PGA Gets Everyone Worked Up About a James Bond Nomination That Isn’t Going to Happen

Every year, the Producers Guild includes a popular genre candidate among its nominations, spurring frenzy that MAYBE (MOVIE X) WILL GET AN OSCAR NOD AFTER ALL!!! “Star Trek” in 2010. “The Town” in 2011. “Bridesmaids” AND “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” last year. Clockwork.

So, predictably, when the PGA included “Skyfall” among its ten nominees for Best Picture over the weekend, out came the buzz. Never mind that, since Oscar balloting ended on Saturday, the PGA nominations had just about no time to affect Academy voters. Never mind that, again, the PGA loves to stick its neck out for money-making genre flicks (remember these are producers, so they tend to follow the money). Never mind that the PGA has never lined up exactly with Oscar since they expanded the Best Picture field.

If you keep those things in mind, the “Skyfall” nod really isn’t shocking at all. The latest Bond film was critically acclaimed and the first entry in the franchise to make $1 billion worldwide – exactly the kind of success the producers like to celebrate. In fact, I had thought that not only “Skyfall” but “The Avengers” would wheedle its way into the PGA nominations – instead, the producers found room for the double-indie combo of “Moonrise Kingdom” and “Beasts of the Southern Wild,” which I think is the bigger story here. Thanks to its SAG ineligibility, we had no idea whether “Beasts” was registering with guild members, but now we have a sign that the industry didn’t forget about Benh Zeitlin’s Sundance gem. I had been thinking that only one or neither of these early-year critical hits would be able to crack the Best Picture field, but now there seems to be just as good a chance that both will make it. Chalk up one more perplexing uncertainty to be solved with the Oscar nomination announcement on Thursday morning.

Rounding out the other seven slots in the PGA nominations were all the usual contenders. The Oscar selections seem pretty decisively settled at this point – the real Best Picture intrigue is going to lie in phase two, and who comes up a winner in February. Stay tuned for a bit more commentary on the Writers Guild nominations, but first check out the producers’ selections:

The 24th Annual Producers Guild of America Nominations for the Darryl F. Zanuck Award for Best Producer(s) of a Theatrical Motion Picture

  • Argo
  • Beasts of the Southern Wild
  • Django Unchained
  • Les Miserábles
  • Life of Pi
  • Lincoln
  • Moonrise Kingdom
  • Silver Linings Playbook
  • Skyfall
  • Zero Dark Thirty

 

The Writers Guild’s awards, are, of course, the most useless of guild precursors, given their tendency to disqualify any contenders that weren’t made under their rigid guidelines. This year, that meant that “Amour,” “Beasts of the Southern Wild,” “Django Unchained,” “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel,” “Les Miserábles,” “Seven Psychopaths” and more were ineligible from the get-go. For most of the contenders, that’s neither here nor there – Tarantino, for instance, hasn’t had any problems landing nominations in the past despite never joining the Writers Guild.

That did, however, allow a boost to a few fringe contenders. Two particular favorites of mine, “Looper” and “The Perks of Being a Wallflower” found room in the more limited field, for instance. Both are still definitely in play for an Oscar nod, although the Original Screenplay category has almost no wiggle room, considering that Tarantino is pretty much assured to reclaim a spot and the liberal thinking writers branch of the Academy will be more receptive than anyone to Michael Haneke’s latest. That’s what you get with this year’s embarrassment of riches. Regardless, a Rian Johnson nod remains one of my Oscar pipe dreams this year. What are yours?

65th Annual Writers Guild Award Nominations

Best Adapted Screenplay

  • Argo
  • Life of Pi
  • Lincoln
  • The Perks of Being a Wallflower
  • Silver Linings Playbook

Best Original Screenplay

  • Flight
  • Looper
  • The Master
  • Moonrise Kingdom
  • Zero Dark Thirty
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