On Saturday, the Producers Guild will announce their winner and potentially shift the race in one direction or another. I really think there are two narratives (maybe three) at play here beyond what we’ve covered already in terms of White Woke Oscar, Netflix, superhero movies, etc. The other thing going on right now is movies people really like vs. movies people think should win. On one hand, you have the two winners of the Golden Globe: Bohemian Rhapsody and Green Book. These are movies whose wins sent Film Twitter into a wave of angst. They were furious (and still are) that these two movies would have the nerve to win. What happened as a result was that people put their feet on the gas to really make sure Green Book was stamped out completely. What we don’t know is if that worked or not. God help us all if it did because the people who drove those campaigns to destroy these films will be insufferable for the immediate future, believing them to have the power to make or break a film’s success in the Oscar race. That just means more outrage campaigns, more digging up dirt, and more “vetting” of Oscar contenders, instead of, you know, figuring out which films people like best. And that is what a consensus vote is.
If either Green Book or Bohemian Rhapsody win the PGA — a scenario not as unlikely as you’d think — you can expect an even worse backlash. I’m dusting off my hazmat suit just in case a shitstorm erupts. And it might. Both of these movies are very well loved. Bohemian Rhapsody even has a SAG ensemble nomination. When you factor in BAFTA, you get a stronger wave of enthusiasm for A Star Is Born and BlacKkKlansman, but in that case we’re still talking about the Oscars.
What will the producers do? Some common wisdom is that they pick the movie that was most successful. In that case, how does Black Panther lose? Others believe Roma is such a monumental achievement, how can the producers not award it? Well, because it’s a foreign language film and that is a tricky thing so far with thousands and thousands of people voting. Still, if you follow Twitter or Oscar websites you get a somewhat distorted view of enthusiasm for Roma. In fact, it’s not yet been tested with any large consensus. The largest voting body so far, the SAG, didn’t go for it at all, for whatever reason. Did they not watch it? Foreign language films, despite their growing popularity of late, aren’t exactly the first things people want to watch.
Can Green Book overcome the shitstorm it got hit with and somehow miraculously win the PGA? So far, in the era of the expanded Best Picture ballot, two films in a row have won the PGA without a SAG ensemble nod: The Shape of Water last year and La La Land the year before. Does that indicate a pattern? Or must we factor in the SAG ensemble when forming our predictions for the PGA?
A better stat, one our very own Marshall Flores came up with, is that no film has won the PGA without a DGA nod. That means we really should have only five choices here: A Star Is Born, BlacKkKlansman, Green Book, Vice, and Roma.
Let’s look at who the nominated producers are and whether or not there are any kings and queens in the mix:
BlacKkKlansman — Sean McKittrick, Jason Blum, Raymond Mansfield, Jordan Peele, and Spike Lee
Green Book — Jim Burke, Charles B. Wessler, Brian Currie, Peter Farrelly, and Nick Vallelonga
Roma — Gabriela Rodríguez and Alfonso Cuarón
A Star Is Born — Bill Gerber, Bradley Cooper, and Lynette Howell Taylor
Vice — Dede Gardner, Jeremy Kleiner, Kevin Messick, and Adam McKay
Black Panther – Kevin Feige
Bohemian Rhapsody – Graham King
Crazy Rich Asians – Nina Jacobson, Brad Simpson, and John Penotti
The Favourite – Ceci Dempsey, Ed Guiney, Lee Magiday, and Yorgos Lanthimos
A Quiet Place – Michael Bay, Andrew Form, and Bradley Fuller
Right away, you’ll notice a few big names, like Jordan Peele and Spike Lee for BlacKkKlansman and Graham King for Bohemian Rhapsody. There’s Bradley Cooper on A Star Is Born and, of course, Dede Gardner and Adam McKay on Vice. And then you have Green Book, a film that really has a pretty big deal PGA story, meaning these guys cobbled it together on a wing and a prayer.
I have never been sure whether or not they vote for what they like the best or what performed the best. I have never cracked the code of the PGA. But here too we must, as we do with Oscar, factor in the preferential ballot. If there is any sort of competition at all, which film will voters push to the top of their ballot, even if it isn’t their favorite?
Which films are better number ones or nothing? That would probably be, all things considered, A Star Is Born, perhaps, and Vice. Roma and BlacKkKlansman are two films that, even if people didn’t really like them that much, they might be inclined to push them up their ballot because they want to do good with their vote. That would have benefited Green Book as well, but it all depends on how saturated the voting body is with the so-called controversies. If Roma weren’t a black and white foreign language film distributed by Netflix, this would be the world’s easiest call. But those conditions around it make me a wee bit hesitant predicting it for the win. Likewise, Green Book makes me a wee bit hesitant, even though I believe it is the one the majority of voters probably like best, if we’re being honest. That leaves BlacKkKlansman as the pick that has the most going for it overall. I don’t know for sure that it wins — it is divisive, to be sure, but Jordan Peele and Spike Lee as producers seems to be a big deal. Lee, of course, has never won any major industry award in his 30+ year career, while PGA passed up awarding Peele last year for Get Out.
A Star Is Born is also a film that could simply win a majority in the first round. If you think it is that popular then it for sure seems like it could take the win. What troubles me is that it didn’t win Toronto and it didn’t win the Globe, two places it was expected to ace. On the other hand, is esteem growing for A Star Is Born as people become confused about which film they should place their vote behind for reasons that have absolutely nothing to do with the films themselves? It’s hard to say.
Either which way, here are our predictions:
Best Theatrical Motion Picture
BlacKkKlansman — Sasha Stone, Marshall Flores, Ryan Adams
A Star Is Born — Jazz Tangcay
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse — Stone, Flores, Tangcay, Adams
Won’t You Be My Neighbor — Stone, Flores, Tangcay, Adams