I assume everyone is predicting The Artist to win here, and then win the DGA and then maybe win the SAG ensemble, with some serious heat from The Help, but if you had to choose a film that might upset, which one do you choose?

Here are a few things to note.  The first, for the past two years the Oscar race has seemed to have one film in mind for Best Picture until another one takes its place at the Producers Guild and from thence, to Oscar.  In both of these years, we had ten Best Picture nominees in the race.  The Producers Guild went to ten and then did preferential voting, just as the Academy did.  The only truly horrifying step in the race last year was how the DGA shook out.  One expected, with such visionary directors in the race, that the DGA would have decided to honor one of them.  Instead, it chose the most conventionally made, traditional “Oscar movie” – even when almost everyone (except me) thought that Fincher would win the DGA.

That’s because people were still predicting a split year.  But doing the math, there was just no way a film heading into the Oscar race with 12 nominations, that was expected to win Best Picture, was going to lose the DGA.  It was just way too rare for something like that to happen.  It turned out to be a sweeps year, both for the Social Network with the critics and for the King’s Speech, inexplicably, with the industry.

This year, everyone is expecting the Artist to take it and to take the DGA. But here’s the weird thing.  Not since Oliver! has a winner of the Golden Globe for Comedy/Musical won both Oscars for Director and Picture. Since 1968, any year when the winner of the Golden Globe for Best Comedy/Musical goes on to win Best Picture at the Oscars, the Best Director Oscar has split: Driving Miss Daisy, Shakespeare in Love, Chicago.  So the chances of Michel Hazanavicius winning the DGA, as many are predicting he will, are extremely rare.  Like, it hasn’t happened since 1968.

It’s more likely that the Globes Director will also win the DGA and the Oscar for directing and could indicate a split year and not a sweeps year.

So that brings us back to the PGA.  With ten Best Picture nominees there and a preferential ballot – you are going to see something like The Hurt Locker and The King’s Speech: the least offensive film wins.  The more divisive the film, the worse its chances in a scenario like this.  You want to be the movie that, if you’re not hitting number one, you’re still hitting two or three.  The Artist is probably a number one movie more than it is anything else but for the other nominees, what is a likely second place film?  The Descendants is absolutely a movie that will hit at number one, number two and number three.  Hugo probably is another.

Nothing would make this more interesting of an Oscar year if something other than The Artist wins, but after it took the London Film Critics it’s really hard to imagine any other film winning.  The PGA has around 4,000 voters — so it is the first massive vote (albeit preferential and not weighted) test The Artist will face.  The DGA is a bigger body and doesn’t face the preferential system – 9,000 members.  It’s hard to imagine Hazanavicius winning in that scenario, with Martin Scorsese, Alexander Payne, Woody Allen and David Fincher.  Newbies do win – and the DGA, like every other voting body, leans towards Oscar – wants to be like Oscar – wants to influence Oscar. So if they think The Artist is winning Best Picture (or when they thought Chicago was winning Best Picture) they will vote for that movie.

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

THE ARTIST
Producer: Thomas Langmann

BRIDESMAIDS
Producers: Judd Apatow, Barry Mendel, Clayton Townsend

THE DESCENDANTS
Producers: Jim Burke, Alexander Payne, Jim Taylor

THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO
Producers: Ceán Chaffin, Scott Rudin

THE HELP
Producers: Michael Barnathan, Chris Columbus, Brunson Green

HUGO
Producers: Graham King, Martin Scorsese

THE IDES OF MARCH
Producers: George Clooney, Grant Heslov, Brian Oliver

MIDNIGHT IN PARIS
Producers: Letty Aronson, Stephen Tenenbaum

MONEYBALL
Producers: Michael De Luca, Rachael Horovitz, Brad Pitt

WAR HORSE
Producers: Kathleen Kennedy, Steven Spielberg

The Producers Guild Award for Outstanding Producer of Animated Theatrical Motion Pictures:

THE ADVENTURES OF TINTIN
Producers: Peter Jackson, Kathleen Kennedy, Steven Spielberg

CARS 2
Producer: Denise Ream

KUNG FU PANDA 2
Producer: Melissa Cobb

PUSS IN BOOTS
Producers: Joe M. Aguilar, Latifa Ouaou

RANGO
Producers: John B. Carls, Gore Verbinski

Sasha’s prediction: The Artist, Rango
No Guts, No Glory: The Descendants 
Would blow my mind: Hugo, Dragon Tattoo, The Help