'Horses,' 'Cast Away,' 'Chocolat' excluded

HOLLYWOOD — Film nominees for the Producers Guild of America’s Golden Laurel Awards — a key indicator for Academy Awards selections — skewed toward historic and coming-of-age dramas with “Almost Famous,” “Billy Elliot,” “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon,” “Erin Brockovich” and “Gladiator.”

High-profile candidates excluded from Wednesday’s announcement included “All the Pretty Horses,” “Best in Show,” “Cast Away,” “Chicken Run,” “Chocolat,” “O Brother, Where Art Thou?,” “Quills,” “Sunshine,” “Thirteen Days,” “Traffic” “Wonder Boys,” “Yi-Yi” and “You Can Count on Me.”

Winners of the PGA’s Daryl F. Zanuck Producer of the Year Award have gone on to best picture Oscars eight times in 11 years with “Driving Miss Daisy,” “Dances With Wolves,” “The Silence of the Lambs,” “Schindler’s List,” “Forrest Gump,” “The English Patient,” “Titanic” and “American Beauty” taking the top Academy Award.

The PGA differed with the Academy on “The Crying Game,” “Apollo 13″ and “Saving Private Ryan,” with best picture Oscars going to, respectively, “Unforgiven,” “Braveheart” and “Shakespeare in Love.”

The PGA said it is currently conducting its accreditation process for eligible producers in its four competitive categories. The org launched a campaign last year to limit producer credits to three per film or TV show but noted Wednesday that excluded producers on nominated projects may file a formal appeal.

Winners will be announced March 3 at the 12th annual Golden Laurel Awards at the Century Plaza Hotel in Los Angeles.

Nominees for the Norman Felton Producer of the Year Award in Episodic TV (Drama) are “ER,” “Law and Order,” “Oz,” “The Practice” and “The West Wing.” Nominees in the episodic TV comedy category are “Ally McBeal,” “Frasier,” “Friends,” “Sex and the City” and “Will and Grace.”

Episodic split

The PGA decided previously to split its episodic TV kudos into the two categories. “The Sopranos” won the single episodic award last year.

Nominees for the David L. Wolper Producer of the Year Award in Longform Television are “Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman,” “Fail Safe,” “If These Walls Could Talk 2,” “Nuremberg” and “Walking with Dinosaurs.”

Kirk Douglas has been tapped for the Milestone Award, Brian Grazer for the David O. Selznick Lifetime Achievement Award, David O. Kelley for the David Susskind Lifetime Achievement Award and Hall of Fame awards for “It Happened One Night” and “Lawrence of Arabia” in features and “The Honeymooners” and “The Andy Griffith Show” in TV.

“Fantasia 2000″ will receive the Vision Award for features while “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation” has been tapped for the Vision Award for TV.

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