“Birdman” has won the Producers Guild of America’s Darryl F. Zanuck Award for best movie — elevating its status as an awards-season front-runner since the last seven PGA winners have gone on to win the Best Picture Oscar.Fox Searchlight’s dark comedy, starring Michael Keaton as a washed-up film star, topped “American Sniper,’ “Boyhood,” “Foxcatcher,” “Gone Girl,” “Grand Budapest Hotel,” “The Imitation Game,” “Nightcrawler,” “The Theory of Everything” and “Whiplash.”
“Boyhood” had been the consensus favorite to win the PGA trophy — based on voting by more than 6,700 PGA members — with “American Sniper,” “Birdman” and “Imitation Game” pegged as the most likely to score an upset.
The award went to director Alejandro G. Inarritu, John Lesher and James W. Skotchdopole.
“They want me to talk so that I make you laugh with my bad English,” Inarritu said. “On behalf of all of us, our only ambition was to make a risky and experimental exploration of the cinematic language, of an artist’s complexity played by the incredible Michael Keaton.”
“I feel humbled by this,” Inarritu added. “All the films that are nominated have such an individual voice, the expression behind them, only the people who made them, could have made them.”
“Gravity” and “12 Years a Slave” wound up in a dead heat last year as both won the Zanuck award — the first tie in the PGA’s 25-year history for the trophy. The PGA uses the preferential balloting system employed for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for the Oscars.
The PGA’s Zanuck award has become a strong indicator of Oscar sentiment in recent years, matching the Oscar for best picture in 18 of its 25 years — including the last seven, with “12 Years a Slave,” “Argo,” “The Artist,” “The King’s Speech,” “The Hurt Locker,” “Slumdog Millionaire” and “No Country for Old Men.”
The PGA winner last diverged from the Oscar best picture in 2006, when “Little Miss Sunshine” won the Zanuck while the Academy opted for “The Departed.”
The producers branch of AMPAS constitutes about 8% of the AMPAS membership. When the Academy expanded the best-picture Oscar category to 10 nominations in 2010, the PGA followed suit with an expansion of the Zanuck nominations to 10.
The top TV awards went to the final season of AMC’s “Breaking Bad,” Netflix’s “Orange is the New Black” and FX’s “Fargo.”
“Breaking Bad” won the Norman Felton Award for top drama series for the second year in a row, topping “Downton Abbey,” “Game of Thrones,” “House of Cards” and “True Detective.”
“You only know that your show is a big hit when the location signs are stolen,” Bryan Cranston said.
“Life Itself,” the biographical film about the late Roger Ebert, won the PGA documentary award for director Steve James, Zak Piper and Garrett Basch.
Magnolia’s “Life Itself,” based on Ebert’s 2011 autobiography, topped “The Green Prince,” “Merchants of Doubt,” “Particle Fever” and “Virunga” — which was the only PGA nominee to also receive an Oscar nod.
FX’s “Fargo” won the David L. Wolper Award for longform TV. The drama — based on the 1996 film of the same name by the Coen brothers — topped “American Horror Story,” “The Normal Heart,” “The Roosevelts: An Intimate History ” and “Sherlock.”
Netflix’s “Orange is the New Black” won the Danny Thomas award for top comedy series. The win by the groundbreaking prison-set series denied ABC’s “Modern Family” its fifth consecutive award in the category. “Orange is the New Black” also topped “The Big Bang Theory,” “Louis” and “Veep.”
Earlier, “The Lego Movie” took the PGA’s top animated movie award — nine days after it was overlooked in the Oscar nominations.
“Lego” producer Dan Lin accepted the trophy from Reese Witherspoon and Bruna Papandrea. He gave extensive thanks, concluding with co-directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller and his family, and made no mention of the Oscar snub.
Warner Bros.’ “Lego” topped “Big Hero 6,” “The Book of Life,” “The Boxtrolls” and “How to Train Your Dragon 2″ in the first award of the evening ceremonies for the 26th Annual PGA Awards at the Century Plaza. “Frozen” won the PGA award and the Oscar last year.
“The Tonght Show Starring Jimmy Fallon” won the Live Entertainment and Talk Television award. NBC’s “The Voice” took the competition TV award.
Previously announced awards included HBO’s AIDS drama “The Normal Heart” as recipient of the Stanley Kramer Award, which honors raising awareness of important social issues; Lionsgate CEO Jon Feltheimer for the Milestone Award, and “The Walking Dead” producer Gale Ann Hurd for the David O. Selznick Achievement Award.
Brad Pitt, Dede Gardner and Jeremy Kleiner’s Plan B Entertainment received the Visionary Award presented by Norman Lear. Mark Gordon, producer of “Criminal Minds,” “Grey’s Anatomy” and “Ray Donovan,” received the Norman Lear Achievement Award in Television.
Jennifer Lawrence received the biggest laughs of the night with her intro of Feltheimer. “Jon has been in this business for longer than I’ve been alive – I love saying that,” she said at one point.
