Guild announces picks for best in small and bigscreen

Opting mostly for mainstream studio titles, the Producers Guild of America has tapped 10 nominees for its top feature award — “The Artist,” “Bridesmaids,” “The Descendants,” “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo,” “The Help,” “Hugo,” “The Ides of March,” “Midnight in Paris,” “Moneyball,” and “War Horse.”

The PGA, which announced the noms for its Darryl F. Zanuck award Tuesday morning, will reveal the winner Jan. 21 at its awards gala at the Beverly Hilton.

The PGA list consisted largely of awards season frontrunners and contained only a few mild surprises in “Bridesmaids” “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” and “Ides of March.” Of the PGA nominees, only “The Girl with Dragon Tattoo” wasn’t named last month as a Golden Globes feature nominee.

Notable PGA exclusions included “50/50,” “Drive,” “Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close,” “J. Edgar,” “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2,” “My Week with Marilyn,” “Super 8,” “Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy” and “The Tree of Life.” “50/50″ and “My Week with Marilyn” receieved Golden Globe” nods.

Casts of “The Artist,” “Bridesmaids,” “The Descendants,” “The Help” and “Midnight in Paris” received SAG ensemble nominations last month.

Uni’s “Bridesmaids” and Disney/DreamWorks’ “The Help” are the biggest box office successes of the 10 PGA nominees with $169 million each in domestic grosses followed by Sony’s “Moneyball” at $74 million. The Weinstein Co.’s “The Artist” is by far the smallest domestic grosser at $5 million while the next smallest are Fox Searchlight’s “The Descendants” and Sony’s “Ides of March” at $40 million each.

The PGA decided in July to stick to 10 nominees for its top feature award rather than following the revised voting procedures of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences, which revised its voting in June to a system that would result in between five and 10 best picture nominees each year. Oscar noms will be announced Jan. 24.

The producers branch of AMPAS has about 8% of the voting membership with 450 members out of 5,783.

Producer Letty Aronson, nominated for Woody Allen’s “Midnight in Paris,” told Variety that the pic probably resonated with PGA voters due to the universality of its theme and its $18 million budget.

“I think the PGA voters were impressed with the whole idea of finding a better time and place, which is a fantasy that everyone has,” added Aronson, who’s Allen sister and longtime producer. “And we accomplished it on a minor budget.”

A total of two dozen producers were tapped as PGA nominees: Thomas Langmann for “The Artist”; Judd Apatow, Barry Mendel and Clayton Townsend for “Bridesmaids”; Jim Burke, Alexander Payne and Jim Taylor for “The Descendants”; Cean Chaffin, Scott Rudin for “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”; Michael Barnathan, Chris Columbus and Brunson Green for “The Help”; Graham King and Martin Scorsese for “Hugo”; George Clooney, Grant Heslov and Brian Oliver for “Ides”; Letty Aronson and Stephen Tenenbaum for “Midnight in Paris”; Michael De Luca, Rachael Horovitz and Brad Pitt for “Moneyball”; and Kathleen Kennedy and Steven Spielberg for “War Horse.”

“This one means a lot to us,” Heslov said. “To get recognized by your fellow producers for an adult drama with a 12.5 million dollar budget, that was really just a labor of love, it’s just terrific.”

Horovitz, who began working on “Moneyball” nine years ago, said, “It’s a miracle when something turns out as well as you hoped it would.”

Historically, about 80% of PGA nominations also receive an Oscar nom for best picture. Last year’s list matched on nine of the 10 nods with the PGA with the only divergence on the PGA opting for “The Town” while AMPAS went with “Winter’s Bone.”

Fifteen of the 22 PGA winners have gone on to win the Oscar for best picture and have matched for the last four years with “The King’s Speech,” “The Hurt Locker,” “Slumdog Millionaire” and “No Country for Old Men.” Last year’s PGA victory by “The King’s Speech” represented something of a turning point in the awards season, which had seen “The Social Network” carry much of the momentum at that point.

The PGA winner last diverged from the Oscar Best Picture for the 2006 award when “Little Miss Sunshine” won while the AMPAS opted for “The Departed.”

It’s the third year in which the PGA, which has over 4,750 members, has selected 10 films as contenders, in following the lead of the Academy to expand the field from five slots. Both orgs use a preferential voting system for their best picture award.

The PGA’s selections of accredited producers have been used by AMPAS for the past four years as guidelines in determining the nominated producers in the Oscar best picture category, but the Academy has imposed a limit since 1998 of three nominated producers per film — although it did exceed that in 2008 when four producers were included for “The Reader” and in 2010 for “The Hurt Locker.”

