'Gravity' and '12 Years a Slave' Tie for Top Prize at 2014 Producers Guild Awards
Producers Guild of America announced winners for its 25th awards gala Sunday night, January 19 at the Beverly Hilton Hotel. The much-awaited PGAs which also recognizes producers who work on television has long become an indicator for Oscar selections.
In the PGA history, its winners have gone on to take home Best Picture title at the Oscars 17 times, including the last six consecutive years. The last time the two chose different winners was seven years ago, when the PGA favored "Little Miss Sunshine" and the Academy picked Martin Scorsese's "The Departed".
But this year's winner is a tie, marking the first time ever such thing happens in the PGA history. Alfonso Cuaron and David Heyman ("Gravity") took home Darryl F. Zanuck Award for Outstanding Producer of Theatrical Motion Pictures along with the producers of "12 Years a Slave" i.e. Anthony Katagas, Jeremy Kleiner, Steve McQueen, Brad Pitt and Dede Gardner.
Another winner was Peter Del Vecho who received Outstanding Producer of Animated Theatrical Motion Pictures, thanks to "Frozen (2013)". He noted when accepting the gong, "I worked for Disney for almost 20 years. This is the first Disney film to bear the producers' mark."
The team behind Focus Features' "We Steal Secrets: The Story of WikiLeaks" was also triumphant. Producers Alexis Bloom, Alex Gibney, and Marc Shmuger were handed the title of Outstanding Producer of Documentary Theatrical Motion Pictures.
Ryan Coogler's "Fruitvale Station" got Stanley Kramer Award, a special prize to recognize work that "illuminates provocative social issues." Michael B. Jordan, who plays the lead in the true-story film about a young man killed by BART police officer, presented the award to producers Nina Yang and Forest Whitaker.
According to Deadline, Nina Yang, in her acceptance speech, thanked the team for including her as "an Asian female producer" and hoped that the film would help further diversity in filmmaking. Actor Whitaker, meanwhile, called Oscar Grant, the real-life subject of the film, "a symbol of injustice."
The other special honorees were Robert Iger (Milestone Award), Peter Jackson & Joe Letteri (Vanguard Award), Chris Meledandri (Visionary Award), Michael G. Wilson & Barbara Broccoli (David O. Selznick Achievement Award in Theatrical Motion Pictures), and Chuck Lorre (Norman Lear Achievement Award in Television).
When it was Lorre's turn to take stage to collect his award, he delivered some raunchy joke. The TV producer noted that he didn't make it to the podium when he attended Golden Globes a week ago at the same Beverly Hilton, but he had the honor of "peeing next to Ben Affleck."
"Yes, I peeked. And yes, Comic-Con - he can play Batman," the "Two and a Half Men" creator cracked as he referred to Affleck's "Man of Steel 2" casting as the Dark Knight which was met with mixed responses.
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