When “The Artist” took the Producers Guild of America’s Darryl F. Zanuck Award on Saturday evening, it marked the first major guild victory for the black-and-white silent film, which is also expected to earn multiple Academy Award nominations Tuesday morning.
The pic is showing strength in an Oscar race that has been characterized by a lack of clear-cut frontrunners, topping nine other PGA-nommed titles: “Bridesmaids,” “The Descendants,” “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo,” “The Help,” “Hugo,” “The Ides of March,” “Midnight in Paris,” “Moneyball” and “War Horse.”
While 15 of the last 22 PGA winners have gone on to win the Oscar for best picture — including the last four years, with “The King’s Speech,” “The Hurt Locker,” “Slumdog Millionaire” and “No Country for Old Men” — the race is far from over. Following Tuesday’s Oscar noms, the Directors Guild of America and the Screen Actors Guild will hold their annual ceremonies over the weekend. “The Artist” was nominated for both DGA and SAG Awards, whose results are closely watched on the road to the Oscars because the membership of both orgs overlap significantly with that of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences.
Although both the 5,000-member PGA (the org used the kudos to announce Brad Pitt as its 5,000th member) and the 5,783-member Academy use a preferential voting system, the Producers Guild selected 10 films as contenders for the third consecutive year, but the Acad’s choices on Tuesday will be, for the first time, variable between five and 10 films for best picture.
Technicalities aside, there’s no doubt that “The Artist” has had an awards-filled few weeks. The PGA win for producer Thomas Langmann came six days after the pic won the Golden Globe for best comedy-musical.
The ceremony Saturday night at the Beverly Hilton also recognized Steven Spielberg with two trophies — the animated film kudo for “The Adventures of Tintin,” along with longtime producing partner Kathleen Kennedy and Peter Jackson; and the David O. Selznick Achievement Award in Theatrical Motion Pictures.
“Steven has never forgotten what it’s like to sit in a theater,” said DreamWorks Animation topper Jeffrey Katzenberg in presenting the kudo.
In accepting the Selznick award, Spielberg said: “For every film and television show nominated tonight, someone reached out and gave a hand. I am grateful to feel all of yours holding mine right now.”
“Tintin” also won the Golden Globe last weekend.
“Beats, Rhymes and Life: The Travels of a Tribe Called Quest” won the documentary feature award for actor Michael Rapaport, Edward Parks, Frank Mele and Debra Koffler. “My leg is shaking right now,” said a stunned Rapaport.
For television, HBO’s “Boardwalk Empire” took the Norman Felton award for TV drama; AMC’s “Mad Men” had won three years in a row. ABC laffer “Modern Family” won the Danny Thomas episodic comedy award for the second consecutive year.
CBS reality mainstay “The Amazing Race” drew the nod for competition TV, and PBS’ “American Masters” took the nonfiction TV kudo. PBS also scored with “Downton Abbey,” which picked up the David L. Wolper award for longform TV for producers Julian Fellowes, Nigel Marchant and Gareth Neame.
Previously announced kudos included the Milestone Award to CBS topper Leslie Moonves, presented by George Clooney; the Vanguard Award to Stan Lee, presented by Tobey Maguire; the Norman Lear Achievement Award in Television to Don Mischer, preceded by a well-received clip of Mischer worrying about the Olympic torch going out during the 2002 games; and the Stanley Kramer Award to Angelina Jolie, who received the nod for her feature directorial debut, “In the Land of Blood and Honey.”
Morgan Freeman presented the Kramer award to Jolie, who lauded the participants in her film for being willing to recapture the horrors they suffered during the war in Bosnia. “It took great bravery and personal hardship for them to tell their story,” she said. “But they did so so that in years to come someone will not be accepting an award for a war that is happening now.”
The PGA event also included performances by Alicia Keys of “Empire State of Mind” and “No One.”
AND THE WINNERS ARE:
Darryl F. Zanuck Producer of the Year Award in Theatrical Motion Pictures:
“The Artist” – Producer: Thomas Langmann
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
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)
The Danny Thomas Award for Outstanding Producer of Episodic Television, Comedy:
“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
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 Award for Outstanding Producer of Competition Television:
“The Amazing Race” (CBS) – Producers: Jerry Bruckheimer, Elise Doganieri, Jonathan Littman, Bertram van Munster, Mark Vertullo
The Award for Outstanding Producer of Non-Fiction Television:
“American Masters” (PBS) – Producers: Susan Lacy, Julie Sacks
“60 Minutes” (CBS)
“30 for 30” (ESPN)
“Sesame Street” (PBS)
“30 Rock Presents Jack Donaghy, Executive Superhero” (NBC.com)