Spielberg and Kennedy received another PGA nod on Tuesday in the animated category for “The Adventures of Tintin” along with the producers of “Cars 2,” “Kung Fu Panda 2,” “Puss in Boots” and “Rango.” “Toy Story 3″ won the award last year.

The nominees in longform TV included a trio of HBO titles — “Cinema Verite,” “Mildred Pierce” and “Too Big to Fail” — along with “Downton Abbey” and “The Kennedys.”

AND THE NOMINEES ARE:

Darryl F. Zanuck Producer of the Year Award in Theatrical Motion Pictures:
“The Artist” – Producer: Thomas Langmann
“Bridesmaids” – Producers: Judd Apatow, Barry Mendel, Clayton Townsend
“The Descendants” – Producers: Jim Burke, Alexander Payne, Jim Taylor
“The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo” – Producers: Ceán Chaffin, Scott Rudin
“The Help” – Producers: Michael Barnathan, Chris Columbus, Brunson Green
“Hugo” – Producers: Graham King, Martin Scorsese
The Ides of March – Producers: George Clooney, Grant Heslov, Brian Oliver
“Midnight in Paris” – Producers: Letty Aronson, Stephen Tenenbaum
“Moneyball” – Producers: Michael De Luca, Rachael Horovitz, Brad Pitt
“War Horse” – Producers: Kathleen Kennedy, Steven Spielberg

The Producers Guild of America Producer of the Year Award in Animated Theatrical Motion Pictures:
“The Adventures of Tintin” – Producers: Peter Jackson, Kathleen Kennedy, Steven Spielberg
“Cars 2″ – Producer: Denise Ream
“Kung Fu Panda 2″ – Producer: Melissa Cobb
“Puss in Boots” – Producers: Joe M. Aguilar, Latifa Ouaou
“Rango” – Producers: John B. Carls, Gore Verbinski

The David L. Wolper Producer of the Year Award in Long-Form Television:
“Cinema Verite” (HBO) – Producers: Zanne Devine, Karyn McCarthy
“Downton Abbey” (Masterpiece) (PBS) – Producers: Julian Fellowes, Nigel Marchant, Gareth Neame
“The Kennedys” (ReelzChannel) – Producers: Jon Cassar, Jonathan Koch, Stephen Kronish, Steve Michaels, Michael Prupas, Jamie Paul Rock, Joel Surnow
“Mildred Pierce” (HBO) – Producers: Todd Haynes, Pamela Koffler, Ilene S. Landress, Christine Vachon
“Too Big To Fail” (HBO) – Producers: Carol Fenelon, Jeffrey Levine, Paula Weinstein

The Producers Guild of America Producer of the Year Award in Documentary Theatrical Motion Pictures:
“Beats, Rhymes & Life: The Travels Of A Tribe Called Quest – Producers: Michael Rapaport, Edward Parks (*additional producers eligibility pending arbitration completion)
Bill Cunningham New York” – Producer: Philip Gefter
“Project Nim” – Producer: Simon Chinn
“Senna” – Producer: James Gay-Rees
“The Union” – Producers: Cameron Crowe, Michelle Panek

The Danny Thomas Award for Outstanding Producer of Episodic Television, Comedy:
“30 Rock” (NBC) – Producers: Robert Carlock, Tina Fey, Marci Klein, J
erry Kupfer, Lorne Michaels, David Miner, Jeff Richmond, John Riggi, Don Scardino
“The Big Bang Theory” (CBS) – Producers: Chuck Lorre, Steve Molaro, Faye Oshima, Bill Prady
“Glee” (FOX) – Producers: Ian Brennan, Dante Di Loreto, Brad Falchuk, Ryan Murphy, Kenneth Silverstein
“Modern Family” (ABC) – Producers: Paul Corrigan, Abraham Higginbotham, Steven Levitan, Christopher Lloyd, Jeff Morton, Jeffrey Richman, Dan O’Shannon, Brad Walsh, Bill Wrubel, Danny Zuker
“Parks and Recreation” (NBC) – Producers: Greg Daniels, Dan Goor, Howard Klein, Amy Poehler, Morgan Sackett, Michael Schur

