GREEN BOOK won Best Picture at the PGA Awards Saturday night, mostly ensuring its Oscar win. There have been notable exceptions though, in the last 3 years the PGA and the Academy did differ. The PGA’s 2015’s awards show saw “The Big Short” winning although the Oscar went to “Spotlight.” In 2016, “La La Land” took top PGA honors, with the Oscar going to “Moonlight.” So in its 29 year history, PGA has picked the winner 20 times, 21 in a way as well as in 2013 “12 Years a Slave,” and “Gravity” tied for PGA honor, with “12 Years” winning the Oscar. Peter Farrelly’s wonderful story of two unlikely friends deserves all its accolades.
Among the VIP’s were Universal’s Ron Meyer, Warner’s Kevin Tsujihara, Disney’s Alan Horn and brimming with executives, agents, and celebrities. Bradley Cooper chatting with Michael Bay, the Beverly Hilton’s International Ballroom was the room to be in.
The “Green’s Book” win did illicit a surprise from the crowd, and none was more thrilled than the film’s director, Farrelly. He remarked that, “This is my first PGA awards, really this is the first time I’ve heard of them. I’m so grateful to be in this business. It’s like Warren Buffett winning the lottery. When you make ‘Dumb and Dumber you don’t think you’re ever going to be here. Peter then looked around the star-studded room, commenting that Norman Lear and Jane Fonda were there. He explained that, “Cat Ballou” was the inspiration for “There’s Something About Mary.”
“Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” has won Best TV show comedy. Tony Shalhoub was the only member of the cast to join the producers on stage, as Mrs. Maisel herself, Rachel Brosnahan, was simultaneously hosting “Saturday Night Live” in New York.
“The Americans” won Best Episodic Television. Octavia Spencer presented the award to the winner for non-fiction TV which was the late Anthony Bourdain’s show. His producers gave a poignant speech in his honor. “The Assassination of Gianni Versace” garnered the Best Limited series Television award.
Robert Downey Jr. presented the David O. Selznick award to Marvel head Kevin Feige. Downey said “Kevin 12 years ago met me on high insurance risk mountain and told me I was Tony Stark. ” Then he roasted him a bit. “He’s a nice guy and a handsome one when he’s not dressed like an umpire, which is never.” Kevin then thanked the late Stan Lee “for providing the foundation for everything we do.”
Sterling K Brown then introduced a clip from “Black Panther” followed by John David Washington introducing a clip from “Blackklansman.” “Gilmore Girls” star Lauren Graham presented the Norman Lear award to Amy Sherman Palladino. Amy quipped “A prize and dinner. A favorite Saturday night for a Jewish girl. Norman Lear is a god to me and all comedy writers. He fights for the story and the voice. Norman taught us to spread the wealth that’s the legacy he taught me to take care of my group.”
Norman Lear, age 96, then went on to give the Visionary award to his friend “Blackish” creator Kenya Barris. Norman, the master of the moment said: “How the fuck can a man prepare for this?” Then he asked, to laughs: “Do you know how many evenings I’ve spent in this room? Thousands. But is this is the most delicious.” He pointed to Amy Sherman Palladino. “I treasure what you said. Laughter has added years to my life and this evening has added on to that so you’ll see me for many more.”
Barris responded: “Norman is my boy. We talk, we hang. I’m the most surprised in this room that I’m here. Coming where I came from. Norman is the reason I’m here. He made a kid from the hood feel seen.”
Jane Fonda won the Stanley Kramer Lifetime Achievement Award which was presented to her by her good friends Ted Danson and Mary Steenburgen. Jane is an established Producer; she produced a series of hit movies in the 70s and 80s including Best Picture “On Golden Pond.”
Jane was in top spirits, exuberant and clever. “The food is unusually good; I think it’s because women organized this.” She observed that nearly half of the PGA members are women. “And that’s really important, we don’t have our masculinity to prove.” She also said she liked Ted’s show, “The Good Place.” “It’s a guilty pleasure.”
Bradley Cooper presented the Milestone Achievement Award to one of the Warner Bros. chiefs. Toby Emmerich. Toby’s brother, Noah Emmerich, won Best Supporting Actor in a Drama last week at the Critics Choice for “The Americans.” Cooper thanked Emmerich for letting him change the ending of “A Star is Born” halfway through the shoot.
“Spider Man: Into the Spider Verse” won Best Animated Feature. Amy Pascal was among the Producers.
The Mister Rogers doc “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?” won best documentary for theatrical motion pictures. Director Morgan Neville is on track for his second Oscar.
RuPaul’s Drag Race won for Best Game & Competition Television.
Jerry Seinfeld won for short form program for our beloved “Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee.”
Ben Stiller had a funny moment when after the “In Memoriam” segment, where Penny Marshall and Craig Zadan got the most applause, he sarcastically thanked for the PGA for putting him after that. “Ah death,” he noted with his signature smirk.
Jane Fonda, of course, had the best line of the night after acknowledging that she knew many of the men the awards were named after. “It is fun to be old, it is so hard to be young.”