On a night that could have profound implications for a tight Oscar race, “Green Book” was named the best-produced film of 2018 at the 30th Annual Producers Guild of America Awards.
The award makes director Peter Farrelly’s drama starring Viggo Mortensen and Mahershala Ali the season’s first legitimate favorite to win the Academy Award for Best Picture. It has been a fiercely competitive and confusing year, with lots of criticism aimed at competing films and no film able to overcome the question marks that plague most of the top contenders.
“Green Book” faces many of those questions in early January, immediately after it won the Golden Globe for Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy. The film, about the unlikely friendship between a black concert pianist and his Italian-American driver in the early ’60s, was hit by criticism over past behavior from Farrelly, a tweet from co-writer Nick Vallelonga and questions of accuracy from the family of Dr. Donald Shirley, the character played by Ali.
But the Producers Guild Award shows that for at least one important group of voters, the criticisms (or, some thought, the deliberate takedown campaign) didn’t stick. To be sure, the film is an uneasy frontrunner: “Green Book” still faces a tough race against Alfonso Cuaron’s “Roma,” Spike Lee’s “BlacKkKlansman” and Bradley Cooper’s “A Star Is Born,” among other films. But it has weathered a tough stretch and come out with a significant prize — and more to the point, it has shown the likability to become the kind of consensus choice that wins under the voting system used by the Producers Guild and the Academy.
All of which appeared to come as something of a surprise to Farrelly, best known until now for the broad comedies — “Dumb and Dumber,” “There’s Something About Mary,” “Kingpin” — he made with his brother Bobby. “When you make ‘Dumb and Dumber,'” said Farrelly in accepting the award at the Beverly Hilton Hotel, “you don’t expect to ever get an award.”
The result has to be particularly stinging to “A Star Is Born,” which has been considered the Oscar favorite for most of awards season but has now lost the Golden Globe to “Bohemian Rhapsody,” the Critics’ Choice Award to “Roma” and the Producers Guild Award to “Green Book.” Considering that both “A Star Is Born” and “Green Book” are mainstream commercial movies but the former has made significantly more money, its inability to win with the producers is troublesome.
Still, “A Star Is Born” will likely outdistance “Green Book” in Oscar nominations on Tuesday, and it has a good chance to win the Screen Actors Guild ensemble award next weekend.
“Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” won the award for animated feature, while “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?” was the Producers Guild choice for documentary.
Television awards went to “The Americans,” “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel,” “The Assassination of Gianni Versace,” “Fahrenheit 451,” “RuPaul’s Drag Race,” “Last Week Tonight With John Oliver” and “Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown.”
Although the Producers Guild winner has failed to win the Oscar twice in the last three years, with PGA winners “La La Land” and “The Big Short” beaten at the Oscars by “Moonlight” and “Spotlight,” the guild has a strong record overall in predicting Oscar winners.
In the previous 29 years of the PGA, its winner has gone on to receive the Oscar for Best Picture 20 times. When the Academy expanded its number of Best Picture nominees in 2009 and instituted preferential voting to pick the winner, the PGA followed suit and has matched the Academy seven of the nine years since then.
Also at the ceremony, Jane Fonda was honored with the Stanley Kramer Award, Toby Emmerich was given the Milestone Award, Amy Sherman-Palladino received the Norman Lear Achievement Award in Television, Kenya Barris received the Vision Award and Kevin Feige was given the David O. Selznick Award for Achievement in Film.
The Producers Guild Award winners:
The Darryl F. Zanuck Award for Outstanding Producer of Theatrical Motion Pictures:
Producers: Jim Burke, Charles B. Wessler, Brian Currie, Peter Farrelly, Nick Vallelonga
The Award for Outstanding Producer of Documentary Motion Pictures:
“Won’t You Be My Neighbor?”
Producers: Morgan Neville, Nicholas Ma, Caryn Capotosto
The Award for Outstanding Producer of Animated Theatrical Motion Pictures:
“Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse”
Producers: Avi Arad, Phil Lord & Christopher Miller, Amy Pascal, Christina Steinberg
The Norman Felton Award for Outstanding Producer of Episodic Television – Drama:
“The Americans” (Season 6)
Producers: Joe Weisberg, Joel Fields, Chris Long, Graham Yost, Justin Falvey, Darryl Frank, Stephen Schiff, Mary Rae Thewlis, Tracey Scott Wilson, Peter Ackerman, Joshua Brand
The Danny Thomas Award for Outstanding Producer of Episodic Television – Comedy:
“The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” (Season 2)
Producers: Amy Sherman-Palladino, Daniel Palladino, Dhana Rivera Gilbert, Sheila Lawrence
The David L. Wolper Award for Outstanding Producer of Limited Series Television:
“The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story” (Season 2)
Producers: Ryan Murphy, Nina Jacobson, Brad Simpson, Alexis Martin Woodall, Tom Rob Smith, Daniel Minahan, Brad Falchuk, Scott Alexander, Larry Karaszewski, Chip Vucelich, Maggie Cohn, Eric Kovtun, Lou Eyrich, Eryn Krueger Mekash
The Award for Outstanding Producer of Streamed or Televised Motion Pictures:
Producers: Sarah Green, Ramin Bahrani, Michael B. Jordan, Alan Gasmer, Peter Jaysen, David Coatsworth
The Award for Outstanding Producer of Non-Fiction Television:
“Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown” (Season 11, Season 12)
Producers: Anthony Bourdain, Christopher Collins, Lydia Tenaglia, Sandra Zweig
The Award for Outstanding Producer of Live Entertainment & Talk Television:
“Last Week Tonight with John Oliver” (Season 5)
Producers: John Oliver, Tim Carvell, Liz Stanton, Jeremy Tchaban
The Award for Outstanding Producer of Game & Competition Television:
“RuPaul’s Drag Race” (Season 10)
Producers: Fenton Bailey, Randy Barbato, Tom Campbell, RuPaul Charles, Mandy Salangsang, Steven Corfe, Bruce McCoy, Michele Mills, Jacqueline Wilson, Thairin Smothers, Jen Passovoy, Lisa Steele
The Award for Outstanding Short-Form Program:
“Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee” (Season 5)
The Award for Outstanding Sports Program:
“Being Serena” (Season 1)
The Award for Outstanding Children’s Program:
“Sesame Street” (Season 48)