The Norman Felton Award for Outstanding Producer of Episodic Television, Drama:
“Boardwalk Empire” (HBO) – Producers: Eugene Kelly, Howard Korder, Stephen Levinson, Martin Scorsese, Rudd Simmons, Tim Van Patten, Terence Winter
“Dexter” (Showtime) – Producers: Sara Colleton, John Goldwyn, Chip Johannessen, Robert Lloyd Lewis
“Game of Thrones” (HBO) – Producers: David Benioff, Frank Doelger, Mark Huffam, Carolyn Strauss, D.B. Weiss
“The Good Wife” (CBS) – Producers: Brooke Kennedy, Michelle King, Robert King, Ridley Scott, Tony Scott, David W. Zucker
“Mad Men” (AMC) – Producers: Jonathan Abrahams, Scott Hornbacher, Andre Jacquemetton, Maria Jacquemetton, Blake McCormick, Dwayne Shattuck, Dahvi Waller, Matthew Weiner

The Award for Outstanding Producer of Live Entertainment & Talk Television:
“The Colbert Report” (Comedy Central) – Producers: Meredith Bennett, Stephen T. Colbert, Richard Dahm, Tanya Michnevich Bracco, Tom Purcell, Jon Stewart (*additional producers eligibility pending arbitration completion)
“The Ellen DeGeneres Show” (Syndicated) – Producers: Mary Connelly, Ellen DeGeneres, Melissa Geiger Schrift, Ed Glavin, Andy Lassner, Kevin A. Leman II, Jonathan Norman, Derek Westervelt
“Real Time with Bill Maher” (HBO) – Producers: Scott Carter, Sheila Griffiths, Marc Gurvitz, Dean Johnsen, Bill Maher, Billy Martin
“Saturday Night Live” (NBC) – Producers: Ken Aymong, Steve Higgins, Erik Kenward, Lorne Michaels, John Mulaney
“The 64th Annual Tony Awards” (CBS) – Producers: Ricky Kirshner, Glenn Weiss

The Award for Outstanding Producer of Competition Television:
“The Amazing Race” (CBS) – Producers: Jerry Bruckheimer, Elise Doganieri, Jonathan Littman, Bertram van Munster, Mark Vertullo
“American Idol” (FOX) – Producers: Charles Boyd, Cecile Frot-Coutaz, Simon Fuller, Patrick Lynn, Nigel Lythgoe, Megan Michaels, Ken Warwick
“Dancing with the Stars” (ABC) – Producers: Ashley Edens Shaffer, Conrad Green, Joe Sungkur, Rob Wade
“Project Runway” (Lifetime) – Producers: Jane Cha Cutler, Desiree Gruber, Tim Gunn, Heidi Klum, Jonathan Murray, Sara Rea, Colleen Sands
“Top Chef” (Bravo) – Producers: Daniel Cutforth, Casey Kriley, Jane Lipsitz, Dan Murphy, Nan Strait

The Award for Outstanding Producer of Non-Fiction Television:
“30 for 30″ (ESPN) – Producers: John Dahl, Connor Schell, Bill Simmons
“American Masters” (PBS) – Producers: Susan Lacy, Julie Sacks
“Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations” (Travel Channel) – Producers: Christopher Collins, Julie Lei, Lydia Tenaglia, Tom Vitale
“Deadliest Catch” (Discovery Channel) – Producers: Thom Beers, Jeff Conroy, John Gray, Sheila McCormack, Ethan Prochnik, Bill Pruitt, Matt Renner
“Undercover Boss” (CBS) – Producers: Chris Carlson, Susan Hoenig, Eli Holzman, Sandi Johnson, Stephen Lambert, Allison Schermerhorn

News Programs:
“Anderson Cooper 360″ (CNN)
“BBC World News America” (BBC)
“NBC News with Brian Williams” (NBC)
“The Rachel Maddow Show” (MSNBC)
“60 Minutes” (CBS)

Sports Programs:
(*There was a tie, which is why there are six nominees.)
“Monday Night Football” (ESPN)
“Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel” (HBO)
“Sports Center” (ESPN)
“30 for 30″ (ESPN)
“2010 FIFA World Cup” (ABC / ESPN / ESPN2)
“U.S. Open Tennis Championship” (CBS / ESPN2 / Tennis Channel)

Children’s Programs:
“Dora the Explorer” (Nickelodeon)
“iCarly” (Nickelodeon)
“Phineas and Ferb” (Disney Channel)
“Sesame Street” (PBS)
“SpongeBob Squarepants” (Nickelodeon)

Web Series:
“Ask a Ninja” (blip.tv)
“The Guild” (WatchTheGuild.com)
“Parks and Recreation Presents: ‘April & Andy’s Road Trip’” (NBC.com)
“30 Rock Presents Jack Donaghy, Executive Superhero” (NBC.com)
“Web Therapy” (LStudio.com)

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