In winning the Producers Guild of America’s top prize — the Darryl F. Zanuck Award for outstanding producer of a theatrical motion picture — on Saturday night at the end of an overstuffed four-hour ceremony at the Beverly Hilton, Everything Everywhere All at Once, which was produced by Jonathan Wang, overcame one of the last hurdles between it and the best picture Oscar that will be presented on March 12.
The quirky art house film, which A24 released in theaters almost a full year ago (on March 25, 2022), is up for a field-leading 11 Oscar nominations. But the best picture Oscar is determined by a preferential ballot — one that requires voters to rank all nominees, and weights those rankings to reward consensus over passion — and many have wondered if the film is too polarizing to prevail with that sort of voting.
Those concerns were largely allayed by the PGA, which is the only major awards group other than the Academy that employs that method to determine the winner of its top prize.
Indeed, against a field that included six of the nine films that it is pitted against for the best picture Oscar — Avatar: The Way of Water (2022’s highest-grossing film worldwide, and now the third-highest-grossing film worldwide of all-time), The Banshees of Ininsherin, Elvis, The Fabelmans, Tár and Top Gun: Maverick (2022’s highest-grossing film domestically), but not All Quiet on the Western Front, Triangle of Sadness or Women Talking — Everything Everywhere still walked away the winner.
Noting that Everything Everywhere also won the Directors Guild of America’s top prize a week ago, and assuming, as I do, that Everything Everywhere will win the top prize at the SAG Awards (best ensemble) on Sunday night, it would, at this point, be a historical anomaly if Everywhere Everywhere does not win the best picture Oscar. Indeed, in the 27 years in which the PGA, DGA and SAG have all presented their top honors, only one film has ever won all three but then lost the best picture Oscar: Apollo 13, 27 years ago — meaning, before the era of the Academy’s preferential ballot.
My only caveats are these…
- Preferential balloting has only been employed by the Academy since 2009, so the sample size of past outcomes remains relatively small.
- Final Oscar voting doesn’t even begin until March 2, and then runs through March 7, so there is still a lot of time in which something could, theoretically, occur that would sway voters’ opinions away from Everything Everywhere and/or towards another film.
- I can’t help but wonder if Top Gun: Maverick might have undercut its chances of winning the top PGA Award when one of its producers, Tom Cruise, agreed well in advance of final voting to accept the guild’s David O. Selznick Award. Might some who otherwise would have voted for the film have felt that Cruise’s award was acknowledgement enough?
- Everything Everywhere and All Quiet — the latter of which won the best film BAFTA Award last Sunday, which indicates that it has considerable support from European-based voters, at a time when more Oscar voters than ever are based outside of the U.S. — have not yet gone head-to-head. And All Quiet’s distributor Netflix is mounting an all-out campaign to give it a real shot.
Meanwhile, the documentary feature Navalny and the animated feature Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio both won PGA awards in their respective categories, on the heels of numerous other honors include BAFTAs, so they look like clear frontrunners, too.
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