What will win the PGA?

Posted by · 12:07 pm · January 24th, 2009

Tonight, we will receive our biggest precursor pointer to date, as the Producers Guild of America becomes the first of the guilds to make its final pronouncement.

In case you’ve forgotten, the five films vying for the PGA’s top honour are “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button,” “Frost/Nixon,” “Milk,” “Slumdog Millionaire” — and the one nominee to fall foul of Oscar voters, “The Dark Knight.”

“Slumdog Millionaire” appears to be the safest bet, even if its producer, relative newcomer Christian Colson, is less of an industry insider than his fellow nominees. (After all, the field includes such popular figures as Kathleen Kennedy and Frank Marshall, and previous winners Brian Grazer, Ron Howard, Bruce Cohen and Dan Jinks.)

But with “Slumdog” hurtling towards all-but-inevitable victory on Oscar night, not having missed a single stop on the awards trail so far, that shouldn’t matter. It’s by far the most well-liked film in contention, as well as being a profitable indie with a scrappy-fighter backstory. I doubt the PGA will resist.

Back when the nominees were announced at the start of the month — doesn’t that seem a long time ago? — Kris suggested that “The Dark Knight” was the “likely winner.” It made perfect sense at the time: these are producers, after all, so they value financial prowess as much as artistic achievement. (Previous PGA nominees include “Harry Potter and the Sorceror’s Stone” and “My Big Fat Greek Wedding.”)

With “The Dark Knight” offering a rare fusion of the two factors, it seemed poised to benefit — but Thursday’s Oscar snub indicates a reluctance in the industry to embrace the film. No film has yet won the PGA Award without a corresponding Oscar nod for Best Picture, and I’m not counting on that changing tonight.

Can anything else pull it off? Some are speculating that admiration for the film’s heft and industry respect for Kennedy and Marshall could pull “Benjamin Button” into the frame, but I don’t really see it. The PGA have gone their own way before (“The Crying Game” over “Unforgiven” in 1992, “Moulin Rouge!” in 2001), but I’m not sure “Button” has the passionate band of supporters those films did.

Right now, I don’t see any reason to avoid the obvious. So I’m placing my money squarely on “Slumdog,” with “Man on Wire” and (duh) “WALL-E” also triumphing tonight in their respective ghetto categories. What do you think? Have your say below.

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11 responses so far

  • 1 1-24-2009 at 12:20 pm

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    A runaway production? I’m not so sure.

  • 2 1-24-2009 at 12:29 pm

    Ash said...

    I’m still prediction TDK to take this one. The Academy is a completely different animal, and I suspect the PGA isn’t so clueless (even if I don’t think TDK deserved a Best Pic nom anyway)

  • 3 1-24-2009 at 12:36 pm

    James D. said...

    Come on TDK!

  • 4 1-24-2009 at 1:05 pm

    JAB said...

    the Dark Knight winning PGA, DGA, and WGA would make this a much more interesting season.
    I hope that happens.

  • 5 1-24-2009 at 5:35 pm

    Ben M. said...

    I’m predicting Slumdog but if there is any place Button can gain momentum it is here with its lavish production values, famous producers, and big box office; still even if that happens I suspect Slumdog rebounds with DGA, WGA, perhaps even SAG, BAFTA, and then oscar.

    I’m not fully writing off Dark Knight either, like Button this is the major guild where it has its best chance and we have twice seen the DGA choose someone who wasn’t oscar nominated as well as the WGA go with an non-nominee plenty of times.

  • 6 1-24-2009 at 7:16 pm

    Leone said...

    I have to agree with Tapley here that Slumdog might not make the cut with the PGA because it is indeed a runaway production. The sheer grandeur of a film like Ben Button might better make the cut here, particularly with well loved, and well respected producers like Kennedy Marshall at its helm. The year Little Miss Sunshine won against bigger scale productions, at least it was made in the good ‘ol USA and employed americans. I think the PGAs could go for Button or TDK.

  • 7 1-24-2009 at 7:18 pm

    Leone said...

    and the producers of LMS were pretty loved… I don’t think Christian Colson knows a ton of people in the industry. ??

  • 8 1-24-2009 at 9:45 pm

    Lane said...

    …..And Slumdog Millionaire wins.

  • 9 1-24-2009 at 9:45 pm

    ayan said...

    Slumdog wins, what a surprise