The Producers Guild of America (PGA) has become the end all be all of Oscar prognostication. The preferential ballot changed everything and PGA being the lone awards body operating under that system makes the winner here a valuable commodity to pundits. For reference, 20 of the 29 PGA Golden Laurel (or best picture) winners have gone on to win the Oscar.
The Producers Guild, unlike the Screen Actors Guild (SAG), has more direct crossover with the Oscars. It’s a group of 8,000 plus producers, not the 20k SAG voting body. This means their opinions on nominations and winners loom large over Oscar predicting. It’s the single most important award to determine the best picture, and nothing comes particularly close.
And the worst part is the producers have terrible, unforgivable taste when it comes to their favorites. Milquetoast only mildly describes what I feel towards their picks every year, but they’ve out done themselves in 2022. After thinking Borat: Subsequent Movie Film was award worthy in 2021, they doubled down with Adam McKay and Aaron Sorkin. It’s not the worst set of nominees imaginable, but there’s a sort of american, noncommittal blandness here. Only one of these films pushes any semblance of status quo, while the others are populist media with the sheen of important subject matter or Oscar bait with a bow on top.
A year featuring one of my all-time favorite filmmakers Paul Thomas Anderson, the indomitable Steven Spielberg, Jane Campion back in the Oscar discussion and sci-fi genre director Dennis Villeneuve (lol). There’s names here that are impressive and some of the work is quality but I have a hard time seeing these crop of films as the ones that will stand the test of time.
As much as I admired Spielberg’s West Side Story technical craft, it’s a remake of a beloved stage play that doesn’t do enough to outshine the Robert Wise film version. Licorice Pizza serves as one of PTA’s most middle centric films. CODA, another remake, is a blameless film and deserving of a wider attention after being released in the undesirable portion of the year but a remake nonetheless.
The main issue is more with the fact that a group of people came together and collectively enjoyed Being the Ricardo’s enough to nominate it. PGA nominating both Ricardo’s and Don’t Look Up helps their bubble status as contenders tremendously. For some reason, the industry doesn’t agree that McKay is divisive, and the faux-compassion he butchers in the editing room makes voters feel like they’ve done something important by voting for his films. Between this and Sorkin’s mildly entertaining portrayal of Lucille Ball, it feels as if the Amazon and Netflix machines did their bidding and now the grim reaper of Oscar season is here to collect payment.
Being the Ricardos
Producer: Todd Black, p.g.a.
Producers: Laura Berwick, Kenneth Branagh, Becca Kovacik, Tamar Thomas
Producers: Philippe Rousselet, p.g.a., Fabrice Gianfermi, p.g.a., Patrick Wachsberger, p.g.a.
Don’t Look Up
Producers: Adam McKay, p.g.a., Kevin Messick, p.g.a.
Producers: Mary Parent, p.g.a., Cale Boyter, p.g.a., Denis Villeneuve, p.g.a.
Producers: Tim White, p.g.a., Trevor White, p.g.a., Will Smith, p.g.a.
Producers: Sara Murphy, Paul Thomas Anderson, Adam Somner
The Power of the Dog
Producers: Jane Campion, p.g.a., Tanya Seghatchian, p.g.a., Emile Sherman, p.g.a. & Iain Canning, p.g.a., Roger Frappier, p.g.a.
Producers: Julie Oh, p.g.a., Lin-Manuel Miranda, p.g.a.
West Side Story
Producers: Steven Spielberg, p.g.a., Kristie Macosko Krieger, p.g.a.