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Producers Guild of America Preview – Starting the Gas on a Steamroller?

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The road to the Oscars ceremony is about to hit a fever pitch in the offices of awards consultants, PR reps, and industry personnel everywhere.  Is “Boyhood” the undisputed frontrunner?  Could “Birdman” become the first Best Picture winner since “Ordinary People” without an Editing nomination?  Is “The Imitation Game” set up to make a major play to the finish line?  Is “Selma” joining the ranks of “Grand Hotel” and “Mutiny on the Bounty” with a Best Picture win and nothing else?  Tied with the most nominations, could “The Grand Budapest Hotel” do what “Little Miss Sunshine” and “Sideways” could not and become one of the rare comedies to win Best Picture?  Could the safe and traditional demeanor of “The Theory of Everything” appeal to the Academy at large?  The big box office and conservative appeal of “American Sniper” may be able to upset some bigger names on the list.  Could Clint win a third Best Picture prize in under 25 years?  And then there’s “Whiplash,” a film that is already assured an acting win for J.K. Simmons.  With nominations in screenplay and sound, does it capture a lot of votes in the big category?

The Producers Guild of America will announce their winners tonight.  Why it’s so significant is because they also use preferential balloting.  Last year, in a shocker, both “12 Years a Slave” and “Gravity” tied, nearly impossible to do on a preferential ballot.  This year, seven of the eight Best Picture nominees are present alongside “Foxcatcher,” “Gone Girl,” and “Nightcrawler” which did not make the cut.  Ava DuVernay’s “Selma” sits on the sidelines.  Safe to say, Bennett Miller, David Fincher, or Dan Gilroy’s film is coming within an earshot of winning PGA.

Analyzing how the other seven performed during the early precursors, I say “Birdman,” “Boyhood,” and “The Grand Budapest Hotel” probably stand the best chance with “The Imitation Game” and “The Theory of Everything” not too far behind.

In no way are we the demographic of Oscar voters but I’d like to turn your attention to the Awards Circuit Staff’s Top Tens of 2014.  I did a simple calculation of what film would emerge on top with the three frontrunners discussed earlier, “Birdman,” “Boyhood,” and “Budapest.”  Just barely did “Birdman” edge out “Boyhood” as the pick of the year.  “Budapest” received just as many top votes as it did bottom votes.  That will surely be the case in the end with Anderson’s film.  Being a divisive “love it or hate it” film is great in order to get nominated for a few Oscars but it’s extremely difficult to win with those types of receptions abound.   Which leaves “The Imitation Game” and “The Theory of Everything,” the two British films that excite the British voting bloc.  Morten Tyldum has the Harvey fire power behind him, and they’re pushing the gas to the floor.  Harvey has a few more tricks up his sleeve but honestly, I don’t know if he’s figured out how to get around “Boyhood” just yet.

Here are the predicted winners for tonight (in ranking order), as well as the other categories for tonight:

  1. Boyhood (IFC Films)
    Producers: Richard Linklater, p.g.a., Cathleen Sutherland, p.g.a.
  2. Birdman (Fox Searchlight Pictures)
    Producers: Alejandro G. Iñárritu, John Lesher, James W. Skotchdopole
  3. The Imitation Game (The Weinstein Company)
    Producers: Nora Grossman, p.g.a., Ido Ostrowsky, p.g.a., Teddy Schwarzman, p.g.a.
  4. The Grand Budapest Hotel (Fox Searchlight Pictures)
    Producers: Wes Anderson & Scott Rudin, Jeremy Dawson, Steven Rales
  5. The Theory of Everything (Focus Features)
    Producers: Tim Bevan & Eric Fellner, Lisa Bruce, Anthony McCarten
  6. 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.
  7. Foxcatcher (Sony Pictures Classics)
    Producers: Megan Ellison, p.g.a., Jon Kilik, p.g.a., Bennett Miller, p.g.a.
  8. Whiplash (Sony Pictures Classics)
    Producers: Jason Blum, Helen Estabrook, David Lancaster
  9. Gone Girl (20th Century Fox)
    Producer: Ceán Chaffin, p.g.a.
  10. Nightcrawler (Open Road Films)
    Producers: Jennifer Fox, Tony Gilroy

The Award for Outstanding Producer of Animated Theatrical Motion Pictures:

  1. The LEGO Movie (Warner Bros. Pictures)
    Producer: Dan Lin, p.g.a.
  2. How To Train Your Dragon 2 (20th Century Fox)
    Producer: Bonnie Arnold, p.g.a.
  3. Big Hero 6 (Walt Disney Animation Studios)
    Producer: Roy Conli, p.g.a.
  4. The Boxtrolls (Focus Features)
    Producers: David Bleiman Ichioka, p.g.a., Travis Knight, p.g.a.
  5. The Book of Life (20th Century Fox)
    Producers: Brad Booker, p.g.a., Guillermo del Toro, p.g.a.

