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Producers Guild Prize Creates Oscar Upset

 

With THE SOCIAL NETWORK winning top prize at both last week's Golden Globe Awards and with other critics associations, the inevitability of its winning the Best Picture Oscar seemed more than assured. However, this past weekend's upset win for its closest challenger has now made the Oscar race less certain then it was a few days ago.

The Producers Guild of America (PGA) is one of the most reliable guilds when it comes to predicting Oscar success. It is the only one that actually uses the same system to count votes that the Academy does to determine its Best Picture Oscar winner. Therefore, the PGA's choice on Saturday evening of the historical biopic THE KING'S SPEECH has fueled speculation that THE SOCIAL NETWORK's win come Oscar night is not a fait accompli.

The royal drama's producers Iain Canning, Emile Sherman and Gareth Unwin were named winners of the Darryl F. Zanuck Award for Outstanding Producer of Theatrical Motion Pictures. When actress Helen Mirren opened the envelope at the awards ceremony and delightedly announced the upset win, the entire audience gasped, realizing that this had now added a drama to the awards season that so far has been lacking. The PGA victory gives a huge boost to the Weinstein Company's Oscar hopes for THE KING'S SPEECH, which came out of the Toronto Film Festival with an Audience Prize and has won awards for its lead actor Colin Firth, but not for the film as a whole.

Odds makers take note.....the last three Producers Guild winners (THE HURT LOCKER, SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE and NO COUNTRY  FOR OLD MEN) went on to Oscar gold in the Best Picture competition. In fact, in the 21-year history of the PGA Awards, more than 75% of the films selected by this producers guild were also winners on Oscar night. Will THE KING'S SPEECH continue the trend or will it not be able to sidetrack the overwhelming momentum of THE SOCIAL NETWORK.....stay tuned.

Sandy Mandelberger, Awards Watch Editor

 

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