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Producers Guild Nominates ‘Ex Machina,’ ‘Sicario’ and ‘Straight Outta Compton,’ But Not ‘Star Wars’

The PGA’s unusually muscular lineup of nominees leaves ”Spotlight“ and ”Brooklyn“ to represent the indie filmmaking that often dominates awards season


The Producers Guild of America has nominated “Mad Max: Fury Road,” “The Martian,” “Ex Machina,” “The Revenant” and “Straight Outta Compton” for their top film award of 2015, but “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” did not make the cut with the PGA.

Other nominees are “Spotlight,” “Bridge of Spies,” “Brooklyn,” “The Big Short” and “Sicario.”

The indie films “Room” and “Carol” were also left off the list of nominees, dealing a slight blow to two films with high hopes for Oscar recognition. Both are considered likelier Best Picture nominees than “Star Wars,” whose failure to be nominated by the blockbuster-friendly producers does not bode well for its reception by the Academy.

Of the films that were nominated, “Ex Machina” and “Sicario” were the big surprises, helping to fill out a lineup long on muscular filmmaking. “Spotlight” and “Brooklyn” were left to represent the smaller indie productions that in recent years have often dominated the awards picture.

The Producers Guild also vets producers for eligibility, with the Academy typically accepting the Guild’s recommendations about which producers are eligible for nominations and awards. In this year’s crop, Arnon Milchan was not credited with a nomination for “The Big Short,” though he is listed as a producer in Paramount Pictures’ “for your consideration” ads and on screeners — but Milchan is nominated as one of the producers of “The Revenant,” which has an unusual five nominated producers.

Steve Golin is the only producer to have two feature-film nominations, for “Spotlight” and “The Revenant.”

Other nominees include Brad Pitt for “The Big Short” and Ice Cube and Dr. Dre for “Straight Outta Compton.”

The PGA also announced its nominees in the animated-feature category, where the Pixar films “Inside Out” and “The Good Dinosaur” will be going up against “Anomalisa,” “Minions” and “The Peanuts Movie.”

In the long-form television category, the nominees are “American Crime,” “American Horror Story: Hotel,” “Fargo,” “True Detective” and “A Very Murray Christmas.”

The Guild also nominated in the sports and digital series categories. Previously, it had announced its nominees for episodic television, non-fiction television and documentary features.

The Producers Guild Awards typically do a good job of showing which films have the best shot at landing Oscar nominations, though the Guild and the Academy never completely agree.

Since the Academy expanded from five to 10 Best Picture nominees and the PGA followed suit in 2009, more than 80 percent of the Producers Guild nominees have gone on to capture Best Picture nominations at the Oscars.

Of the 55 Oscar nominees since then, 48 have first received PGA noms — and every Oscar Best Picture winner has previously won the Producers Guild Award. (Oscar champ “12 Years a Slave” tied with “Gravity” at the PGA.)

Still, there has never been a year since the expansion in which at least one PGA nominee didn’t miss out on an Oscar nod, and there has never been a year in which at least one Oscar nomination went to a film that had not been singled out by the producers.

For the most part, films that receive a PGA nomination but not an Oscar nod tend to be entertaining, mainstream movies: “Bridesmaids,” “Star Trek,” “Skyfall,” “Saving Mr. Banks” and “The Town,” among others. Last year, though, only one of the three PGA nominees that didn’t make the cut with AMPAS, “Gone Girl,” fit that description; the others were “Foxcatcher” and “Nightcrawler.”

The Producers Guild Award itself is a particularly valuable Oscar predictor, because the PGA is the only other awards body to use the Academy’s preferential system of counting Best Picture ballots.

This year’s awards ceremony will take place on Jan. 23 in Los Angeles and will be closely watched for a key to a topsy-turvy awards season.

The nominations:

The Darryl F. Zanuck Award for Outstanding Producer of Theatrical Motion Pictures:
“The Big Short”
Producers: Brad Pitt & Dede Gardner, Jeremy Kleiner

“Bridge of Spies”
Producers: Steven Spielberg, Marc Platt, Kristie Macosko Krieger

Producers: Finola Dwyer & Amanda Posey

“Ex Machina”
This film is in the process of being vetted for producer eligibility

“Mad Max: Fury Road”
Producers: Doug Mitchell & George Miller

“The Martian”
Producers: Simon Kinberg, Ridley Scott, Michael Schaefer, Mark Huffam

“The Revenant”
Producers: Arnon Milchan, Steve Golin, Alejandro G. Iñárritu, Mary Parent, Keith Redmon

Producers: Basil Iwanyk, Edward L. McDonnell, Molly Smith

Producers: Michael Sugar & Steve Golin, Nicole Rocklin, Blye Pagon Faust

“Straight Outta Compton”
Producers: Ice Cube & Matt Alvarez, F. Gary Gray, Dr. Dre, Scott Bernstein

The Award for Outstanding Producer of Animated Theatrical Motion Pictures:
Producers: Rosa Tran, Duke Johnson, Charlie Kaufman

“The Good Dinosaur”
Producer: Denise Ream

“Inside Out”
Producer: Jonas Rivera

Producers: Chris Meledandri, Janet Healy

“The Peanuts Movie”
Producers: Craig Schulz, Michael J. Travers

The David L. Wolper Award for Outstanding Producer of Long-Form Television:
*The Long-Form Television category encompasses both movies of the week and miniseries.

“American Crime” (Season 1)
This show is in the process of being vetted for producer eligibility

“American Horror Story: Hotel” (Season 5)
Producers: Brad Falchuk, Ryan Murphy, Brad Buecker, Tim Minear, Jennifer Salt, James Wong, Alexis Martin Woodall, Robert M. Williams Jr.

“Fargo” (Season 2)
Producers: Noah Hawley, John Cameron, Ethan Coen, Joel Coen, Warren Littlefield, Kim Todd

“True Detective” (Season 2)
Producers: Nic Pizzolatto, Scott Stephens, Steve Golin, Aida Rodgers

“A Very Murray Christmas”
This show is in the process of being vetted for producer eligibility

The Award for Outstanding Sports Program:
“Back on Board: Greg Louganis”
“Hard Knocks: Training Camp with the Houston Texans”
“Kareem: Minority of One”
“Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel”

The Award for Outstanding Digital Series:
“30 for 30 Shorts”
“Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee”
“Epic Rap Battles of History”
“Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: Double Agent”
“This American Life Presents: Videos 4 U”