The 2013 awards season is starting to take shape. Today’s announcement from the Producers Guild Association of America starts the shift in the season from the critics’ choices to that of the industry at large. Last month, the Screen Actors Guild announced their favorite performance of the last year, but the PGA has one of the strongest track records – in its twenty-four years of handing out end of the years prizes, seventeen of their winners have gone on to win the Best Picture Oscar. The PGA is currently on a six year hot streak with the Academy Awards; the last time their pick differed from that of the Academy’s was in 2006 when Little Miss Sunshine earned the Darryl F. Zanuck Award for Best Theatrical Picture and The Departed won the Oscar.
One key thing to note with the PGA is that in 2009 when the Academy changed the number of Best Picture finalists from five to ten, the PGA followed suit and changed the number of their nominees per year; however, in 2011 when the Academy amended their rules again allowing for five to ten Best Picture nominees, the PGA stayed with a firm ten. In the past two years that wiggle room has allowed films like Skyfall, The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo and Moonrise Kingdom nominations with the PGA while missing out with the Academy. What’s important to note is that the PGA and the Academy essentially vote in the same fashion, which results in one of the reasons why they overlap so often.
Which makes today’s nomination announcement a somewhat important one within a season chock full of them. Frontrunners 12 Years a Slave, American Hustle, Captain Phillips and Gravity all sailed in on early promise, nabbing mentions, all but ensuring their positions as near locks for a Best Picture nomination on January 16th, but their were few surprises as well.
The nominees are:
- 12 Years a Slave
- American Hustle
- Blue Jasmine
- Captain Phillips
- Dallas Buyers Club
- Saving Mr. Banks
- The Wolf of Wall Street
Woody Allen’s Blue Jasmine, which for the most part has only been acknowledged for Cate Blanchett’s powerful leading performance this season, likely has the most to gain from the PGA nod, and surely must be deemed the most surprising. Also surprising is Dallas Buyers Club, which coupled with its surprising SAG Best Ensemble nomination a month ago, must surely be considered perhaps in better shape than previously expected – Dallas Buyers Club was expected to be actors only piece, much like Blue Jasmine. Also on the uptick is Saving Mr. Banks, which might have been considered down for the count after omissions from the SAG Awards and the Golden Globes (both organizations nominated Emma Thompson’s performance but nothing else). Auteur-driven passion films like Her, Nebraska and The Wolf of Wall Street further cemented their statuses.
In a year as crowded as this one, there was bound to be some casualties and not included on the PGA list include Golden Globe Best Picture nominees Philomena, Rush and Inside Llewyn Davis, SAG Best Ensemble finalists August: Osage County and Lee Daniels’ The Butler as well as critically lauded contenders like All is Lost, Before Midnight, Enough Said, Frances Ha and Fruitvale Station.
The winner will be announced on January 19th, a mere three days after the Oscar nominations are announced.