscar by respectively surprising — and defeating — presumed PGA and then-Oscar favorites Avatar and The Social Network, respectively. In both cases I watched as top executives from 20th Century Fox and Sony seemed stunned and depressed. Will the PGA play king-maker for a third year in a row by going their own way and setting the table for the rest of the season?
As we have said many times, the PGA awards along with SAG, DGA and WGA hold more weight in determining Oscar sentiment as many of their members cross over with actual Academy voters. The PGA in fact participates in vetting producer nominees for the Academy, so today’s list of 10 nominees (the guild decided to stick to 10 even though this year the Academy has switched to a voting system that could produce anywhere from five to 10 contenders) should be taken very seriously. In that regard, Sony and producer Scott Rudin — who both felt the PGA’s cold shoulder last year by eventually dooming their early-season favorite The Social Network — should be ecstatic as both Moneyball and The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo made the cut. Rudin was personally nominated for Dragon Tattoo (with Cean Chaffin) and is an executive producer on Moneyball (the PGA, like the Academy, does not officially nominate EPs). Count in George Clooney’s The Ides Of March, which until the Golden Globes and now the PGAs hasn’t had much luck this season, and you have a very good morning for the Culver City lot — even though their animated hopeful Arthur Christmas failed to make the list of five nominees for Animated Feature. (more…)