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PGA, SAG Awards mix up the Oscar race

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Well, awards season just got a little more EXCITING! If there was one thing this weekend’s two big award shows – the SAG and the PGA – were supposed to do, it was to clear the state of the awards race. While the SAG played by the script, awarding all four acting category frontrunners and giving American Hustle its deserved Ensemble prize, the PGA threw a monkey in the wrench by ignoring American Hustle completely and instead, awarding its top prize to both, 12 Years a Slave and Gravity.

The PGA tie, which is the first in the group’s 27-year-old history, is notable for a couple of reasons. First, they’re the only group that has had a 100% accuracy rate with the Academy since both groups expanded their field of nominees in 2009. Moreover, the PGA is the only group that uses the same preferential balloting system used by the Academy, meaning voters have to rank all the nominees on their ballots. Like Oscar’s Best Picture system, this is a process that awards consensus picks more than passion picks. That would explain why films like Argo, The Artist and The King’s Speech have prevailed in recent years. A tie out of this balloting process is remarkable because it means that both Gravity and 12 Years a Slave had the same combination of first, second, third, fourth (and so on) place votes from a collection of more than 13,000 ballots!

So what does this mean for Oscar? For one, we now know that it’s Gravity and not American Hustle, that’s 12 Years a Slave’s biggest competitor for Best Picture. Alfonso Cuaron’s space epic is already guaranteed to sweep the craft categories at the Oscars, so if voters are inclined to award it in all those categories, what’s to stop them from voting for it in Best Picture and Best Director too? But it would be an error to scoff off American Hustle’s chances after tonight. Granted, it lost some of its award sheen after the PGA loss but it still remains a major, major contender. That SAG Ensemble win and its crowd-pleasing narrative can’t be discounted. Remember, David O. Russell is beloved in the industry and this movie got nominated in every acting category at the Oscars.

All eyes will now turn to the prestigious Directors Guild Award – who will announce on January 25. In its 65 year history, the DGA award winner has gone on to win the Best Director Oscar 58 times. And everyone knows how well the Best Picture and Best Director Oscars correspond. If Alfonso Cuaron takes the DGA, which he is favored to do, it’ll put Gravity firmly in the driver’s seat on March 2nd. However, if the DGA goes to Steve McQueen, then it’s very likely that 12 Years a Slave takes the top prize. Now, if David O. Russell suddenly surprises us all and wins the DGA, then all bets are off. Yup, awards season just got a little more exciting!

Full List of Film Winners:

PRODUCERS GUILD OF AMERICA AWARDS WINNERS

The Darryl F. Zanuck Award for Outstanding Producer of Theatrical Motion Pictures: (tie)
Gravity (Warner Bros. Pictures) Producers: Alfonso Cuarón, David Heyman
12 Years a Slave (Fox Searchlight Pictures); Producers: Anthony Katagas, Jeremy Kleiner, Steve McQueen, Brad Pitt and Dede Gardner

The Award for Outstanding Producer of Documentary Theatrical Motion Pictures:
We Steal Secrets: The Story Of Wikileaks (Focus Features); Producers: Alexis Bloom, Alex Gibney, Marc Shmuger

The Award for Outstanding Producer of Animated Theatrical Motion Pictures:
Frozen (Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures); Producer: Peter Del Vecho

SCREEN ACTORS GUILD AWARDS WINNERS

Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture: American Hustle (Amy Adams, Christian Bale, Louis C.K., Bradley Cooper, Paul Herman, Jack Huston, Jennifer Lawrence, Alessandro Nivola, Michael Pena, Jeremy Renner, Elizabeth Rohm, Shea Whigham)

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role: Cate Blanchett (Blue Jasmine)

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role: Matthew McConaughey (Dallas Buyers Club)

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role: Lupita Nyong’o (12 Years a Slave)

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role: Jared Leto (Dallas Buyers Club)

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