Sunday, January 23, 2011

Producers Guild: A King Sized Upset

This is huge. Last night, The King's Speech was awarded Best Picture by the Producers Guild of America (PGA), causing a major chink in The Social Network's Oscar hopes.

For those unaware, the guilds are the safest bet at determining what will take home the Oscar. Most everyone has heard of the Screen Actors Guild (which air Jan. 30), but there exists a guild for almost every branch of the filmmaking process, including writing, directing, and producing.

Since it's inception in 1989, the PGA has accurately awarded the future Best Picture Oscar winner 16 out of 22 times.  But despite their solid track record, they have been known to award some huge curveballs (Little Miss Sunshine over The Departed).

Does The King's Speech's big win change the Oscar race?  You bet your ass.  Which, to be honest, is kind of a let down.  The Social Network wasn't my favorite film of the year, but it was better than the familiarities of The King's Speech.

The catch?  Only members of a particular guild can vote in guild awards.  So only members of the Producers Guild (aka a bunch of old, white dudes) chose to award The King's Speech with its highest honor.  Whereas with the Oscars, every member of the Academy votes in every category.  That's what causes upsets.

At this point, the Directors Guild award will be a far better judge at handicapping the Oscars.  That guild has matched up to the Oscars all but six times since 1948.  Whatever happens, I'm glad there's some life back in the Best Picture race.

Awards Schedule
Oscar nominations: Tuesday Jan. 25
Directors Guild awards: Saturday Jan. 29
Screen Actors Guild awards: Sunday Jan. 30
Writers Guild awards: Saturday Feb. 5
BAFTAs: Sunday Feb. 13
Indie Spirit awards: Saturday Feb. 26
Oscars: Sunday Feb. 27

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