Oscar Beat: Analyzing What the Producers Guild Awards Nominations Mean for Oscar

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When it comes to predicting the Oscars, there are a number of factors to take into account.  The early critics awards carry some weight, as does a film’s overall box office performance, but the most significant gauge with regards to Oscar voting comes with the guild awards.  The four major guilds—producers, directors, writers, and actors—have a large amount of crossover with Academy membership, which means that many of the same people that are voting for the Oscars are also voting in the PGA, DGA, WGA, and SAG awards.  Earlier today we got our first look at the Producers Guild of America nominations, and there were a couple of minor surprises mixed in with the usual suspects.

In this edition of Collider’s awards column, Oscar Beat, I’ll be analyzing what this year’s PGA nominations mean with regards to the upcoming 86th Academy Awards race.  Read on after the jump.

american-hustle-christian-bale-amy-adamsThe 2014 Producers Guild of America nominations for “outstanding producer of theatrical motion pictures” are as follows:

American Hustle

Blue Jasmine

Captain Phillips

Dallas Buyers Club

Gravity

Her

Nebraska

Saving Mr. Banks

12 Years a Slave

The Wolf of Wall Street

The three major frontrunners for the Best Picture Oscar—12 Years a Slave, Gravity, and American Hustle—made the PGA cut, as did a couple of other usual suspects like Captain Phillips, Saving Mr. Banks, and Nebraska, but the inclusion of Blue Jasmine and Dallas Buyers Club come as slight surprises.  Though some have been predicting the Matthew McConaughey-fronted drama Dallas Buyers Club as a possible Dark Horse Best Picture candidate, many thought Woody Allen’s Blue Jasmine had been mostly forgotten with regards to Best Picture.  Her has become this year’s critical darling and could very well make the Oscar cut as this year’s “artsy” pick a la Amour and Beasts of the Southern Wild, and the PGA was clearly not put off by Martin Scorsese’s controversial black comedy The Wolf of Wall Street. 

blue-jasmine-cate-blanchett-bobby-cannavaleThe most noticeable absence from the PGA list is Joel and Ethan Coen’s folk music drama Inside Llewyn Davis, and The Weinstein Company was shut out completely as Lee Daniels’ The Butler, August: Osage County, and Philomena all failed to land PGA nominations.  It’s very possible that one of these four “snubs” could land a Best Picture Oscar nomination anyway, and Inside Llewyn Davis feels like the best bet of the bunch given that the preferential ballot system of the Academy bodes well for films that have a passionate base, which the Coen brothers’ latest film surely does.

The Oscars and the PGA nominations rarely match up 100%, and the most vulnerable PGA picks would appear to be Blue Jasmine and Dallas Buyers Club given their overall lack of precursor mentions.  The Wolf of Wall Street also isn’t a lock for Oscar just yet, as the “controversy” surrounding the pic seems to be overshadowing a conversation about its merits (some are arguing that it celebrates Jordan Belfort’s despicable behavior rather than satirizing it).  At a three-hour runtime and a near NC-17 rating, it also might just be too much for Academy voters.  That being said, this is still Martin Scorsese we’re talking about, so we’ll see if the other guilds spark to Wolf as well.

inside-llewyn-davis-oscar-isaacWhile the list of 10 PGA nominations doesn’t regularly match up exactly with the list of Best Picture Oscar nominees, the PGA winner is a very good predictor of the eventual Oscar winner.  7 of the past 10 Producers Guild Award winners for Best Picture have gone on to win the Best Picture Oscar, including the past 6 in a row, so keep that statistic in mind when the PGA winners are announced.  With regards to Oscar nominations, it’s likely that at least two of the PGA picks will not land Best Picture Oscar nods if the past few years are any indication.

Overall, this is a strong PGA lineup that might speak to a surprise or two when the Academy Award nominations are announced on January 16th.  That being said, it’s looking like the main films competing for the eventual Best Picture win are 12 Years a Slave, Gravity, and American Hustle.  The Producers Guild of America Awards will be announced January 19th.

To catch up on all of our previous Oscar Beat coverage, click here.

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  • Doug_101

    I just don’t understand all the love for Saving Mr. Banks. I wouldn’t be as harsh as Matt was in his review, but the movie is, at best, just okay and a definite whitewash on the whole making of Mary Poppins. I can understand some acting attention for Emma Thompson, but beyond that, I’m stumped. Is it a case of Hollywood just loving films about Hollywood?

