It’s a blockbuster morning as far as the Producers Guild of America is concerned, as it revealed the film and television nominations for its 34th annual PGA Awards on Thursday.
Lucrative sequels Avatar: the way of water; Top Gun: Maverick and Black Panther: Wakanda Forever as well as commercial successes Elvis, Glass Onion: A Mystery at Daggers Drawn and Everything everywhere all at once all made the cut of nominations for the guild’s marquee Darryl F. Zanuck Award for Outstanding Theatrical Film Producer. Joining them on the list are Steven Spielberg The Fabelmans, The Banshees of Inisherin, Jtor and The whale.
As the theatrical box office slowly recovers and in some cases equals or exceeds pre-pandemic levels, the PGA is making a statement with a strong performance for blockbuster films, including no less than four sequels – which may be a record number for the organization’s film awards. The PGA has often shown favoritism towards films that have scored at the box office as opposed to groups of critics for example, and the presence of the major studios is particularly strong this year with the Walt Disney Co representing Marvel’s Black Panther long-awaited 20th century sequel Avatar follow and projector Banshees; Universal with Fabelmans and debugging features’ Jtor; Paramount replaced by them 36 years of waiting in the sequel to Top Gun; and Warner’s Elvis.
This stellar screening for studios didn’t leave much room for indies, but A24 scored big as expected with the out-of-the-box feel Everything everywhere all at once, and also perhaps with the most surprising nominee of the group The whale, an intimate drama most talked about for Brendan Fraser’s SAG and Oscar-nominated performance as a 600-pound man desperately trying to reconnect with his teenage daughter. Netflix only made the list with Rian Johnson’s follow-up to its box office juggernaut Knives out, which, over the Thanksgiving holiday, had a week of unorthodox full ‘preview’ performances at all three major expo chains where it did very well, and is now climbing the charts of best movies to play on the streamer since it started streaming on Netflix just before Christmas.
Netflix also has a favorite among the PGA Animated Feature nominees with Pinocchio by Guillermo del Toro. Also Pixar/Disney’s nominees turn red; Dream works’ Puss in Boots: The Last Wish; A24, again playing in the sandbox of the big ones with Marcel le Shell with shoes; and in keeping with the PGA’s love affair with money, the biggest animated box office hit of 2022 in Universal/Illumination Minions: The Rise of Gruwho landed his first major mention here.
Not making the PGA Top 10 list are Babylon, Triangle of Sadness, and foreign language titles In the west, nothing is new, and that of India RRR – the latter two have major talk on the Best Picture Oscar, but the PGA rarely nominates foreign-language films. Also missing are all the female-directed films of 2022, including the highly acclaimed Women Talking, The Woman King, Up and She says, an unfortunate scheme put in place on Wednesday with the announcement of the DGA.
The PGA has a solid track record to tie the Oscars, as both have a set of 10 Best Picture nominees. Last year, PGA tied eight out of 10 with the Oscars (for which they also review eligible producers), and the two groups agreed on the Best Picture winner, CODA. The previous year, they also paired with nomadlandand for 2018 with Green book. For 2019, however, the PGA has chosen 1917, while the Academy accompanied Parasite.
On the TV side, with last year’s drama (Succession) and comedy (Ted Lasso) the winners are not in the mix, the flagship categories are up for grabs. For the Norman Felton Award for drama, the nominees are all newcomers to the race: AMC’s latest seasons You better call Saul and those of Netflix ozark with Disney+ AndorAppleTV+ Breakup and HBO Max The White Lotus. The latter competed a year ago in the limited series category.
With white lotus moved, the names of the limited series are those of Netflix Dahmer – Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story and Invent AnnaHulu’s The stall and Pam and Tommyand Disney+ Obi-Wan Kenobi.
In the Danny Thomas Comedy Award race, nominees include ABC’s Abbott Elementary School who won the Golden Globes earlier this week with HBO Max barry and hacksFX the bear and Hulu’s Only murders in the building.
Two winners from a year ago are back in their respective categories: HBO’s Emmy champ Last week tonight with John Oliver returns with a name in Live Entertainment/Variety/Sketch/Stand-up/Talk Television, while RuPaul’s Drag Race is back to defend in the field of outstanding producers of gaming and competition TV, where he faces among others Prime Video’s Lizzo watch out for big grrrls which won the Emmy program competition in September.
Below is the full list of nominees for the 2023 PGA Awards, including the Documentary, Sports, Kids and Short-Form categories that were unveiled last month.
2023 PGA Awards
Darryl F. Zanuck Award for Best Motion Picture Producer
Avatar: The Way of the Water
The Banshees of Inisherin
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever
Everything everywhere all at once
Glass onion: a mystery at loggerheads
Top Gun: Maverick
Outstanding Producer of Animated Theatrical Films
Pinocchio by Guillermo del Toro
Marcel the shod shell
Minions: The Rise of Gru
Puss in Boots: The Last Wish
Norman Felton Award for Outstanding Producer in Episodic Television – Drama
You better call Saul
The White Lotus
Danny Thomas Award for Best Episodic Television Producer – Comedy
Abbott Elementary School
Only murders in the building
David L. Wolper Award for Best Producer of Limited or Anthology Television Series
Dahmer – Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story
Obi Wan Kenobi
Pam and Tommy
Outstanding Producer of Television or Streamed Films
Hocus Pocus 2
Bizarre: the story of Al Yankovic
Outstanding Non-Fiction Television Producer
30 for 30
George Carlin’s American Dream
Lucy and Desi
Stanley Tucci: In Search of Italy
Outstanding Producer of Live Entertainment, Variety, Sketches, Stand-Up and Talk Show
The Daily Show with Trevor Noah
Jimmy Kimmel Live!
Last week tonight with John Oliver
The Late Show with Stephen Colbert
Saturday Night Live
Outstanding Game and Competition Television Producer
Lizzo watch out for big grrrls
All of RuPaul’s Drag Race Stars
Outstanding Documentary Film Producer
anything that breathes
fire of love
Outstanding Sports Program
Formula 1: drive to survive
Hard knocks: Training camp with the Detroit Lions
Legacy: The True History of the LA Lakers
Tony Hawk: Until the Wheels Come Off
Outstanding Children’s Program
Fraggle Rock: back to the rock
Green eggs and ham
Snoopy Presents: It’s the Little Things, Charlie Brown
Waffles + Mochi’s Restaurant
Exceptional short program
Better Call Saul: Filmmaker Training
Love, Death + Robots
Only murders in the building: a question that kills
Sesame Street #ComingTogether Word of the Day Series
Tales of the Jedi