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PGA announces nominees

'Sunshine' in; Clint's pics out

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The Producers Guild of America on Wednesday announced as its best picture nominees “Babel,” “The Departed,” “Dreamgirls,” “Little Miss Sunshine” and “The Queen.”

But in a bewildering and wide-open kudos race, the most surprising thing about the noms is not the films included, but those excluded: Clint Eastwood’s companion films — Paramount’s “Flags of Our Fathers” and Warner’s “Letters From Iwo Jima” — along with Universal’s “United 93,” which are among the films still considered strong possibilities for a best picture Oscar nomination.

The PGA has predicted the eventual Oscar winner 11 times in its 17 years of voting. They differed last year with the PGA opting for “Brokeback Mountain” and the Academy choosing “Crash.”

The guild’s nominees for feature animation award are “Cars,” “Flushed Away,” “Happy Feet,” “Ice Age: The Meltdown” and “Monster House.”

Contenders in the TV longform race are “Bleak House,” “Elizabeth I,” “Flight 93,” “High School Musical” and “Mrs. Harris.”

The noms for “The Departed ” and “Sunshine” also highlight the question of producer credits.

In its announcement Wednesday, the PGA listed only Graham King as a producer on “The Departed” even though Brad Grey and Brad Pitt are also listed as producers in the film’s credits. King was tapped as the pic’s sole producer following a PGA arbitration and appeal.

So only King will be listed as a producer should “The Departed” score a best picture Oscar nomination, since the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences follows the producer credit determinations by the PGA. King and Michael Mann won the PGA award two years ago for “The Aviator.”

In the case of “Little Miss Sunshine,” the PGA cited all five individuals credited onscreen as producers. (There are also two exec producers and an associate producer.)

The PGA has no limit on the number of producers on nominated films, but AMPAS has a maximum of three for its best pic nominees. So if “Sunshine” receives such an Oscar nom, the exec committee of AMPAS’ producers branch will have to decide which three of the five producers are credited.

AMPAS exec director Bruce Davis told Daily Variety the Acad will wait until after noms are announced on Jan. 23 to take the next step of narrowing down the number of producers, if necessary.

In such a scenario, the PGA would provide recommendations to AMPAS based on its own determination process, Davis added, and the exec committee of the producers branch probably would make its decision within a week. “It’s never a comfortable process,” he noted.

There are 487 members in the producers branch of AMPAS.

Producers of the PGA’s five nominated pics are Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, Steve Golin and Jon Kilik for Paramount Vantage’s “Babel”; Graham King, Warner Bros.’ “The Departed”; Laurence Mark, Par/DreamWorks’ “Dreamgirls”; Marc Turtletaub, David T. Friendly, Peter Saraf, Albert Berger and Ron Yerxa, Fox Searchlight’s “Little Miss Sunshine”; and Andy Harries, Christine Langan and Tracey Seaward for Miramax’s “The Queen.”

The PGA, with more than 3,000 members, will announce the winner of its Darryl F. Zanuck Producer of the Year kudos in its 18th annual ceremonies Jan. 20 at the Century Plaza Hotel in Los Angeles.

“The Departed” is by far the biggest domestic grosser, with $120.5 million, followed by “Little Miss Sunshine” with $59 million, the recently released “Dreamgirls” with $41.4 million, “The Queen” with $28.5 million and “Babel” with $20 million.

Nominated producers for the animated pics are Darla K. Anderson for Disney/Pixar’s “Cars”; Cecil Kramer and Peter Lord for DreamWorks’ “Flushed Away”; Doug Mitchell, George Miller and Bill Miller for Warner’s “Happy Feet”; Lori Forte for Fox’s “Ice Age: The Meltdown”; and Steve Starkey and Jack Rapke for Sony’s “Monster House.”

Longform contenders are Nigel Stafford-Clark, PBS/BBC’s “Bleak House”; Susan Harrison, George Faber, Charles Pattinson and Barney Reisz, HBO’s “Elizabeth I”; David Gerber and Clara George, A&E’s “Flight 93”; Bill Borden and Barry Rosenthal, Disney Channel’s “High School Musical”; and Elizabeth Karlsen, Pamela Koffler and Christine Vachon for HBO’s “Mrs. Harris.”

