“La La Land” won the Producers Guild award last night, and headed to the Oscars. But the Beverly Hilton ballroom was abuzz with talk about Donald Trump and his odious immigration law. Singer and “La La Land” star John Legend introduced the winning film eloquently:
“This is a film about love and dreams and about this lovely city of Los Angeles. So many immigrants, creative people and dreamers live here. We are the voice and face of America, our America is big and free and open to dreamers of all races and religions. Our version of America is directly antithetical to President Trump’s. I want to specifically tonight reject his vision and affirm an America which has to better than that. My wife and I were conflicted even coming here with all the protests going on at the airports. So we made a donation to the ACLU. There is money and power in this room, so please use it and stand up for what is right.”
Earlier, producer Mark Burnett was booed when he won an award for “The Voice.” There was no applause for this Trump backer.
Director/writer Kathryn Bigelow gave the Visionary award to producer Megan Ellison (daughter of Oracle billionaire Larry Ellison) for her socially aware work. Megan noted, “The scariest thing we can do now is shut up.”
Irwin Winkler, famed producer of movies from Martin Scorsese and Sylvester Stallone, accepted a Lifetime Achievement award from Scorsese and Robert DeNiro. Keeping with the theme of the night, Winkler recalled his grandfather’s entrance to this country through Ellis Island and commented, “we are all refugees.”
“Stranger Things,” was the winner for best drama for TV.
To say the PGA was packed with VIPS is an understatement. Studio heads from Ron Meyer, Alan Horn, Tom Rothman, Chris Defaria (soon to be the new head of Dreamworks Animation) along with Amy Pascal, Donald De Line, Charles Roven, PGA Presidents Lori McCreary and Gary Lucchesi and PGA National Executive Director Vance Van Petten, along with past PGA Presidents Mark Gordon, Hawk Koch and Marshall Herskovitz represented the industry.
Stars were aplenty: including Matt Damon, Amy Adams, Casey Affleck, Jeff Bridges, Lily Collins, Common, James Corden, Hugh Jackman, Nicole Kidman and Keith Urban, Kerry Washington, Octavia Spencer, Joel Edgerton, Marilu Henner, Denzel Washington, Pharrell Williamsm Taraji P. Henson, Janelle Monae, Sarah Paulson, James Corden, Rami Malek Thandie Newton and many more. On the the second tier, “Moonlight” was next to “Kubo and the Strings,” which was next to “La La Land,” which was next to “Manchester By the Sea.” All the talent were schmoozing each other and everyone was approachable. The disgust at Trump was a theme throughout the evening.
Colin Firth accepted the Stanley Kramer award for his production company’s “Loving.” He said that he developed a “chaotic passion for the story of “Loving.” He quipped, “I am deeply committed to the vacuous entertainment, escapist froth, a glance at my career will tell you that. But Stanley Kramer has challenged us to use what we do for empathy and commonality. Now more than ever we look for stories that do that.”
James L. Brooks was given the Norman Lear Achievement Award in Television and received a standing ovation when he invoked Mary Tyler Moore,whose show he created. “Mary had dignity, with off the chart work effort, those legs and she made grace contagious. I want to give you all a chance to pay tribute to her.”
Robert DeNiro told a story of when he, Scorsese, and Winkler were making “Mean Streets.” He wanted to go to Italy to do prepare. So he went to Irwin to ask permission, to which Irwin said no. “DeNiro then noted, “I remember him saying fuck you. So of course I went anyway.” DeNiro ended the night with a joke about his latest film “The Comedian”: “The IMDB lists 29 producers. If any of you are here I haven’t met, come up to me and introduce yourself.”