    • Jamie Teller

      I actually don’t even think Thompson merits a nomination, except by virtue of being Emma Thompson. The only performance in that film that I would consider nominating is Colin Farrell.

      • Doug_101

        Mind you, I’m not saying that I think Thompson should get a nod, just that she was really the only thing that stood out to me. Farrell was good too, though. Maybe the Mouse is buying votes.

      • Person

        You can be damn sure the Mouse is buying votes. Apparently they’re even outspending Harvey — Butler has been a no-show so far this season. My guess it was just released too early.

        And where the hell is Prisoners?

      • Doug_101

        Same thing with Prisoners, I think – just released too early and lost in the rush of the later fall releases. I thought it was one of Jackman’s best performances. Even though Best Actor will be a tight race, I hope he slips in as a dark horse. Also, when you look at the other films being mentioned for Best Pic, Prisoners is a lot darker without the historical impact of something like 12 Years a Slave.

      • AJ

        No, I do not think it is a bout when it released. “Blue Jasmine” released way back but it still shows up. (And both Prisoners and Blue Jasmine have mostly been out of the race so far.) I think the voters are getting sick of dark movies (as I have gotten for sometime now). “Prisoners” is an amazing movie, but too dark. I think by not voting for dark movies, the voters will encourage good quality bright and cheerful movies in the future.

      • Bob

        Forget Prisoners. Where is Rush?!?! It should be nominated for Best Picture and Bruhl should be nominated for Best Actor, not supporting. But I guess Ill take supporting.

      • AJ

        I think Thompson should win the trophy (and so should Blanchett), not just get nominated. I would love to see a tie for Best Actress this year – they were both so good.

      • Harry

        Colin Farrell was the pure standout in the movie. Thank you! No one else says this and people think I’m crazy for saying it. Mr. Banks is overrated, not bad, but overrated. Prisoners being snubbed in favor of this is ridiculous.

      • Jamie Teller

        YES. Prisoners, I’m saying right now, is going to be one of those films that people will look back at a decade or so from now and think “Wow, this is so much better than (American Hustle? Saving Mr. Banks? Gravity? Take your pick)”.

      • Strong Enough

        Gravity is a milestone for film that will be analyzed for its technique and looked back on for generations as the beginning of a new way to shoot movies.. you can’t be serious.

      • Jamie Teller

        I appreciate its technical skill, but I found it thematically lacking compared to 2001–which it has been compared to. Remember when everyone was saying what a game-changer Avatar was? It may have been, but how many people will speak well of it without at least a caveat about the writing and acting?

      • Strong Enough

        first of all anyone comparing it to 2001 is idiotic. Gravity isn’t even sci fi. they have nothing in common except being in space. I was just replying to your comment saying prisoners is the film everyone will look at years from now over Gravity. And i said given what Gravity has achieved I think that is a mistake to say

      • Jamie Teller

        I’ll be the first to admit I owe Gravity a second viewing. The hype might have gotten to me. I do think that the overwhelming amount of praise it got right out of the gate might work against it eventually, but such trends are hard to predict indeed.

        I do think that Prisoners will rise in general estimation over time, and I think some of this year’s most praised films will fall–I again cite American Hustle (a good film, but) as a likely candidate for that fate.

      • Strong Enough

        I looked at Gravity as more emotional than anything. The will to survive and overcome obstacles no matter what is in our way. I mean even when she makes it home and makes it to the beach she falls to her knees and has to summon whatever strength she has left to stand up and walk, I thought that was one of the most powerful scenes of the year. no matter what she never gave up.

        and I love Prisoners too and I hope it finds the praise it deserves.

      • AJ

        I have to disagree strongly. Of all the movies I have seen so far (which includes the much-hyped Gravity), I think “Saving Mr. Banks” is the best. And Thompson’s (SMB) and Blanchett’s (BJ) performances are the standout female performances of the year.

      • Jamie Teller

        I have yet to see Blanchett’s performance. I obviously did not hold Saving Mr. Banks in the same estimation you did, but that may be because of my own cynicism.

