There are two key takeaways from yesterday’s PGA nominations announcement. The first is that the two biggest omissions on this list—Selma and Unbroken—are both directed by female filmmakers. Now, I’m not insinuating that the producers got together and decided not to vote for the two films because they were directed by females. Maybe they just didn’t like the two films all that much. While I can understand why Angelina Jolie’s film missed (It’s a beautifully-shot bore), Ava DuVernay’s incredibly powerful and moving drama not making the cut is perplexing.
Awards bloggers have noted that Paramount wasn’t able to send out DVD screeners of the film in time due to the film’s long post-production schedule but a quick visit to Paramount’s awards website shows that there were plenty of free screenings set up for Guild and Academy members to attend. Are these guild members really that dependent on DVD screeners that they can’t even make the effort or set time aside to attend a screening? I find that ridiculous and irresponsible. If you’re a member of such a prestigious guild, do your part and take it seriously. Anyway, I digress.
Here are the 10 Feature Film nominees:
My second takeaway from the nominations is that every feature film on the 10 film shortlist is a male-centric story. Yea, this isn’t really news but at least in previous years, there were at least one or two films about the female experience. Even David Fincher’s Gone Girl, the one with one of the strongest female characters of the year, is mostly shot from the perspective of a sympathetic male character.
Now, for some positive thoughts: I’m glad to see Boyhood, still the little movie that could, make the cut. How wonderful would it be if this 12-years-in-the-making gem goes all the way? I’m also ecstatic that Wes Anderson’s delightful The Grand Budapest Hotel is making such a dent this awards season. It’s made all the important precursors so far, and I hope it shows up two weeks from now too. Gone Girl scoring here is encouraging because I thought the industry had shrugged it off as genre fare. I’m still not certain it’ll make the Oscar shortlist. Also, it’s nice to see the usually money-minded PGA stick up for small movies likes Nightcrawler and the brilliant Whiplash. Morton Tyldum’s The Imitation Game is the rare prestige biopic that I’m willing to give a pass to because it also happens to be a taut entertainer. Since it’s a Weinstein picture and it checks off the most Oscar-baiting boxes without making it look shameless, it’ll likely win Best Picture. I won’t vouch for Clint Eastwood’s engaging but forgettable American Sniper, the well-acted yet icy Foxcatcher, and the shameless awards-baiting puff piece The Theory of Everything.
Going back to Unbroken and Selma. What does this mean for their Oscar chances? While I still think Selma makes it with the Academy, the Best Picture win is now beyond reach. The same rings true for Unbroken. It may pull a War Horse nomination but that’s it. Anything I haven’t mentioned in this piece has no shot whatsoever. Yes, that means no Interstellar, Fury, Into the Woods, A Most Violent Year, Guardians of the Galaxy or Edge of Tomorrow.
The PGA winner will be announced on January 24. As The Hollywood Reporter’ Scott Feinberg stated in his article titled “What the PGA Nominations mean for the Oscar race”:
Whichever film ends up winning the PGA Award, which has been presented annually since 1990, will be in good company: 18 of the past 25 years the — or I should say at least one ofthe, since there was a tie last year — PGA Award winners went on to win the best picture Oscar, including each of the last six: Slumdog Millionaire (2008), The Hurt Locker (2009),The King’s Speech (2010), The Artist (2011), Argo (2012) and 12 Years a Slave (2013).
The PGA Awards were and remain the first major guild-hosted awards ceremony on the calendar, meaning they potentially offer insight about the views held by people who actually work within the industry, unlike Globes voters, but like Academy voters. While Slumdog Millionaire, The Artist, Argo and 12 Years a Slave were widely anticipated winners, The Hurt Locker and The King’s Speech were facing uphill climbs — they had been beaten at several major awards shows when they were recognized with the PGA Award, which marked the beginning of a turnaround in their fortunes. In other words, until the PGA declares a winner, nobody else can with any real degree of confidence.
Yea, the PGA’s are kind of a big deal.
Complete list of Feature Film PGA nominees, with credited producers, are listed below:
The Darryl F. Zanuck Award for Outstanding Producer of Theatrical Motion Pictures
American Sniper (Warner Bros. Pictures)
Producers: Bradley Cooper, p.g.a., Clint Eastwood, p.g.a., Andrew Lazar, p.g.a., Robert Lorenz, p.g.a., Peter Morgan, p.g.a.
Birdman (Fox Searchlight Pictures)
Producers: Alejandro G. Iñárritu, John Lesher, James W. Skotchdopole
Boyhood (IFC Films)
Producers: Richard Linklater, p.g.a., Cathleen Sutherland, p.g.a.
Foxcatcher (Sony Pictures Classics)
Producers: Megan Ellison, p.g.a., Jon Kilik, p.g.a., Bennett Miller, p.g.a.
Gone Girl (20th Century Fox)
Producer: Ceán Chaffin, p.g.a.
The Grand Budapest Hotel (Fox Searchlight Pictures)
Producers: Wes Anderson & Scott Rudin, Jeremy Dawson, Steven Rales
The Imitation Game (The Weinstein Company)
Producers: Nora Grossman, p.g.a., Ido Ostrowsky, p.g.a., Teddy Schwarzman, p.g.a.
Nightcrawler (Open Road Films)
Producers: Jennifer Fox, Tony Gilroy
The Theory of Everything (Focus Features)
Producers: Tim Bevan & Eric Fellner, Lisa Bruce, Anthony McCarten
Whiplash (Sony Pictures Classics)
Producers: Jason Blum, Helen Estabrook, David Lancaster
Outstanding Producer of Animated Theatrical Motion Pictures:
Big Hero 6 (Walt Disney Animation Studios)
Producer: Roy Conli, p.g.a.
The Book of Life (20th Century Fox)
Producers: Brad Booker, p.g.a., Guillermo del Toro, p.g.a.
The Boxtrolls (Focus Features)
Producers: David Bleiman Ichioka, p.g.a., Travis Knight, p.g.a.
How To Train Your Dragon 2 (20th Century Fox)
Producer: Bonnie Arnold, p.g.a.
The LEGO Movie (Warner Bros. Pictures)
Producer: Dan Lin
Outstanding Producer of Documentary Theatrical Motion Pictures:
The Green Prince (Music Box Films)
Producers: John Battsek, Simon Chinn, Nadav Schirman
Life Itself (Magnolia Pictures)
Producers: Garrett Basch, Steve James, Zak Piper
Merchants of Doubt (Sony Pictures Classics)
Producers: Robert Kenner, Melissa Robledo
Particle Fever (Abramorama/BOND 360)
Producers: David E. Kaplan, Mark A. Levinson, Andrea Miller, Carla Solomon
Producers: Joanna Natasegara, Orlando von Einsiedel