Earlier this evening, January 19, 2014, the Alfonso Cuarón-directed Gravity and the Steve McQueen-directed 12 Years a Slave shared the Producers Guild of America's Darryl F. Zanuck Award for Outstanding Producer of Theatrical Motion Pictures – in other words, the PGA's Best Picture Award. That's the first such tie in the PGA Awards' 24-year history.
A mix of adventure thriller and mother-love soap opera, Gravity was written by Alfonso Cuarón and his son, Jonás Cuarón. The Cuarón's film received ten Academy Award nominations, but failed to be shortlisted for its screenplay. Sandra Bullock and George Clooney star.
Based on the story of a free black man forced into slavery in the mid-19th century United States, 12 Years a Slave stars Chiwetel Ejiofor, Michael Fassbender, Brad Pitt (who also co-produced the film), and Best Supporting Actress SAG Award winner Lupita Nyong'o. Last weekend, Steve McQueen's drama written by John Ridley took home the Golden Globe for Best Motion Picture - Drama.
PGA Awards 2014 vs. Academy Awards 2014
There are only nine movies in the running for the 2014 Academy Awards. Nearly all of the PGA Award nominees made the cut, except for Blue Jasmine and Saving Mr. Banks. The one Best Picture Academy Award nominee not found on the PGA Awards' roster is Stephen Frears' British-made Philomena, in which Judi Dench stars as an elderly woman looking for the son whom, years earlier, she had been forced to give up for adoption.
It seems that the 2014 Best Picture Academy Awards' race is a three-pronged one, with front-runners 12 Years a Slave, American Hustle, and, several steps behind, Gravity vying for the top spot. The Directors Guild of America will announce its winner on January 25; Alfonso Cuarón is the favorite, as Gravity is seen as a Director's Movie. Last night, the SAG Award for Best Ensemble went to American Hustle, whose cast includes Bradley Cooper, Amy Adams, Christian Bale, Jennifer Lawrence, and Jeremy Renner.
A mix of crime, comedy, and drama with a “based on a true story” '70s setting, American Hustle was written by David O. Russell and Eric Singer. The generally well-received comedy-drama also received ten Academy Award nominations, in addition to winning this year's Golden Globe for Best Motion Picture - Comedy or Musical.
For the record, the other nominees in the PGA Awards' “Best Picture” category were David O. Russell's American Hustle; Woody Allen's Blue Jasmine, with Best Actress SAG Award winner Cate Blanchett and Sally Hawkins; Paul Greengrass' Captain Phillips, with Tom Hanks and Barkhad Abdi; and Jean-Marc Vallée's Dallas Buyers Club, with Best Actor SAG Award winner Matthew McConaughey and Best Supporting Actor SAG Award winner Jared Leto.
Also: Spike Jonze's Her, with Joaquin Phoenix and Scarlett Johansson's voice; Alexander Payne's Nebraska, with Bruce Dern, Will Forte, and June Squibb; John Lee Hancock's Saving Mr. Banks, with Tom Hanks and Emma Thompson; and Martin Scorsese's The Wolf of Wall Street, with Golden Globe winner Leonardo DiCaprio and Jonah Hill.
The PGA Awards vs. the Academy Awards
In the past six years, every single PGA Award winner has gone on to take home the Best Picture Oscar: Joel and Ethan Coen's No Country for Old Men, Danny Boyle's Slumdog Millionaire, Kathryn Bigelow's The Hurt Locker, Tom Hooper's The King's Speech, Michel Hazanavicius' The Artist, and Ben Affleck's Argo.
From 2004-2006, however, the PGA Awards and the Academy Awards were a total mismatch: Martin Scorsese's The Aviator (PGA) vs. Clint Eastwood's Million Dollar Baby; Ang Lee's Brokeback Mountain (PGA) vs. Paul Haggis' Crash; and Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris' Little Miss Sunshine (PGA) vs. Martin Scorsese's The Departed.
Since Driving Miss Daisy in 1989, seven PGA Award winners failed to take home the Best Picture Academy Award. Besides the three aforementioned titles, the other ones were Neil Jordan's The Crying Game (1992), which lost the Oscar to Clint Eastwood's Unforgiven; Ron Howard's Apollo 13 (1995), which lost to Mel Gibson's Braveheart; Steven Spielberg's Saving Private Ryan (1998), which lost to John Madden's Shakespeare in Love; and Baz Luhrmann's Moulin Rouge! (2001), which lost to Ron Howard's A Beautiful Mind.
Partial list of 2014 PGA Award winners
The Darryl F. Zanuck Award for Outstanding Producer of Theatrical Motion Pictures: (tie)
Gravity (Warner Bros. Pictures) Prod.: Alfonso Cuarón, David Heyman.
12 Years a Slave (Fox Searchlight Pictures); Prod.: Anthony Katagas, Jeremy Kleiner, Steve McQueen, Brad Pitt and Dede Gardner.
The Award for Outstanding Producer of Documentary Theatrical Motion Pictures:
We Steal Secrets: The Story of Wikileaks (Focus Features); Prod.: Alexis Bloom, Alex Gibney, Marc Shmuger.
The David L. Wolper Award for Outstanding Producer of Long-Form Television:
Behind the Candelabra (HBO); Prod.: Susan Ekins, Gregory Jacobs, Michael Polaire, Jerry Weintraub.
The Danny Thomas Award for Outstanding Producer of Episodic Television, Comedy:
Modern Family (ABC); Prod.: Paul Corrigan, Abraham Higginbotham, Ben Karlin, Elaine Ko, Steven Levitan, Christopher Lloyd, Jeffrey Morton, Dan O'Shannon, Jeffrey Richman, Chris Smirnoff, Brad Walsh, Bill Wrubel, Danny Zuker.
The Norman Felton Award for Outstanding Producer of Episodic Television, Drama:
Breaking Bad (AMC); Prod.: Melissa Bernstein, Sam Catlin, Bryan Cranston, Vince Gilligan, Peter Gould, Mark Johnson, Stewart Lyons, Michelle MacLaren, George Mastras, Diane Mercer, Thomas Schnauz, Moira Walley-Beckett.
Gravity photo: Warner Bros.