Odds favour ‘Birdman’ for Best Picture Oscar

2015-01-26 00:00

LOS ANGELES — Birdman has won the Producers Guild of America’s Darryl F. Zanuck Award for best movie — elevating its status as an awards season front-runner since the last seven PGA winners have gone on to win the Best Picture Oscar.

Fox Searchlight’s dark comedy, starring Michael Keaton as a washed-up film star, topped American Sniper, Boyhood, Foxcatcher, Gone Girl, Grand Budapest Hotel, The Imitation Game, Nightcrawler, The Theory of Everything and Whiplash.

Boyhood had been the favourite to win the PGA trophy — based on voting by more than 6 700 PGA members.

The award went to producers Alejandro G. Inarritu, John Lesher and James W. Skotchdopole.

“They want me to talk so that I make you laugh with my bad English,” Inarritu said. “On behalf of all of us, our only ambition was to make a risky and experimental exploration of the cinematic language, of an artist’s complexity played by the incredible Michael Keaton.”

The PGA’s Zanuck award has become a strong indicator of the Oscar for Best Picture in 18 of its 25 years, with 12 Years a Slave, Argo, The Artist, The King’s Speech, The Hurt Locker, Slumdog Millionaire and No Country for Old Men winners in recent years. Life Itself, the biographical film about the late Roger Ebert, won the PGA documentary award for director Steve James, Zak Piper and Garrett Basch. The Lego Movie took the PGA’s top animated movie award, nine days after it was overlooked in the Oscar nominations.

In the TV category, Breaking Bad won the Norman Felton Award for top drama series for the second year in a row, topping Downton Abbey, Game of Thrones, House of Cards and True Detec tive. Fargo won the David L. Wolper Award for long-form TV, beating American Horror Story, The Normal Heart, The Roosevelts: An Intimate History and Sherlock.

Orange is the New Black won the Danny Thomas award for top comedy series, denying Modern Family its fifth consecutive award in the category. It also beat The Big Bang Theory, Louis and Veep.

The Normal Heart received the Stanley Kramer Award, which honours raising awareness of ­important social issues.

Other prizes included: Lionsgate CEO Jon ­Feltheimer receiving the Milestone Award; The Walking Dead producer Gale Ann Hurd received the David O. Selznick Achievement Award; Brad Pitt, Dede Gardner and Jeremy Kleiner’s Plan B Entertainment receiving the Visionary Award ­presented by Norman Lear; and Mark Gordon, producer of Criminal Minds, Grey’s Anatomy and Ray Donovan, receiving the Norman Lear ­Achievement Award in Television.

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