And the nominees are…

FILM
“Babel,” (Paramount Vantage) Alejandro González Iñárritu, Steve Golin, Jon Kilik
“The Departed,” (Warner Bros.) Graham King
“Dreamgirls,” (Dreamworks SKG/Paramount Pictures) Laurence Mark
“Little Miss Sunshine,” (Fox Searchlight) Marc Turtletaub, David T. Friendly, Peter Saraf, Albert Berger & Ron Yerxa
“The Queen,” (Miramax Films) Andy Harries, Christine Langan, Tracey Seaward

ANIMATED FILM
“Cars,” (Walt Disney Pictures/Pixar Animation) Darla K. Anderson
“Flushed Away,” (Dreamworks Animation) Cecil Kramer, Peter Lord
“Happy Feet,” (Warner Bros.) Doug Mitchell, George Miller, Bill Miller
“Ice Age: The Meltdown,” (20th Century Fox Animation) Lori Forte
“Monster House,” (Sony Pictures Animation) Steve Starkey, Jack Rapke

LONG-FORM TELEVISION
“Bleak House,” (PBS/BBC), Nigel Stafford-Clark
“Elizabeth I,” (HBO) Suzan Harrison, George Faber, Charles Pattinson, Barney Riesz
“Flight 93,” (A&E Television) David Gerber, Clara George
“High School Musical,” (The Disney Channel) Bill Borden, Barry Rosenbush
“Mrs. Harris,” (HBO) Elizabeth Karlsen, Elizabeth Karlsen, Christine Vachon

EPISODIC TELEVISION DRAMA
“Grey’s Anatomy,” Shonda Rhimes, Betsy Beers, Mark Gordon, James Parriott, Peter Horton, Rob Corn
“House,” David Shore, Katie Jacobs
“Lost,” J.J. Abrams, Damon Lindelof, Carlton Cuse, Bryan Burk, Jack Bender, Jean Higgins, Edward Kitsis & Adam Horowitz, Elizabeth Sarnoff
“The Sopranos,” David Chase, Brad Grey, Ilene S. Landress, Terence Winter, Matthew Weiner, Diane Frolov & Andrew Schneider, Henry Bronchtein, Martin Bruestle, Gianna Smart
“24,” Joel Surnow, Robert Cochran, Howard Gordon, Evan Katz, Jon Cassar, Michael Loceff, Michael Klick

EPISODIC TELEVISION COMEDY

“Arrested Development,” Ron Howard & Brian Grazer, David Nevins, Mitchell Hurwitz, John Amodeo,

Dean Lorey,Jim Vallely,Richard Day,Tom Saunders
“Curb Your Enthusiasm,” Larry David, Jeff Garlin, Robert B. Weide, Larry Charles, Tim Gibbons, Erin O’Malley
“My Name is Earl,” Greg Garcia, Marc Buckland, Henry Lange, Jr.
“The Office,” Greg Daniels, Kent Zbornak,
“Weeds,” Jenji Kohan, Roberto Benabib, Mark A. Burley

VARIETY TELEVISION

“The Ellen DeGeneres Show,” Ellen DeGeneres, Mary Connelly, Ed Glavin, Andy Lassner, Karen Kilgariff
“Late Night with Conan O’Brien,” Lorne Michaels, Jeff Ross, Tracy King, Frank Smiley, Daniel Ferguson
“The Late Show with David Letterman,” Maria Pope, Barbara Gaines, Rob Burnett, Jude Brennan
“Real Time with Bill Maher,” Bill Maher, Scott Carter, Sheila Griffiths, Dean Johnsen
“The XX Olympic Winter Games: Opening Ceremony,” Dick Ebersol, David Neal, Molly Solomon

NON-FICTION TELEVISION:
“The Amazing Race 9,”Jerry Bruckheimer, Betram van Munster, Jonathan Littman, Amy Chacon, Hayma “Screech” Washington, Evan Weinstein, Elise Doganieri, Mark Vertullo
“American Idol,”Nigel Lythgoe, Ken Warwick, Simon Fuller, Charles Boyd, Simon Lythgoe, Megan Michaels
“Dancing With the Stars,” Conrad Green, Richard Hopkins, Izzie Pick
“Project Runway,” Award Eligibility Under Appeal
“60 Minutes,” Jeff Fager

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