And the Oscar goes to… The Big Short?
On Saturday night, the Producers Guild presented the Adam McKay-directed film about the collapse of the housing market with its top prize, the Darryl F. Zanuck award for Outstanding Producer of Theatrical Motion Picture. The annual awards show has often been the best predictor of what film goes on to nab the Best Picture honor at the Oscars. In fact, in the past 10 years, its top winner has gone on to win the Best Picture Oscar eight times. Plus, every film in the past 10 years that won the PGA and also earned a screenplay and editing nomination from the academy (like The Big Short has done) wound up being the big winner on Oscar night.
Yet, when The Big Short’s name was announced, why didn’t the ballroom erupt in big applause? Even Dede Gardner and Jeremy Kleiner seemed shocked when their film’s name was called and took awhile to get up to the stage. Their partner Brad Pitt was not in attendance.
The film certainly has its ardent supporters within the academy — those who love the film’s bold stylistic choices and resonate with the outrage McKay conveys through his quirky, well-formed characters played by Steve Carell, Ryan Gosling, and Academy Award nominee Christian Bale.
In an awards season that’s been plagued with controversy and little consensus, perhaps The Big Short becomes the film the academy rallies behind. It didn’t earn the most academy nominations — that honor goes to The Revenant — but with nominations in key categories for a film that feels current and vital, perhaps The Big Short becomes the top choice.
According to one source, the voting tally on the PGAs was very close with five films vying for the prize, including Straight Outta Compton, one of three films that earned a PGA nomination but was snubbed by the academy in the Best Picture category. (The other two are Sicaro and Ex Machina.)
The Oscar jury is still out. Voting for next week’s Screen Actors Guild Awards closes Friday, and if The Big Short wins again, it might be unstoppable on its path to Oscar gold. Then again, it’s up against Spotlight. And concensus in a year like this one might be wishful thinking.
Few remarks were made during the evening’s proceedings about the bigger issue facing the industry: diversity. Mike DeLuca thanked academy president Cheryl Boone Isaacs for her quick implementation of new membership rules aiming to diversify the academy; Cheryl Hines made a joke about it when she presented her award, and Viola Davis referenced it when she introduced Shonda Rhimes as the recipient of the honorary Norman Lear Achievement Award in Television. Blackish star Anthony Anderson probably had the most pointed remarks of the night when quipped, “I’m the only brother up here accepting an award tonight or… in February.” Otherwise, the evening stayed on script.
The other big winners include:
Game of Thrones: Norman Felton Award for Outstanding Producer of Episodic Television, Drama
Inside Out: Award for Outstanding Producer of Animated Theatrical Motion Pictures
Amy: Award for Outstanding Producer of Documentary Theatrical Motion Pictures
Fargo (Season 2): David L. Wolper Award for Outstanding Producer of Long-Form Television
Transparent (Season 1): Danny Thomas Award for Outstanding Producer of Episodic Television, Comedy
The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst: Award for Outstanding Producer of Non-Fiction Televiison
The Voice: Award for Outstanding Producer of Competition Television
Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (Season 2): Award for Outstanding Producer of Live Entertainment & Talk Television
Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel: Award for Outstanding Sports Program
Sesame Street: Award for Outstanding Children’s Program
Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee: Award for Outstanding Digital Series