The nominations list (winners are boldfaced):
The Darryl F. Zanuck Award for Outstanding Producer of Theatrical Motion Pictures:
American Sniper (Warner Bros. Pictures)
Producers: Bradley Cooper, p.g.a., Clint Eastwood, p.g.a., Andrew Lazar, p.g.a., Robert Lorenz, p.g.a., Peter Morgan, p.g.a.
Birdman (Fox Searchlight Pictures)
Producers: Alejandro G. Iñárritu, John Lesher, James W. Skotchdopole WINNER
Boyhood (IFC Films)
Producers: Richard Linklater, p.g.a., Cathleen Sutherland, p.g.a. WINNER
Foxcatcher (Sony Pictures Classics)
Producers: Megan Ellison, p.g.a., Jon Kilik, p.g.a., Bennett Miller, p.g.a.
Gone Girl (20th Century Fox)
Producer: Ceán Chaffin, p.g.a.
The Grand Budapest Hotel (Fox Searchlight Pictures)
Producers: Wes Anderson & Scott Rudin, Jeremy Dawson, Steven Rales
The Imitation Game (The Weinstein Company)
Producers: Nora Grossman, p.g.a., Ido Ostrowsky, p.g.a., Teddy Schwarzman, p.g.a.
Nightcrawler (Open Road Films)
Producers: Jennifer Fox, Tony Gilroy
The Theory of Everything (Focus Features)
Producers: Tim Bevan & Eric Fellner, Lisa Bruce, Anthony McCarten
Whiplash (Sony Pictures Classics)
Producers: Jason Blum, Helen Estabrook, David Lancaster
The Award for Outstanding Producer of Animated Theatrical Motion Pictures:
Big Hero 6 (Walt Disney Animation Studios)
Producer: Roy Conli, p.g.a.
The Book of Life (20th Century Fox)
Producers: Brad Booker, p.g.a., Guillermo del Toro, p.g.a.
The Boxtrolls (Focus Features)
Producers: David Bleiman Ichioka, p.g.a., Travis Knight, p.g.a.
How To Train Your Dragon 2 (20th Century Fox)
Producer: Bonnie Arnold, p.g.a.
The LEGO Movie (Warner Bros. Pictures)
Producer: Dan Lin, p.g.a. WINNER
The television nominees are:
The David L. Wolper Award for Outstanding Producer of Long-Form Television:
The Long-Form Television category encompasses both movies of the week and mini-series.
American Horror Story: Coven & Freak Show (FX)
Producers: Brad Buecker, Dante Di Loreto, Brad Falchuk, Joseph Incaprera, Alexis Martin Woodall, Tim Minear, Ryan Murphy, Jennifer Salt, Robert M. Williams Jr., James Wong
Producers: Adam Bernstein, John Cameron, Ethan Coen, Joel Coen, Michael Frislev, Noah Hawley, Warren Littlefield, Chad Oakes, Kim Todd WINNER
The Normal Heart (HBO)
Producers: Jason Blum, Dante Di Loreto, Scott Ferguson, Dede Gardner, Alexis Martin Woodall, Ryan Murphy, Brad Pitt, Mark Ruffalo
The Roosevelts: An Intimate History (PBS)
Producers: Paul Barnes, Pam Baucom, Ken Burns
Producers: Mark Gatiss, Steven Moffat, Beryl Vertue, Sue Vertue
The Award for Outstanding Producer of Documentary Theatrical Motion Pictures:
The Green Prince (Music Box Films)
Producers: John Battsek, Simon Chinn, Nadav Schirman
Life Itself (Magnolia Pictures)
Producers: Garrett Basch, Steve James, Zak Piper WINNER
Merchants of Doubt (Sony Pictures Classics)
Producers: Robert Kenner, Melissa Robledo
Particle Fever (Abramorama/BOND 360)
Producers: David E. Kaplan, Mark A. Levinson, Andrea Miller, Carla Solomon
Producers: Joanna Natasegara, Orlando von Einsiedel
The Norman Felton Award for Outstanding Producer of Episodic Television, Drama:
Breaking Bad (AMC)
Producers: Melissa Bernstein, Sam Catlin, Bryan Cranston, Vince Gilligan, Peter Gould, Mark Johnson, Stewart Lyons, Michelle MacLaren, George Mastras, Diane Mercer, Thomas Schnauz, Moira Walley-Beckett WINNER
Downton Abbey (PBS)
Producers: Julian Fellowes, Nigel Marchant, Gareth Neame, Liz Trubridge
Game Of Thrones (HBO)
Producers: David Benioff, Bernadette Caulfield, Frank Doelger, Chris Newman, Greg Spence, Carolyn Strauss, D.B. Weiss
House Of Cards (Netflix)
Producers: Dana Brunetti, Joshua Donen, David Fincher, David Manson, Iain Paterson, Eric Roth, Kevin Spacey, Beau Willimon
True Detective (HBO)
Producers: Richard Brown, Carol Cuddy, Steve Golin, Woody Harrelson, Cary Joji Fukunaga, Matthew McConaughey, Nic Pizzolatto, Scott Stephens
The Danny Thomas Award for Outstanding Producer of Episodic Television, Comedy:
The Big Bang Theory (CBS)