  • Person

    I was just thinking about this the other day –

    The overwhelming trend (excepting Argo, Driving Miss Daisy, and James Cameron movies) over the past 30+ years is that for any movie to be a legitimate Best Picture contender, it has to be nominated for Picture (obviously), Director, Screenplay, and Editing.

    Looking back on this year’s movies, only 12 Years a Slave and American Hustle are nearly 100% locks for all four of those nominations. Gravity may miss out on Screenplay, Captain Phillips may miss out on director and screenplay, Wolf of Wall Street is too polarizing/long so it might miss out on all except Picture, and Her may miss out on editing (haven’t seen it yet though).

    Just by those standards alone, I think it’s already a two-horse race between 12 Years and Hustle. Gravity and Capt. Phillips will almost certainly be big players and stand the best chance of any to get all four of those nominations. And I hope Wolf of Wall St. pulls through and gets the support it deserves to get all four nomination (I think it deserves editing at the very least, those were the fastest three hours I’ve spent in a theater since LOTR).

    Hopefully the race stays unpredictable until Oscar night. I hate the years when one movie sweeps everything and there’s no suspense when the Oscars are finally called out.

    • The Flobbit

      Are you kidding me? American Hustle would be lucky to even stand in Gravity’s shadow. Gravity is the best film of the year, but the Oscar (mark my words), is going to 12 Years a Slave. Basically it’s between Gravity and 12 Years, and it all depends on whether the Academy is going to honor tech over drama…

      Alfonso Cuaron has Best Director, Best Digital Effects, and Best Editing, etc… in the bag.

      • AJ

        Honestly, “Gravity” does not have much in it. I can see it winning technical awards, but I just cannot see it winning Best Director or Best Picture. On similar lines as “Gravity”, last year’s “Life of Pi” was a much better cinematic achievement (direction, story/ screenplay, theme and performances). Even that could not win Best Picture. We will have to wait and see though.

      • Person

        Couldn’t agree more. I think Gravity is one of the best films of the year, but that’s really only when seen in IMAX 3D. In any other venue, it ceases to be the experience it’s meant to be and becomes “a movie about a woman floating in space,” with some hammy dialogue. I think it’s a spectacular technical achievement but it’s not Best Picture material.

        The past few years have had one movie that’s adored both critically and in the technical categories — Inception, Hugo, Life of Pi, now Gravity. Expect it to sweep the technicals (VFX, Sound, Sound Editing) and possibly a few more (editing, cinematography), and POSSIBLY win Best Director, but that’s it. No way it wins Best Picture.

      • The Flobbit

        I disagree. I found it dramatic, terrifying, beautiful, and completely memorable. I would be very happy if it won best picture. I hope they’re not going to pull an Argo/Life of Pi stunt and give a crap movie the statue over a brilliant, if technically focused cinematic achievement.

      • Cory Allen

        Well if the criminally overrated 12YAS wins then at least Ejiofor might not win as they would be less likely to repeat the Shakespeare in Love travesty. I’m rooting for Matthew McConaughey!

    • AJ

      Hustle is over-rated, just like last year’s SLP.

      • Person

        American Hustle is overrated but by no means a bad movie. Just like SLP, it would have been perfect if it was only 10-15 minutes shorter.

  • Jamie Teller

    If the Academy doesn’t nominate Wolf, I might puke. “Too much for them”…good Lord.

    DBC might make the cut, but I can’t see Blue Jasmine making it in. I think the other “Blue” film of the year, NC-17 rating aside, has a better shot. Swap Blue Jasmine for Inside Llewyn Davis, maybe drop DBC, and I think you’ve got our Best Picture category. My own would be very different, but would the Academy go for Spring Breakers? Doubtful.

    • The Flobbit

      The Academy will go for Spring Breakers when Adam Sandler directs a moving existential foreign film. Seeoooo…never.

      • Jamie Teller

        Sandler is a lost cause. Ben Stiller…that’s another matter.

      • The Flobbit

        I have hope for Ben Stiller. And Jim Carrey. Carrey can actually act (See: Truman Show), and I’m waiting for his Chris Nolan team up for Howard Hughes.

