It’s Bruce Beresford I feel sorry for…— Robin Write (@Filmotomy) January 20, 2019
Many were painfully predicting Bohemian Rhapsody to nab the Producers Guild of America Best Picture award last night. Shivers. Others were hopefully picking Black Panther, BlacKkKlansman, or A Star Is Born, in an attempt to sense some normality in the awards race. How could Roma possibly win with this branch? Is The Favourite now The Forgotten? Or was the regretfully “safe” pick the 1989 film Green Book?
Let’s step outside for the moment.
It seems the Producers Guild Awards are often a reliable indicator of the eventual Best Picture Oscar winner. But how reliable? And how often? The two have matched 20 of the previous 29 times – that’s two thirds. And in the changing tides and broken rules of the last few years, that’s not a sure-fire thing.
In fact, in an awards race as open as this one, last night’s result might be the biggest curve-ball yet. Or maybe it means nothing at all. That Roma will still go on to win Best Picture.
Statistically, the PGA reflects the Best Picture line-up, and winner, more than most. But it is not a guarantee. Last year, when The Shape of Water won, pundits were still not predicting it for Oscar glory. Why the hold-back? It was not divisive. It was universally loved and / or admired. Three Billboards and Dunkirk were not going to win – for very different reasons.
The two year’s prior, La La Land and The Big Short were donned as favourites, but neither won Best Picture. Look at successive years when The Aviator, Brokeback Mountain, and Little Miss Sunshine took PGA, but not the Oscar – and that was with just five nominees. Tales of late Oscar surges, of Hollywood homophobia, of long overdue filmmakers. Whatever next?
And now, Green Book, our brand new PGA winner.
Green Book, which has been likened to Driving Miss Daisy, has taken the exact same path as that film so far: NBR, Comedy Globe, PGA wins. WGA could be next. But will Farrelly be snubbed on Tuesday? #PGAAwards #PGAwards #GreenBook— Erik Anderson (@awards_watch) January 20, 2019
So which of this year’s bunch could be the Boyz n the Hood, The People vs. Larry Flynt, Being John Malkovich, or The Diving Bell and the Butterfly? Where PGA does not translate to Oscars Best Picture, but does nab Best Director nomination. Bold, innovative, dark, international films swiped from the Best Picture race. Are the film producers bolder in their nominations than the Academy’s diverse, growing membership?
And who will score big with the Academy that are absent in the PGA list? See: Bugsy, The Thin Red Line, Traffic, or Gosford Park. What are the motion pictures that can bag a bunch of Oscar nominations that were not even on PGA’s list?
Perhaps a small film will bounce into contention on Tuesday without PGA. Like Secrets and Lies did, or Lost in Translation, Winter’s Bone, or Armour. There’s some indie gems that come straight to mind, and would certainly cool down the wild fires on Film Twitter.
Then there were films that PGA shortlisted, but AMPAS completely abandoned in the top two categories. The likes of Almost Famous, Adaptation, or The Dark Knight. Ensemble comedies, dark satires, or comic book movies. And just look at The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo – PGA and DGA nominated, but no Director or Picture nominee with the Academy. But Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close gets in. We’ll never truly figure this out, will we?
Where does Green Book really fit here? A Best Picture nominee without Best Director on the way to a Driving Miss Daisy win? Imagine just Farrelly getting in without the Picture nod? Yikes. Or will Green Book be shut out altogether? The irrational sample from Twitter have made their thoughts known. And for some, felt it was their role to put us in our place, even if their own expert article revealed nothing new.
The anti-GREEN BOOK contingent is over the top/not accomplishing anything. It’s a nice old-fashioned movie with a positive message. You don’t have to like everything about it or the people behind it, and you don’t have to vote for it, but don’t act like it’s the end of the world.— Scott Feinberg (@ScottFeinberg) January 20, 2019
As much as you can dismiss Film Twitter as a black hole of negative out-pours, there’s likely more rage from being told what to feel in such a pompous way, than seeing a film you don’t rate score well during awards season. And tweeting it is only being part of the bedlam. Trying to establish a huge divide between Film Twitter and Hollywood, and that they do not integrate, is quite frankly redundant. Both groups are essentially circuses – they just have varying types of clowns.
And in my view, the issues with Green Book go beyond the Muslim comments and race depiction and penis flashing. To say those things haven’t dented the film’s chances, with a smug ha-ha-ha, is hardly a grand message. Green Book has this old-fashioned tag because of the fact that overall it is more wishy-washy, flimsy filmmaking than we expect in today’s cinema. I mean, “Thank you for writing the letters”. Gimme a break. All this does not make Green Book a poor motion picture, but yet again we find ourselves embroiled in an awards race with little guts or glory.
Anyway, plenty to think about. For now, here are the PGA film results from last night:
Crazy Rich Asians
A Quiet Place
A Star Is Born
BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE
The Dawn Wall
Into the Okavango
Three Identical Strangers
*Won’t You Be My Neighbor?*
BEST ANIMATED FEATURE
Dr. Seuss’ The Grinch
Ralph Breaks the Internet
Isle of Dogs
*Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse*