Unprecedented result gives all three of the top Oscar contenders a big guild win this weekend, Steve Pond reports for The Wrap.
The Producers Guild of America Awards ended in a shocking and unprecedented dead heat on Sunday night at the Beverly Hilton Hotel, with “Gravity” and “12 Years a Slave” tying for the top film award.
Following the SAG Awards ensemble victory for “American Hustle” on Saturday night, the result means that each one of the top three contenders for the Best Picture Oscar emerged from the first weekend of guild awards with a key win. And it means that a tight, confusing race barely received any clarity at all.
Going into the show, it seemed logical to think that the PGA winner would become the Oscar frontrunner. The guild’s feature-film winner has gone on to win the Oscar for Best Picture 17 times in the 24-year history of the award, including the last six years in a row.
Crucially, the PGA followed the Academy when it expanded its best-picture field from five to 10 nominees – and the PGA is also the only other awards body that counts its final ballots in the top film category using the preferential system, which rewards consensus favorites.
Producers Guild victories for “The Hurt Locker,” “The King’s Speech,” “The Artist” and “Argo” were key signs that those films had what it took to triumph at the Oscars.
But by ending in a tie, the PGA only showed that this is indeed the closest Oscar race in years, and that none of the top contenders can be ruled out. Even “American Hustle,” the odd-man out on Sunday among the top three, has strong support among actors, who make up by far the largest branch in the Academy.
After seeing “Hustle” come out on top on Saturday, both “Gravity” and “12 Years a Slave” badly needed the PGA victory. The tie throws extra emphasis on next weekend’s Directors Guild Awards, where “Gravity” director Alfonso Cuaron is considered a slight frontrunner over David O. Russell for “American Hustle” and Steve McQueen for “12 Years a Slave.”
The following weekend’s WGA Awards will be less conclusive, because “12 Years a Slave” is ineligible and “Gravity” was not nominated – meaning that it’s likely this race will go down to the wire as a tossup.
Alex Gibney’s “We Steal Secrets: The Story of WikiLeaks” won the PGA Award for documentary feature, and “Frozen” was named outstanding animated feature.
On the television side, “Breaking Bad,” “Modern Family” and “Behind the Candelabra” added to their overstuffed trophy cases with more victories.
A number of honorary awards were also presented at the show. Robert Iger received the Milestone Award, Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli the David O. Selznick Achievement Award in Theatrical Motion Pictures, Chuck Lorre the Norman Lear Achievement Award in Television, Chris Meladandri the Visionary Award, “Fruitvale Station” producers Nina Yang Bongiovi and Forest Whitaker the Stanley Kramer Award, and Peter Jackson, Joe Letteri and WETA Digital the Vanguard Award.
Presenters included Ben Affleck, Barkhad Abdi, Steve Coogan, Benedict Cumberbatch, Claire Danes, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Michael B. Jordan, Jared Leto, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Lupita Nyong’o and Kevin Spacey.
For the original report go to http://www.thewrap.com/producers-guild-awards/