The David L. Wolper Award for Outstanding Producer of Long-Form Television:

  1. Fargo (FX)
    Producers: Adam Bernstein, John Cameron, Ethan Coen, Joel Coen, Michael Frislev, Noah Hawley, Warren Littlefield, Chad Oakes, Kim Todd
  2. The Normal Heart (HBO)
    Producers: Jason Blum, Dante Di Loreto, Scott Ferguson, Dede Gardner, Alexis Martin Woodall, Ryan Murphy, Brad Pitt, Mark Ruffalo
  3. Sherlock (PBS)
    Producers: Mark Gatiss, Steven Moffat, Beryl Vertue, Sue Vertue
  4. The Roosevelts: An Intimate History (PBS)
    Producers: Paul Barnes, Pam Baucom, Ken Burns
  5. American Horror Story: Coven & Freak Show (FX)
    Producers: Brad Buecker, Dante Di Loreto, Brad Falchuk, Joseph Incaprera, Alexis Martin Woodall, Tim Minear, Ryan Murphy, Jennifer Salt, Robert M. Williams Jr., James Wong

The Award for Outstanding Producer of Documentary Theatrical Motion Pictures:

  1. Virunga (Netflix)
    Producers: Joanna Natasegara, Orlando von Einsiedel
  2. Life Itself (Magnolia Pictures)
    Producers: Garrett Basch, Steve James, Zak Piper
  3. Merchants of Doubt (Sony Pictures Classics)
    Producers: Robert Kenner, Melissa Robledo
  4. Particle Fever (Abramorama/BOND 360)
    Producers: David E. Kaplan, Mark A. Levinson, Andrea Miller, Carla Solomon
  5. The Green Prince (Music Box Films)
    Producers: John Battsek, Simon Chinn, Nadav Schirman

The Norman Felton Award for Outstanding Producer of Episodic Television, Drama:

  1. Breaking Bad (AMC)
    Producers: Melissa Bernstein, Sam Catlin, Bryan Cranston, Vince Gilligan, Peter Gould, Mark Johnson, Stewart Lyons, Michelle MacLaren, George Mastras, Diane Mercer, Thomas Schnauz, Moira Walley-Beckett
  2. True Detective (HBO)
    Producers: Richard Brown, Carol Cuddy, Steve Golin, Woody Harrelson, Cary Joji Fukunaga, Matthew McConaughey, Nic Pizzolatto, Scott Stephens
  3. Downton Abbey (PBS)
    Producers: Julian Fellowes, Nigel Marchant, Gareth Neame, Liz Trubridge
  4. Game Of Thrones (HBO)
    Producers: David Benioff, Bernadette Caulfield, Frank Doelger, Chris Newman, Greg Spence, Carolyn Strauss, D.B. Weiss
  5. House Of Cards (Netflix)
    Producers: Dana Brunetti, Joshua Donen, David Fincher, David Manson, Iain Paterson, Eric Roth, Kevin Spacey, Beau Willimon

The Danny Thomas Award for Outstanding Producer of Episodic Television, Comedy:

  1. Orange Is The New Black (Netflix)
    Producers: Mark A. Burley, Sara Hess, Jenji Kohan, Gary Lennon, Neri Tannenbaum, Michael Trim, Lisa I. Vinnecour
  2. Modern Family (ABC)
    Producers: Paul Corrigan, Megan Ganz, Abraham Higginbotham, Ben Karlin, Elaine Ko, Steven Levitan, Christopher Lloyd, Jeff Morton, Dan O’Shannon, Jeffrey Richman, Chris Smirnoff, Brad Walsh, Bill Wrubel, Sally Young, Danny Zuker
  3. Veep (HBO)
    Producers: Chris Addison, Simon Blackwell, Christopher Godsick, Armando Iannucci, Stephanie Laing, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Frank Rich, Tony Roche
  4. Louie (FX)
    Producers: Pamela Adlon, Dave Becky, M. Blair Breard, Louis C.K., Vernon Chatman, Adam Escott, Steven Wright
  5. The Big Bang Theory (CBS)
    Producers: Faye Oshima Belyeu, Chuck Lorre, Steve Molaro, Bill Prady

The Award for Outstanding Producer of Non-Fiction Television:

  1. COSMOS: A SpaceTime Odyssey (FOX/NatGeo)
    Producers: Brannon Braga, Mitchell Cannold, Jason Clark, Ann Druyan, Livia Hanich, Steve Holtzman, Seth MacFarlane
  2. American Masters (PBS)
    Producers: Susan Lacy, Julie Sacks, Junko Tsunashima
  3. Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown (CNN)
    Producers: Anthony Bourdain, Christopher Collins, Lydia Tenaglia, Sandra Zweig
  4. Shark Tank (ABC)
    Producers: Becky Blitz, Mark Burnett, Bill Gaudsmith, Phil Gurin, Yun Lingner, Clay Newbill, Jim Roush, Laura Roush, Max Swedlow
  5. 30 For 30 (ESPN)
    Producers: Andy Billman, John Dahl, Erin Leyden, Connor Schell, Bill Simmons

The Award for Outstanding Producer of Competition Television:

  1. The Voice (NBC)
    Producers: Stijn Bakkers, Mark Burnett, John De Mol, Chad Hines, Lee Metzger, Audrey Morrissey, Jim Roush, Kyra Thompson, Mike Yurchuk, Amanda Zucker
  2. The Amazing Race (CBS)
    Producers: Jerry Bruckheimer, Elise Doganieri, Jonathan Littman, Bertram van Munster, Mark Vertullo
  3. Top Chef (Bravo)
    Producers: Doneen Arquines, Daniel Cutforth, Casey Kriley, Jane Lipsitz, Hillary Olsen, Erica Ross, Tara Siener, Shealan Spencer
  4. Project Runway (Lifetime)
    Producers: Jane Cha Cutler, Desiree Gruber, Tim Gunn, Heidi Klum, Jonathan Murray, Sara Rea, Teri Weideman
  5. Dancing With The Stars (ABC)
    Producers: Ashley Edens Shaffer, Conrad Green, Joe Sungkur

The Award for Outstanding Producer of Live Entertainment & Talk Television:

  1. The Colbert Report (Comedy Central)
    Producers: Meredith Bennett, Tanya Michnevich Bracco, Stephen Colbert, Richard Dahm, Paul Dinello, Barry Julien, Matt Lappin, Emily Lazar, Tom Purcell, Jon Stewart
  2. The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon (NBC)
    Producers: Rob Crabbe, Jamie Granet Bederman, Katie Hockmeyer, Jim Juvonen, Josh Lieb, Brian McDonald, Lorne Michaels, Gavin Purcell
  3. Real Time With Bill Maher (HBO)
    Producers: Scott Carter, Sheila Griffiths, Marc Gurvitz, Dean Johnsen, Bill Maher, Billy Martin, Matt Wood
  4. Jimmy Kimmel Live (ABC)
    Producers: David Craig, Ken Crosby, Doug DeLuca, Gary Greenberg, Erin Irwin, Jimmy Kimmel, Jill Leiderman, Molly McNearney, Tony Romero, Jason Schrift, Jennifer Sharron, Seth Weidner, Josh Weintraub
  5. Last Week Tonight With John Oliver (HBO)
    Producers: Tim Carvell, John Oliver, Liz Stanton

The Award for Outstanding Sports Program:

  1. Real Sports With Bryant Gumbel (HBO)
  2. 24/7 (HBO)
  3. Inside: U.S. Soccer’s March To Brazil (ESPN)
  4. Hard Knocks: Training Camp With The Atlanta Falcons (HBO)
  5. Hard Knocks: Training Camp With The Cincinnati Bengals (HBO)

The Award for Outstanding Children’s Program:

  1. Wynton Marsalis: A YoungArts Masterclass (HBO)
  2. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (Nickelodeon)
  3. Toy Story OF TERROR! (ABC)
  4. Sesame Street (PBS)
  5. Dora The Explorer (Nickelodeon)

The Award for Outstanding Digital Series:

  1. COSMOS: A National Geographic Deeper Dive (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AkiFfAEB5M8)
  2. 30 For 30 Shorts (http://espn.go.com/30for30/shorts)
  3. Video Game High School Season 3 (https://www.youtube.com/user/freddiew)
  4. Epic Rap Battles Of History (http://youtube.com/erb)
  5. Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee (http://www.crackle.com/c/comedians-in-cars-getting-coffee)

What do you think?

Film Lover

Written by Clayton Davis

Clayton Davis is the esteemed Editor and Owner of AwardsCircuit.com. Born in Bronx, NY to a Puerto Rican mother and Black father, he’s been criticizing film and television for over a decade. Clayton is a member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association where he votes and attends the kick off to the awards season, the Critics Choice Awards. He also founded the Latino Entertainment Journalists Association, the first Latino-based critics’ organization in the United States. He’s also an active member of the African-American Film Critics Association, New York Film Critics Online, International Press Academy, Black Reel Awards, and the Broadcast Television Journalists Association. Clayton has been quoted and appeared in various outlets that include The New York Times, CNN.com, Variety, Deadline, Los Angeles Times, FOX 5, Bloomberg Television, AOL, Huffington Post, Bloomberg Radio, The Wrap, Slash Film, and the Hollywood Reporter.

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