  • Alex Hajna

    I don’t see Captain Phillips, Saving Mr. Banks, or Blue Jasmine getting nominated for the Best Picture Oscar. My Best Picture predictions are as follows…

    Gravity
    12 Years a Slave
    American Hustle
    Her
    The Wolf of Wall Street
    Short Term 12
    Nebraska
    Dallas Buyers Club

    In all honesty, I’m not really basing this prediction on anything, other than a gut feeling. I’ll obviously have to wait till the other guilds announce their nominations, but I’ve been following the Oscars for years, and based on their past, these films just seem to be the most likely to be nominated. However, there’s still two spots open, and they could very well nominate a couple of surprises (Philomena would be a nice surprise, as would Captain Phillips), but let’s be honest… the only real contenders to win are 12 Years a Slave, Her, and American Hustle. I wouldn’t even say Gravity has a real shot, based on the Academy’s track record. That would be my number one choice to win, by far (that, or Wolf of Wall Street), but I don’t see it getting anything other than Visual Effects, Score, and maybe Film Editing and Sound Editing & Mixing.

    Then again, I know diddly squat compared to Adam, the man who got pretty much 100% of his Oscar predictions right last year. So pay no attention to me. I’m just talking, over here.

    • Person

      Replace Short Term 12 with Captain Phillips and I’d say you’re pretty much right on the money.

    • The Flobbit

      Yes, Short Term 12 is a great film, but hasn’t got enough stature to get a Best Picture nod…

    • AJ

      “Saving mr. Banks” is a sure nomination, and I would not be surprised if it ends up taking the final trophy.

      • Alex Hajna

        I could see a POSSIBLE nomination, but it’s not gonna win. Trust me.

  • Naomi

    Why can’t we just make good, challenging, intelligent movies? Instead it seems films are made simply to win awards. This shouldn’t be so political, so driven by the desire to win. By prestige capital. I feel like more and more films come out that try to “fill that slot” during awards season of the “artsy” film, the “period drama” etc. etc. and so on. It’s like everyone gets ready for the Oscars like it’s the Superbowl or something. Whatever happened to simply making a film because it was the best medium to convey a difficult question, or share a provocative idea? I’m not saying awards aren’t valuable, but awards are best when they award work done sincerely for it’s own end, on it’s own merits, not to award work designed simply to garner an accolade. This is ego stroking, and nothing else.

  • The Flobbit

    Gravity deserves Best Picture. 12 Years a Slave will get Best Picture.
    Chiwetel Ejiofor – Best Actor
    Cate Blanchett – Best Actress
    Jared Leto – Best Supporting Actor

    Any thoughts?

    • Cooper

      ’12 years a slave’ winning is as close to a guarantee as you’ve ever seen at the Oscars. Not because it’s the greatest film ever, but because it’s a film about slavery that doesn’t completely suck. Ejiofor, Nyong’o and Leto are also locks for their categories. All this “speculation” and “Gee who’s gonna win?!” nonsense by sites like Collider is a waste of time to anyone who knows the hyper-pc nature of Oscar voting.

      • The Flobbit

        I think it could go either way with Gravity. I mean, such technological and visual achievement!

      • Person

        Nyong’o isn’t a lock to win at all (not that she isn’t deserving, I’m just speaking objectively).

        Actor is definitely the most up-for-grabs race this year, I don’t think Ejiofor is as much of a lock as people think, especially now that Wolf of Wall St. is out. On the other hand, Actress and Supporting Actor are locks, and Sup. Actress will likely be Nyong’o vs. Lawrence.

        But to be honest, this was a weak year acting-wise except for lead actor. There are gonna be a few snubs in that category only cuz nominations are limited.

    • AJ

      I think Best Actress is not so easily predicted. It will be a contest between Thompson and Blanchett. Best Picture is wide open among about 5 films. I am a bit surprised at the love “American Hustle” is getting. It think the movie is over-rated.

      • The Flobbit

        Oh please. Thompson played Thompson in a fun and cute movie. Blanchett completely shed her persona in a daring role in Woody Allen’s best film in years. It’s in the bag for Cate.

  • Strong Enough

    American Hustle was superbly directed but i still think its kinda overrated

    • pwnednoob

      Thank you!!! It was good, I liked it. But everyone is saying its the best film of the year. Personally it doesn’t even crack my top 10.

      • Strong Enough

        I know. its a fun film but it left me cold. it was pretty pointless. nothing was earned. nothing changed at the end.

  • pwnednoob

    I really wish The Spectacular Now and Mud would get more love. Both fantastic films!

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  • cezar211091 .

    Gravity ftw

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