Thursday, July 18, 2024

Producer’s Guild Chooses World War I Drama “1917” for Best Picture, Could Secure Its Academy Award


Sam Mendes’s masterful World War I drama “1917” won the Best Picture award at the Producers Guild of America last night. The PGA has been astute bellwether of the Academy Award in most years. But most is the main word here. There have been exceptions.

Other PGA winners included “Apollo 11” for Best Documentary, which wasn’t nominated for an Oscar after winning many awards this season. The Oscars and the PGA have disagreed for years on what is the best doc. It’s very strange. “Toy Story 4” was named Best Animated Feature.

HBO picked up three major awards, for “Chernobyl” and for “Succession.” John Oliver’s “Last Week Tonight” was best talk series, as usual.  HBO also won for TV non fiction film, for “Leaving Neverland,”a film that consists of two men claiming Michael Jackson molested them, with no fact checking, and no comments from anyone else except their avaricious parents.

In things that are televised, Jerry Seinfeld won Best Short Form Series for his “Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee.” Best comedy series went to Amazon’s “Fleabag.” Best reality series was “RuPaul’s Drag Race.” “Sesame Street” was best children’s program, for the thousandth year. Outstanding sports program was “Muhammad Ali: What’s My Name?”

There was no mention of Netflix in any category, which stings considering this was their big year. As for Amazon, I think they’ve severely undermined “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” by favoring “Fleabag,” a series that is now over and isn’t coming back. The “Fleabag” wins everywhere this year are only good for Phoebe Waller-Bridge. The whole endeavor was short sighted.

The PGA honored a few people, too, and deservedly: Ted Sarandos (Milestone Award); Brad Pitt, Dede Gardner and Jeremy Kleiner of Plan B (David O. Selznick Achievement Award in Theatrical Motion Pictures); Marta Kauffman (Norman Lear Achievement Award in Television); Octavia Spencer (Visionary Award); and the Lionsgate film, Bombshell (The Stanley Kramer Award). Director Jay Roach and stars Nicole Kidman and Charlize Theron were on hand for the latter. Roger Ailes would be so proud.

So is “1917” the Oscar winner for Best Picture? Ordinarily you might say Yes. But there are now ten days until Academy voters receive their ballots. A lot can be done for “The Irishman,” “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood,” or even “Parasite.” A lot of bloggers want “Parasite” to win but it’s a Korean movie from a small movie distributor (Neon). They feel it will cause an upset like “Moonlight.” We’ll see…

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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