Want to get a pretty good idea of what movie is going to win the Academy Award for Best Picture every year? See which one wins the equivalent Producers Guild Award.
The Producers Guild of America (PGA) is kind of the SAG (Screen Actors Guild) for moviemakers as it represents film, television and "new media" (the industry's way of referring to things like the still-befuddling Internet) producers in the United States. The organization, which was established in 1962 as a merger between the Screen Producers Guild and the Television Producers Guild (there was no "New Media" back then), currently has over 4,700 members.
Yes, there are apparently at least that many people out there making movies, TV shows, web series and the like, all vying for our now barely-there attention spans.
Anyway, it wouldn't be an entertainment organization if it didn't like to congratulate itself at least once a year, which brings us to the Producers Guild of America Awards. The PGA Awards were established in 1990 as the Golden Laurel Awards, created by PGA Treasurer Joel Freeman with the support of Guild President Leonard Stern as a way to honor the people who, well, make good movies and TV. It's a bit of an "insider" ceremony, sure, but it's also something of a secret weapon when it comes to predicting which film is going to win the Oscar for Best Picture a month or so later.
The PGA and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences have tended to mirror one another over the years when it comes to Best Picture, with the PGA often turning the tide away from what might have been that year's supposed frontrunner. In 2009, the PGA chose "The Hurt Locker" as the year's Best Picture over "Avatar," which had just swept the Golden Globes; indeed, the Oscars followed suit. This was especially notable because the PGA is, after all, a bunch of producers, so passing on what was on its way to become the highest-grossing movie of all time was something of a shocker.
In 2010, the PGA picked "The King's Speech" as the year's Best Picture over "The Social Network," which seemed to be the shoo-in; once again, the Oscars did the same. And in 2011, the PGA also made the call on "The Artist."
The ten films that are nominated for the PGA Award for Best Picture are listed below, eight of which are also nominated for an Oscar in the same category. Check the results of the 24th Annual Producers Guild Awards this Saturday if you're looking for which one to bet on in your office Oscars pool.
"Beasts of the Southern Wild"
"Life of Pi"
"Silver Linings Playbook"
"Zero Dark Thirty"