In an awards season that has generated little consensus, this morning’s Producers Guild Award nominations seem to confirm what most pundits are saying: “The Artist,” “The Descendants,” “The Help” and “Midnight in Paris” are definitely in, while “Moneyball,” “War Horse,” and “Hugo” are close seconds.
There were only a handful of surprise noms, and they really weren’t terribly surprising, all things considered: “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo,” which is the only film of the list that didn’t get a Golden Globe nom; “Bridesmaids,” which seems to be not-so-stealthily continuing the momentum that started quietly at this year’s Emmys; and “Ides of March,” which didn’t wow the critics groups, but earned Globe noms for picture and star Ryan Gosling.
Certainly every guild that makes an announcement in the crucial post-Oscar ballot timeframe of Dec. 27 through Jan. 13 gets excessive scrutiny from Oscar watchers, who are looking for any clue as to which films might get a nod from the Academy on Jan. 24. However, producers are 450 of the 5,783 voting members of the Academy, a number that’s second only to the acting branch, which represents 1,172. If you assume that each film needs about 300 No. 1 votes secure an Oscar nomination, producers and actors combined break down to about five and a half slots. Sure, that kind of logic tries to turn math mumbo-jumbo and speculation into fact, but isn’t that what makes prognostication so much fun?
On the other end of the spectrum, there were several high-profile, awards-buzzy films that didn’t get mention from the PGA, which has pundits wondering what that means for a chance at an Oscar nominations. At the top of the list among notable omissions is Terrence Malick’s “The Tree of Life,” which has been lauded by critics for its existential meditations and excoriated by others for its self-indulgent, nonnarrative structure. However divisive the film might be, its cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezski has swept nearly every critics group award out there.
Other films that didn’t make the cut were “Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy,” for which star Gary Oldman has received favorable reviews but the picture itself has lost traction after the Globes and critics announcements; “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close,” which could still connect with Oscar voters but hasn’t gotten much recognition elsewhere; “Drive,” which is another critical favorite that has earned multiple nods for supporting actor Albert Brooks; and “J. Edgar,” which has a Globe nom for Leonardo DiCaprio and SAG supporting nom for Armie Hammer but has lost steam in the picture race.