Thursday, May 30, 2024

Oscar Wars Begin as “Gravity,” “12 Years” Tie at the Producers Guild


The Oscar race turns into a war among three big studios now as “Gravity” and “12 Years a Slave” tied for the win at the Producers Guild Awards on Sunday night. With “American Hustle” the winner of the Screen Actors Guild Best Ensemble, there is now a big studio war among Warner Bros., Fox Searchlight, and Sony Columbia.

A tie is a good enough surprise in a season when everything looked pretty rote at this point. The other big winners of the night were Alex Gibney’s Wikileaks movie as Best Documentary, “Modern Family” as Best TV comedy and “Breaking Bad” as Best TV drama.

There were tributes to Disney’s Bob Iger (presented by Robert Downey Jr) and TV producer Chuck Lorre (very amusing speech). There were also tributes to James Bond producers Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson, the daughter and stepson of Albert “Cubby” Broccoli. Stephen Colbert and chef Anthony Bourdain won in the non fiction category. “Keeping Up with the Kardashians” wasn’t mentioned or even nominated. “Duck Dynasty” lost to Bourdain. The republic is safe.

Some big names who turned up either in the audience or on stage in the Beverly Hilton Ballroom were Brad Pitt, Daniel Craig, Leonardo DiCaprio, Julia Louis Dreyfus, Forest Whitaker, Ron Howard, producer Jerry Weintraub and director David O. Russell.

The best presenters of the night were a tie between Kevin Spacey, who opened the show with a dead on Johnny Carson imitation; and “Captain Phillips” actor Barkhad Abdi. He said, “I am from Minnesota and I drive a limousine. Tonight I came here in a limousine. I did not drive it. Thank you, Hollywood.”

After winning the PGA, “12 Years” director Steve McQueen was having trouble holding back tears. Are you overwhelmed, I asked him? He nodded. “Yes.”

He wanted to know what a tie means. If only I knew. Sue Kroll, who has masterfully guided Warner Bros.’ “Gravity” to this moment, is tenacious and smart. The Fox people are too. The Sony people aren’t giving up.

What next? Directors Guild should go to Alfonso Cuaron for “Gravity.” The Writers Guild will split between “Hustle” as original script and — because “12 Years is ineligible– “Wolf of Wall Street” maybe for adapted. And February will beĀ  a long, long month until the Oscars on March 2nd.



Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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