Producers Guild Doles Out an Unprecedented Tie for Best Picture

There seemed to be a bit of a sea change on Saturday night when David O. Russell’s American Hustle (Sony) took the Screen Actors Guild’s top prize, Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture, but last night, the Producers Guild of America (PGA) countered with their own choice for Best Picture… and it was a tie!

While other groups have allowed ties, the Producers Guild has never awarded one themselves and that’s what happened at the ceremony last night when both Steve McQueen’s 12 Years a Slave (Fox Searchlight) and Alfonso Cuaron’s Gravity (Warner Bros.) were named as the guild’s top pictures.

The other winners include Alex Gibney’s We Steal Secrets as top doc, Disney’s Frozen as animated feature, while the Sundance hit Fruitvale Station received the Kramer Award.

The Producers Guild awards have been given out since 1989, and they’ve become fairly significant in that the winner of their Zanuck Award for Feature Film has gone on to win Best Picture on Oscar night 10 times in the last 14 years. Having a tie definitely throws a spanner in the works because to keep their track record, one of those two tied movies will have to win on Oscar night… but then there’s also the fact that the Screen Actors Guild have gotten behind American Hustle and the actors make up the largest branch of the Academy.

On the other hand, the Screen Actors Guild have often done their own thing, like picking Quentin Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds in 2009 and The Help in 2011, so we probably can put more credit behind the PGA win and we’ll now just have to see which way the Directors Guild goes.

(An interesting tidbit is that both the PGA and SAG went with Little Miss Sunshine in 2006, even though it lost to The Departed for Best Picture on Oscar night.)

HBO’s “Behind the Candelabra” won for long-form television while “Breaking Bad” and “Modern Family” continued to clean up receiving PGA Awards in the drama and comedy series categories, while “The Voice” received a PGA Award for TV Competition. “Anthony Bourdain Parts Unknown” was awarded for non-fiction television while “Sesame Street” earned one for Children’s TV. (Seriously, how could anyone vote against Sesame Street?)

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