"The Artist" won the best feature film award at the PGA Awards Saturday night, cementing its frontrunner status for the Academy Award.
"We never knew we'd get a taste of the American Dream," said Thomas Langmann, producer of the nearly silent black-and-white film, after rushing up to the stage at the Beverly Hilton to accept the award.
He thanked Harvey Weinstein, whose company is distributing the French valentine to the end of the silent era in Hollywood, as well as Steven Spielberg, who won best animated film for "The Adventures of Tintin" and was honored with the David O. Selznick Achievement Award in Theatrical Motion Pictures during the ceremony.
The PGA also honored CBS CEO and President Les Moonves, along with TV shows including "Modern Family," "Amazing Race" and "The Colbert Report."
"Downton Abbey" and "Boardwalk Empire" also continued their award-winning ways, picking up the honors for longform TV and TV drama, respectively.
"Beats, Rhymes and Life: The Travels of a Tribe Called Quest" was a surprise victor in the documentary feature category.
But Oscar watchers had their eye on the best picture race. "The Artist" beat "The Descendants," "The Help," "Bridesmaids," "Hugo," "The Ides of March," "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo," "Midnight in Paris," "Moneyball" and "War Horse" for the key award.
The last four Producers Guild winners -- “The King's Speech," "The Hurt Locker,” “Slumdog Millionaire” and “No Country for Old Men” -- have gone on to win the Academy Award for Best Picture. In the 22-year history of the awards, more than two-thirds of PGA winners have won the Oscar.
When the PGA expanded its own Best Picture category from five to 10 nominees to match the Academy’s expansion in 2009, it also changed its voting process in that category to the preferential system used by AMPAS.
This makes it the only guild to tally votes in the same way as the Academy, in which a film must be a consensus favorite in order to win.
Last year’s PGA win for "The King's Speech" was the first indicator that "The Social Network" was vulnerable despite being a near-unanimous winner of critics' awards. The previous year's victory for “The Hurt Locker” was a strong sign that “Avatar” was losing momentum, and could be vulnerable under a preferential system.
When the Academy shifted to a variable number of nominees earlier this year, though, the PGA opted to say with a slate of 10, which could lead to significant differences between its lineup of Best Picture nominees and the Academy's, which will be announced on Tuesday.
Darryl F. Zanuck Producer of the Year Award in Theatrical Motion Pictures:
Producer: Thomas Langmann
The Producers Guild of America Producer of the Year Award in Animated Theatrical Motion Pictures:
THE ADVENTURES OF TINTIN
Producers: Peter Jackson, Kathleen Kennedy, Steven Spielberg
The Producers Guild of America Producer of the Year Award in Documentary Theatrical Motion Pictures:
BEATS, RHYMES & LIFE: THE TRAVELS OF A TRIBE CALLED QUEST
Producers: Michael Rapaport, Edward Parks
The David L. Wolper Producer of the Year Award in Long-Form Television:
DOWNTON ABBEY (Masterpiece) (PBS)
Producers: Julian Fellowes, Nigel Marchant, Gareth Neame
The Danny Thomas Award for Outstanding Producer of Episodic Television, Comedy:
MODERN FAMILY (ABC)
The Norman Felton Award for Outstanding Producer of Episodic Television, Drama:
BOARDWALK EMPIRE (HBO)
Producers: Eugene Kelly, Howard Korder, Stephen Levinson, Martin Scorsese, Rudd Simmons, Tim Van Patten, Terence Winter
The Award for Outstanding Producer of Live Entertainment & Talk Television:
THE COLBERT REPORT (Comedy Central)
Producers: Meredith Bennett, Stephen T. Colbert, Richard Dahm, Tanya Michnevich Bracco, Tom Purcell, Jon Stewart
The Award for Outstanding Producer of Competition Television:
THE AMAZING RACE (CBS)
Producers: Jerry Bruckheimer, Elise Doganieri, Jonathan Littman, Bertram van Munster, Mark Vertullo
The Award for Outstanding Producer of Non-Fiction Television:
AMERICAN MASTERS (PBS)
Producers: Susan Lacy, Julie Sacks
Steve Pond contributed to this report.