Producers Guild of America 2016 nominations: Ex-Machina, Sicario snag surprise nominations.

The Producers Guild of America Nominations Make the Oscar Race a Lot More Interesting

The Producers Guild of America Nominations Make the Oscar Race a Lot More Interesting

Brow Beat
Slate's Culture Blog
Jan. 5 2016 3:26 PM

The Producers Guild of America Nominations Make This Year’s Oscar Race a Lot More Interesting

Ex Machina
Ex Machina.

Photo courtesy A24 Films.

Alongside the Screen Actors Guild and the Directors Guild, the Producers Guild of America's annual awards are consistently one of our best indications of how Oscar nominations will shake out, due to the overlapping voting constituencies of the three guilds and the academy. As Gold Derby points out, the PGA’s nominations tend to align with the academy’s Best Picture category more often than not: last year, the PGA picked seven of the eight eventual Best Picture nominees, and in each of the two years prior to that, eight of the nine eventual Best Picture nominees. And as I noted this time last year, the PGA’s winner has gone on to ultimately win Best Picture every year since No Country for Old Men in 2007.

Aisha Harris Aisha Harris

Aisha Harris is a Slate culture writer and host of the Slate podcast Represent.

So all signs point to this being a solid peek at our upcoming Best Picture race. Sure-bets Spotlight and The Revenant are here, further securing their positions as front-runners in a still wide-open race. Films that have gained more awards season steam in recent weeks are also present: Straight Outta Compton, The Big Short, and Mad Max: Fury Road, to be exact. And more middle-of-the-road, likely-but-not-quite-frontrunner picks can be found in Brooklyn, The Martian, and Bridge of Spies.

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Where this list gets interesting is with Ex-Machina and Sicario, two films that have made many critics’ top 10 lists and are frequently met with a “wouldn’t it be nice if they got Oscar nods, but it’s never gonna happen” reaction when Oscar pundits speak of such things. At first glance, it seems like they could be shaking things up a bit and really have a chance at eking their way into the Best Picture category, but it’s important to remember that there are frequently one or two PGA-nominated films that don’t see that crossover happen: Nightcrawler was such a film last year.

Still, their presence on this list makes this awards season guessing game even more fun than it already has been. With the exception of Spotlight and The Revenant, awards voters have been all over the place with their nominations and winners, making it hard to suss out where the academy will land when nominations are announced next week. While it’s a little scary (to me, at least) to know that not enough PGA voters could get behind the spectacular Carol and Room, it’s also kind of exciting. This year’s race is still very much anyone’s game, and the punditry will be all the more interesting for it.

The Darryl F. Zanuck Award for Outstanding Producer of Theatrical Motion Pictures

The Big Short
Producers: Brad Pitt, Dede Gardner, Jeremy Kleiner

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Ex Machina
This film is in the process of being vetted for producer eligibility

Mad Max: Fury Road
Producers: Doug Mitchell, George Miller

Bridge of Spies
Producers:  Steven Spielberg, Marc Platt, Kristie Macosko Krieger

Brooklyn
Producer: Finola Dwyer, Amanda Posey

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The Martian
Producers: Simon Kinberg, Ridley Scott, Michael Schaefer, Mark Huffam

The Revenant
Producers: Arnon Milchan, Steve Golin, Alejandro G. Iñárritu, Mary Parent, Keith Redmon

Sicario
Producers: Basil Iwanyk, Edward L. McDonnell, Molly Smith

Spotlight
Producers: Michael Sugar, Steve Golin, Nicole Rocklin, Blye Pagon Faust

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Straight Outta Compton
Producers: Ice Cube, Matt Alvarez, F. Gary Gray, Dr. Dre, Scott Bernstein

The Award for Outstanding Producer of Animated Theatrical Motion Pictures

Anomalisa
Producer: Rosa Tran, Duke Johnson, Charlie Kaufman

The Good Dinosaur
Producers: Denise Ream

Inside Out
Producers: Jonas Rivera

Minions
Producer: Chris Meledandri, Janet Healy

The Peanuts Movie
Producer: Craig Schulz, Michael J. Travers