You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Credits flap darkens ‘Sunshine’

PGA, Acad producer rules differ

Who knew so much Hollywood unhappiness would be fueled by a little “Sunshine”?

Film credits have been under dispute for about a century now, with no sign of letup. But the flap over the “Little Miss Sunshine” producer credits has pretty much everyone — producers, the Academy and the Producers Guild of America — admitting something’s gotta give.

PGA exec director Vance Van Petten acknowledges the hot-button emotions involved (see accompanying letter). And he tells Variety, “We’re trying our very best to work hand-in-hand with the Academy to have absolutely identical rules and processes.”

Academy exec director Bruce Davis hints the 2-year-old nuptials between his org and the PGA needs serious marriage counseling.

“My thinking is that we need to straighten things out,” says Davis. “Either the two groups are going to have to synchronize their rules, or the Academy may have to go its own way.”

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences decided in 1999 that a maximum of three producers are eligible for a film. Since 2005, the Acad has used PGA research and guidelines in allocating credits.

But the PGA doesn’t have a cap on the number of producers honored for a film, and the Acad is recognizing only three of the five producers who accepted the PGA prize last month.

“If there are five people actually involved in producing a movie, there’s no reason why someone who’s made a good enough film to be nominated for an Academy Award should be precluded from being rewarded for the work they did,” says producer David Hoberman.

Lynda Obst, who has served on the Academy’s producers branch exec committee, disagrees.

“By and large, five people don’t make a movie,” she says. “If this is an exception, then it’s a sad situation. But you don’t destroy a rule for an exception.”

The “Sunshine” case marks the first real divergence between the PGA and the Acad since 2005, when the latter began relying on PGA recommendations to determine Oscar eligibility.

While the org has a three-person cap on producers, five screenwriters are nommed this year for both “Borat” and “Children of Men.”

Both the Acad and PGA admit some fine-tuning is needed, including convergence of a key discrepancy: The PGA and Acad have different rules regarding producing teams.

While the PGA acknowledges producing partners Albert Berger and Ron Yerxa as a single entity for “Sunshine,” the Acad doesn’t acknowledge teams, so it counts the duo as individuals. That factor is said to have weighed against them in the Acad’s decisionmaking process.

In 2005, the two bodies formed an official alliance and the Acad began relying on the PGA’s vetting processes and recommendations. Before that, the Acad arbitrated on its own, in many cases leaving it up to the producers to shave their own ranks down to three if there were four or more on a film.

That was the case on films including “Seabiscuit,” “Million Dollar Baby,” “The Aviator” and “Ray.”

The situation has become more complicated, however, now that the Acad officially relies on the PGA’s recommendations. And it’s more heated as producer credits have become a hot-button issue — witness Bob Yari’s legal wranglings over the 2005 “Crash” and Brad Grey’s appeals to both the PGA and the Academy for credit on “The Departed” this year.

Whether the two orgs can align their interests remains to be seen.

Obst points out another key difference: “The Academy has to deal with the Academy Awards, and that’s the difference,” she says. “The PGA is not televised.”

More Film

  • Malcom McLaren’s Son Joe Corré Preps

    Malcom McLaren’s Son Joe Corré Preps ‘Wake Up Punk’ Feature Doc (EXCLUSIVE)

    Malcolm McLaren and Vivienne Westwood’s son Joe Corré has voiced his opposition to a Sex Pistols feature film in the works, and is about to launch his own project, “Wake Up Punk.” The feature documentary will follow events after his decision to burn punk memorabilia worth millions of pounds. John Lydon has already tweeted that [...]

  • 'Alice and the Mayor' Wins Cannes

    'Alice and the Mayor' Wins Cannes Directors’ Fortnight Biggest Prize

    CANNES  —  French political drama“Alice and the Mayor” has won Cannes Directors’ Fortnight biggest prize this year, the Europa Cinemas Label award, given to the best European film in the section. Written and directed by France’s Nicolas Parisier, and his second feature after his debut, political thriller “The Great Game,” marked him out as a [...]

  • Loureiro’s Abano, Aragón’s Caribe Music Team

    Chelo Loureiro, Emilio Aragón Team on Animated ‘Valentina’ (EXCLUSIVE)

    CANNES – Spanish producer-turned director Chelo Loureiro of Galicia’s Ábano Producións has teamed with Spanish multi-hyphenate Emilio Aragón at Caribe Music to produce the upcoming animated feature “Valentina.” Valentina turns on a girl who is tired of having Down syndrome, and believes it to be the reason she’ll never be a trapeze artist. But Valentina’s [...]

  • Morelia Brings Four Shorts To Cannes

    Morelia’s Daniela Michel Presents Four Standout Mexican Shorts at Critics' Week

    Since 2005, the Cannes Film Festival Critics’ Week and Mexico’s Morelia Intl. Film Festival (FICM) have enjoyed a reciprocal relationship. Each year, a selection of short competition films from Morelia is shown in a special selection at Critics’ Week, with the features from the Cannes section screening five months later in Morelia. The short film [...]

  • Fedor Bondarchuk Drops Teaser for ‘Attraction

    Fedor Bondarchuk Drops Teaser for ‘Attraction 2’ (EXCLUSIVE)

    CANNES–Russian director Fedor Bondarchuk and his Art Pictures Studio have released the English-subbed teaser to “Attraction 2,” the sequel to Bondarchuk’s 2017 sci-fi blockbuster, which Variety has acquired exclusively. The director behind record-breaking Russian films such as World War II epic “Stalingrad” was in Cannes this week, where he presented footage from Art Pictures’ slate of upcoming [...]

  • Gkids Takes North American Rights for

    Gkids Takes North American Rights for ‘Weathering With You’

    CANNES–Gkids, the U.S. distributor of 11 best animated feature Oscar nominees, has acquired North American rights for “Weathering With You,” the new film from director Makoto Shinkai and producer Genki Kawamura. Gkids has set an awards-qualifying run for 2019 with a theatrical release in early 2020, in both the original Japanese and a new English-language [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content