Producers: Faye Oshima Belyeu, Chuck Lorre, Steve Molaro, Bill Prady
Producers: Pamela Adlon, Dave Becky, M. Blair Breard, Louis C.K., Vernon Chatman, Adam Escott, Steven Wright
Modern Family (ABC)
Producers: Paul Corrigan, Megan Ganz, Abraham Higginbotham, Ben Karlin, Elaine Ko, Steven Levitan, Christopher Lloyd, Jeff Morton, Dan O’Shannon, Jeffrey Richman, Chris Smirnoff, Brad Walsh, Bill Wrubel, Sally Young, Danny Zuker
Orange Is The New Black (Netflix)
Producers: Mark A. Burley, Sara Hess, Jenji Kohan, Gary Lennon, Neri Tannenbaum, Michael Trim, Lisa I. Vinnecour WINNER
Producers: Chris Addison, Simon Blackwell, Christopher Godsick, Armando Iannucci, Stephanie Laing, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Frank Rich, Tony Roche
The Award for Outstanding Producer of Non-Fiction Television:
30 For 30 (ESPN)
Producers: Andy Billman, John Dahl, Erin Leyden, Connor Schell, Bill Simmons
American Masters (PBS)
Producers: Susan Lacy, Julie Sacks, Junko Tsunashima
Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown (CNN)
Producers: Anthony Bourdain, Christopher Collins, Lydia Tenaglia, Sandra Zweig
COSMOS: A SpaceTime Odyssey (FOX/NatGeo)
Producers: Brannon Braga, Mitchell Cannold, Jason Clark, Ann Druyan, Livia Hanich, Steve Holtzman, Seth MacFarlane WINNER
Shark Tank (ABC)
Producers: Becky Blitz, Mark Burnett, Bill Gaudsmith, Phil Gurin, Yun Lingner, Clay Newbill, Jim Roush, Laura Roush, Max Swedlow
The Award for Outstanding Producer of Competition Television:
The Amazing Race (CBS)
Producers: Jerry Bruckheimer, Elise Doganieri, Jonathan Littman, Bertram van Munster, Mark Vertullo
Dancing With The Stars (ABC)
Producers: Ashley Edens Shaffer, Conrad Green, Joe Sungkur
Project Runway (Lifetime)
Producers: Jane Cha Cutler, Desiree Gruber, Tim Gunn, Heidi Klum, Jonathan Murray, Sara Rea, Teri Weideman
Top Chef (Bravo)
Producers: Doneen Arquines, Daniel Cutforth, Casey Kriley, Jane Lipsitz, Hillary Olsen, Erica Ross, Tara Siener, Shealan Spencer
The Voice (NBC)
Producers: Stijn Bakkers, Mark Burnett, John De Mol, Chad Hines, Lee Metzger, Audrey Morrissey, Jim Roush, Kyra Thompson, Mike Yurchuk, Amanda Zucker WINNER
The Award for Outstanding Producer of Live Entertainment & Talk Television:
The Colbert Report (Comedy Central)
Producers: Meredith Bennett, Tanya Michnevich Bracco, Stephen Colbert, Richard Dahm, Paul Dinello, Barry Julien, Matt Lappin, Emily Lazar, Tom Purcell, Jon Stewart
Jimmy Kimmel Live (ABC)
Producers: David Craig, Ken Crosby, Doug DeLuca, Gary Greenberg, Erin Irwin, Jimmy Kimmel, Jill Leiderman, Molly McNearney, Tony Romero, Jason Schrift, Jennifer Sharron, Seth Weidner, Josh Weintraub
Last Week Tonight With John Oliver (HBO)
Producers: Tim Carvell, John Oliver, Liz Stanton
Real Time With Bill Maher (HBO)
Producers: Scott Carter, Sheila Griffiths, Marc Gurvitz, Dean Johnsen, Bill Maher, Billy Martin, Matt Wood
The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon (NBC)
Producers: Rob Crabbe, Jamie Granet Bederman, Katie Hockmeyer, Jim Juvonen, Josh Lieb, Brian McDonald, Lorne Michaels, Gavin Purcell WINNER
The Award for Outstanding Sports Program:
Hard Knocks: Training Camp With The Atlanta Falcons (HBO)
Hard Knocks: Training Camp With The Cincinnati Bengals (HBO)
Inside: U.S. Soccer’s March To Brazil (ESPN)
Real Sports With Bryant Gumbel (HBO) WINNER
The Award for Outstanding Children’s Program:
Dora The Explorer (Nickelodeon)
Sesame Street (PBS) WINNER
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (Nickelodeon)
Toy Story OF TERROR! (ABC)
Wynton Marsalis: A YoungArts Masterclass (HBO)
The Award for Outstanding Digital Series:
30 For 30 Shorts (http://espn.go.com/30for30/shorts)
Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee (http://www.crackle.com/c/comedians-in-cars-getting-coffee) WINNER
COSMOS: A National Geographic Deeper Dive (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AkiFfAEB5M8)
Epic Rap Battles Of History (http://youtube.com/erb)
Video Game High School Season 3 (https://www.youtube.com/user/freddiew)