Road to The Oscars: The PGA Awards Nominees are Announced

By January 5, 2016
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As a new year dawns and we start putting away our holiday decorations, a new season starts to come into sharper focus: Oscar Season (my personal favorite, of course).

December gave us the Golden Globe nominations, the Screen Actors Guild nominations and a slew of critic’s choice awards, but it’s often the various guild awards that give us a real clue as to how things will go down on Hollywood’s glitziest night of the year. The directors and writers guilds will be announcing their nominees for the best films of 2015 in the coming days and weeks, but today belongs to the Producer’s Guild of America.

The PGA Award (originally called The Golden Laurel Award) was established in 1990 and quickly became a barometer for what films have a shot at the biggest Oscar prize, Best Picture of the Year (when a film wins best picture, it is the producer(s) who gets the award). It’s such a good indicator, in fact, that the winner of the PGA Award has gone on to win Best Picture at the Oscars the last 8 years in a row (though 2013’s 12 Years a Slave shared the win with Gravity). All told, the PGA has correctly predicted the Oscar winner 19 out of 26 times.

So place your bets cinephiles, because the nominees for this years Darryl F. Zanuck Award for Outstanding Producer of Theatrical Motion Pictures are:

THE BIG SHORT
Producers: Brad Pitt & Dede Gardner, Jeremy Kleiner

BRIDGE OF SPIES
Producers: Steven Spielberg, Marc Platt, Kristie Macosko Krieger

BROOKLYN
Producers: Finola Dwyer & Amanda Posey

EX MACHINA
This film is in the process of being vetted for producer eligibility

MAD MAX: FURY ROAD
Producers: Doug Mitchell & George Miller

THE MARTIAN
Producers: Simon Kinberg, Ridley Scott, Michael Schaefer, Mark Huffam

THE REVENANT
Producers: Arnon Milchan, Steve Golin, Alejandro G. Iñárritu, Mary Parent, Keith Redmon

SICARIO
Producers: Basil Iwanyk, Edward L. McDonnell, Molly Smith

SPOTLIGHT
Producers: Michael Sugar & Steve Golin, Nicole Rocklin, Blye Pagon Faust

STRAIGHT OUTTA COMPTON
Producers: Ice Cube & Matt Alvarez, F. Gary Gray, Dr. Dre, Scott Bernstein

It’s an eclectic mix, with typical “old fashioned” picks, like Bridge of Spies, alongside a few more modern choices, like The Big Short and Straight Outta Compton. There’s also a healthy mix of blockbusters, like The Martian and Mad Max: Fury Road, and independent fare, like Brooklyn. Overall, it’s a very intriguing list, with a number of surprises: Sicario, which hasn’t garnered as much awards support as some predicted back in October, and Ex Machina, which came out last spring. Spotlight continues to be the front runner as we get closer to the Oscars, but there is a large contingent of film fans that will be excited that Straight Outta Compton is back in the mix, and I personally am excited for the recognition of Alejandro G. Iñárritu’s The Revenant.

As usual, it’s the exclusions, rather than the inclusions, that will spark conversation. Left off the list are Quentin Tarantino’s latest, The Hateful Eight, as well as the very well received Creed, not to mention the box office record-breaking Star Wars: The Force Awakens. The Rooney Mara/Cate Blanchett starrer, Carol, is also a notable omission, while the small indie, Room, may have lost it’s spot to Brooklyn.

With a maximum of ten slots available for Best Picture at the Oscars and a number of films which seem to be pretty much guaranteed nominations (Spotlight, Mad Max: Fury Road, The Big Short) there are more than a handful fighting for the rest of the spots.

In more recent years, the PGA has added other categories to the awards ceremony as well. The nominations for those are:

Outstanding Producer of Animated Theatrical Motion Pictures:

ANOMALISA
Producers: Rosa Tran, Duke Johnson, Charlie Kaufman

THE GOOD DINOSAUR
Producer: Denise Ream

INSIDE OUT
Producer: Jonas Rivera

MINIONS
Producers: Chris Meledandri, Janet Healy

THE PEANUTS MOVIE
Producers: Craig Schulz, Michael J. Travers

Outstanding Producer of Documentary Theatrical Motion Pictures:

AMY
Producer: James Gay-Rees

THE HUNTING GROUND
Producer: Amy Ziering

THE LOOK OF SILENCE
Producer: Signe Byrge Sørensen

MERU
Producers: Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi, Jimmy Chin

SOMETHING BETTER TO COME
Producers: Sigrid Dyekjær, Hanna Polak

The winners will be announced (along with those nominated in the television categories, which were announced last month) at The 27th Annual PGA Awards, set to be held on January 23, 2016 in Los Angeles.

Make sure to keep checking back for more updates — right here on GeekNation.

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Rachel Cushing
Rachel is a television editor by day and either a Jedi knight, vampire slayer, or elvish warrior by night. In between she makes time for movies, movies, and more movies (plus a few books, television shows, and then…more movies). When she’s supposed to be sleeping, she writes about movies as well, both here on Geeknation.com and on her own blog. Tweet her @RachelJCushing