Did the Producers Guild of America (PGA) just shake up the Best Picture race?

Well, no. Any actual Oscar race only exists in our heads and keyboards but The Producers Guild of America (PGA) announced their nominations earlier today and it certainly shakes up what we THOUGHT the Best Picture race looked like. The PGA winner has mirrored the Oscar Best Picture winner every year since 2006 (PGA went with Little Miss Sunshine, Oscar went with The Departed). The ten nominees for feature film were…

  • Mad Max: Fury Road
  • The Revenant
  • Spotlight
  • The Martian
  • Bridge of Spies
  • Brooklyn
  • Ex Machina
  • Sicario
  • Straight Outta Compton
  • The Big Short

I think you can lock in The Revenant, Spotlight, The Big Short, Mad Max: Fury Road, and The Martian in for Best Picture noms, while I’m very confident in Room, Bridge of Spies, and Brooklyn given how the last couple days have played out. That’s 8. Will the Oscars cite more films than that? That could ultimately be the determining factor for those on the bubble right now.

Now, the obvious surprises are Sicario and Ex Machina. Neither of those two films have really been considered contenders for Best Picture at the Oscars this year. While they figure to make a play in some techs, I still think both are longshots despite them being two of my favorites from 2015 (shameless plug for this post). What this does say however is that, with Alicia Vikander, perhaps the consensus thought that she’s getting in for The Danish Girl is wrong. She’s won some critics awards for Ex Machina and with that film very much on the radar right now I really like here chances to get in for it. I think Sicario is a dark horse in Best Picture. The sound people and the cinematographers will be there for it. It’ll get some #1 votes but it’s hard to feel all that confident in a film not receiving any citations for its cast/writer/director.

A couple of surprising PGA snubs; Carol and Room. The latter, which is likely winning Best Actress, still feels like a decent Best Picture bet just because there’s been so much love for it throughout the year. The Academy has always shown more willingness to cite smaller films than the PGA. The omission of Carol here concerns me, however. It’s been on the bubble for most of the year. Critics are behind it, tech branches likely will be too. But the producers and (possibly) directors looking elsewhere could curse it. A DGA nom for Todd Haynes would be HUGE. It feels like there’s a single spot reserved for Carol OR Brooklyn, and given how hard Brooklyn has worked the circuit combined with this PGA nom, it seems like a safer bet. Should also be noted that The Weinstein Company went 0-2 with the PGA, as The Hateful Eight missed out.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens was clinging to a possible PGA nom for dear life in the Best Picture race. It’s a bit surprising that it missed given everything Kathleen Kennedy did to get this movie made. Legions of fans who want the film to de well with the Academy will likely have to settle for a couple of wins in some technical categories. Creed also appears to be cooked in terms of Best Picture, which is a shame, I might add.

Straight Outta Compton continues its climb with a PGA nom. It’s been popping up everywhere. While it’s far from typical Oscar material, voters have no choice but to take it seriously. However, its PGA inclusion was predictable given that it was surprising critical and commercial smash. The folks who got it made –including Dr. Dre and Ice Cube- deserve attention. I’m not comfortable with predicting a Best Picture nom for the film quite yet, but it is right there. Would not be surprising in the least. SAG Ensemble (check), PGA (check), and DGA (unlikely) are the three most telling precursors. Straight Outta Compton, The Big Short, and Spotlight are the only films to go two-for-two so far.

My Best Picture predictions were updated yesterday (prior to this news) and I won’t get around to doing the final update until next week (check the menu on the left for more Oscar stuff). But, in light of the PGA news, here’s how I see the race right now…

Locks:

#1) Spotlight

#2) Mad Max: Fury Road

#3) The Big Short

#4) The Martian

#5) The Revenant

Good Bets:

#6) Bridge of Spies

#7) Room

#8) Brooklyn

Right on the Bubble:

#9) Carol

#10) Straight Outta Compton

#11) Inside Out

Dark Horses/Possible Spoilers:

#12) The Hateful Eight

#13) Sicario

#14) Steve Jobs

#15) Ex Machina

#16) Star Wars: The Force Awakens

 

 

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