Nomadland locks Oscar frontrunner status as producers name best films of the year
Hollywood's top producers have narrowed the Oscar race for key contenders vying for Academy glory.
Celebrities like Nicole Kidman, Riz Ahmed, Gal Gadot, Mindy Kaling, and more helped the Producers Guild of America — one of the most important precursor bodies on the awards circuit — present its annual awards for the best films of the year on Wednesday night, solidifying Nomadland's standing as the top contender to take Best Picture at the April 25 Oscars.
Chloé Zhao's critically lauded drama — starring Frances McDormand as a woman drifting through the American wilderness in her van — took the PGA Awards' top honor on Wednesday night, adding yet another precursor victory to its packed awards season mantle following similar victories at the Golden Globes, Critics Choice Awards, and more.
In addition to Nomadland, Soul and My Octopus Teacher moved ahead in their respective Animated Feature and Documentary Feature Oscar races with PGA victories. On the television side, The Crown, Schitt's Creek, The Queen's Gambit, and RuPaul's Drag Race continued their dominance on the awards trail with PGA wins as well.
The 7,000-strong PGA guild represents film, TV, and new media producers and, alongside the Directors Guild of America and the Screen Actors Guild, is regarded as one of the most influential and important precursor voting bodies. As is the case with the DGA, SAG, and the British Academy of Film and Television Arts, the group's members largely spill over into the Academy's voting rank, meaning Nomadland's win is, statistically, good news for all involved with the project.
Since the group's first ceremony that honored films released in 1989, all of the PGA's winners for Best Theatrical Motion Picture have gone on to either win (21 titles) or be nominated (the remaining 11, including last year's 1917 and 2013's Gravity, which tied with 12 Years a Slave in 2014) for the Academy Award for Best Picture.
The PGA is also considered a strong foreteller of Academy thanks to its adoption of the preferential ballot voting style. After the Academy and the PGA expanded their respective number of nomination slots for their respective top awards in 2009, the PGA has typically nominated between seven and nine (out of 10 total PGA nominees versus the Academy's sliding scale between five and 10) movies per year that end up with a Best Picture nod at the Oscars. Last year, nine of the PGA's 10 nominees appeared among all of the Academy's nine Best Picture nomination slots, as determined by the preferential rank.
This year, seven Best Picture nominees received PGA nods prior to the March 15 Oscar nominations, with Ma Rainey's Black Bottom, One Night in Miami, and Borat Subsequent Moviefilm bagging PGA recognition that didn't spill over into the Academy's Best Picture bracket.
See the full list of 2021 PGA Awards winners below, and be sure to keep up with EW's comprehensive Oscar race coverage at The Awardist.
Darryl F. Zanuck Award for Outstanding Producer of Theatrical Motion Pictures:
Borat Subsequent Moviefilm
Judas and the Black Messiah
Ma Rainey's Black Bottom
One Night in Miami...
Promising Young Woman
Sound of Metal
The Trial of the Chicago 7
Award for Outstanding Producer of Animated Theatrical Motion Pictures:
The Croods: A New Age
Over the Moon
Award for Outstanding Producer of Documentary Motion Pictures:
David Attenborough: A Life on Our Planet
Dick Johnson Is Dead
WINNER: My Octopus Teacher
A Thousand Cuts
Norman Felton Award for Outstanding Producer of Episodic Television — Drama
Better Call Saul
WINNER: The Crown
Danny Thomas Award for Outstanding Producer of Episodic Television — Comedy
Curb Your Enthusiasm
The Flight Attendant
WINNER: Schitt's Creek
What We Do in the Shadows
David L. Wolper Award for Outstanding Producer of Limited Series Television:
I May Destroy You
WINNER: The Queen's Gambit
Award for Oustanding Producer of Televised or Streamed Motion Pictures:
Dolly Parton's Christmas on the Square
Jane Gooddall: The Hope
What the Constitution Means to Me
Award for Outstanding Producer of Non-Fiction Television:
WINNER: The Last Dance
Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem, and Madness
Award for Outstanding Producer of Live Entertainment & Talk Television:
8:46 - Dave Chappelle
The Daily Show With Trevor Noah
WINNER: Last Week Tonight With John Oliver
The Late Show With Stephen Colbert
Saturday Night Live
Award for Outstanding Producer of Game & Competition Television:
The Amazing Race
The Masked Singer
WINNER: RuPaul's Drag Race
Check out more from EW's The Awardist, featuring exclusive interviews, analysis, and our podcast diving into all the highlights from the year's best films.