It seemed all sewn up that Avatar was going to win the Producers Guild of America award for Best Picture and waltz its way to the top prize at the Academy Awards. However, the PGA actually chose the better picture and awarded The Hurt Locker with the “Darryl F. Zanuck Producer of the Year Award in Theatrical Motion Pictures.” Avatar appeared to have the edge because the PGA usually respects the combo of populist support with moderate critical acclaim. The Hurt Locker had far more critical support, but it looked like Avatar‘s insane box office total would overshadow Kathryn Bigelow’s superior film.
Instead, this year’s Oscars is back to being a horse-race between the two films and the ceremony needs all the competitive categories it can get. Avatar will most likely win every technical category, and Jeff Bridges, Christoph Waltz, and Mo’Nique, who all won at last night’s SAG awards, should be writing their acceptance speeches if they haven’t already. The only acting category where there’s still drama is between Meryl Streep for Julie & Julia and Sandra Bullock for The Blind Side, with Bullock taking the lead after her SAG win last night. But now with the big prize back up for grabs, it will be interesting to see if the Academy sides with the populist support of Avatar or the near-universal critical acclaim for The Hurt Locker. I still think Avatar will win (with Bigelow winning Best Director), but I don’t have the certainty I did last night and that makes me so damn happy.
The nominations for the 82nd Academy Awards will be announced on February 2nd. Hit the jump for the full list of winners from tonight’s PGA Awards.
BEST DOCUMENTARY: The Cove
BEST ANIMATED FEATURE: Up
STANLEY KRAMER AWARD: Precious: Based on the Novel “Push” by Sapphire
BEST TV COMEDY: 30 Rock
BEST TV DRAMA: Mad Men
BEST TV LONG FORM: Grey Gardens
BEST NON-FICTION TV: 60 Minutes
BEST LIVE ENTERTAINMENT AND COMPETITION: The Colbert Report
DAVID O. SELZNICK AWARD: John Lasseter
VANGUARD AWARD: Joss Whedon
MILESTONE AWARD: Amy Pascal and Michael Lynton