1917 Takes PGA Top Prize, Positioned For Oscar Win

Director Sam Mendes’ World War One drama 1917 took top prize last night at the Producers Guild Awards.

By taking the Guild’s top film prize, 1917 is now positioned as the frontrunner for next month’s Academy Awards. Also at the awards show, Apollo 11 took home Best Documentary Feature and Toy Story 4 took the prize for Best Animated Feature.

The PGAs have been seen as a bellwether for who may clinch the top prize at the Academy Awards. In the 30 years of the PGA, their top winner has gone on to win the Best Picture Oscar 21 times most recently with wins for The Shape Of Water (2018) and Green Book (2019). But winning at the Producers Guild Awards is not always a lock for a Best Picture Oscar as in recent years PGA winners The Big Short and La La Land lost to Spotlight and Moonlight at the Academy Awards in the respective years that they competed.

While the road to Oscar gold does go through the PGAs, it is not the only guild award that serves as a predictor. Very often the Academy Award winner for Best Director is the one who helmed that year’s Best Picture recipient, and the Best Director Oscar winner often mirrors whomever won at the Director’s Guild Awards. For that prize, Mendes is up against Bong Joon-ho (Parasite), Martin Scorsese (The Irishman), Quentin Tarantino (Once Upon A Time In Hollywood) and Taika Waititi (Jojo Rabbit). In the 71 year history of the DGAs, only 9 winners have not gone on to win the Best Director Oscar.

The winner of the Best Ensemble Cast prize at the Screen Actors Guild Awards is often seen as another, although sometimes less reliable, indicator as to whom might win the Best Picture Academy Award, with the SAG Awards category matching up with the Oscar winner 11 times in the last 24 years. Still, the winner here could become the main competition for 1917 in the Best Picture Academy Awards race, as 1917 is not nominated in that SAG Award category.

For the Academy Awards Best Animated Feature category, the PGAs have predicted the winner ten out of the 14 years that they have had a separate animated feature category.

The Producers Guild Awards has a lesser track record of predicting the winner of the Academy Award Best Documentary Feature category, only correctly matching with the Oscars five times out of the 13 years that they have had the category. Furthermore, the PGAs have awarded their Feature Documentary prize to films that were not even nominated by the Academy seven times, including this year’s PGA winner Apollo 11.

The DGA awards are next Saturday, January 25, while the Screen Actors Guild Awards are to be presented tomorrow evening.

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About Rich Drees 7205 Articles
A film fan since he first saw that Rebel Blockade Runner fleeing the massive Imperial Star Destroyer at the tender age of 8 and a veteran freelance journalist with twenty-five years experience writing about film and pop culture. He is a member of the Philadelphia Film Critics Circle.
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