Birdman has been given a boost in the run-up to this year’s Oscars after winning the Producers Guild of America’s top award.
The Producers Guild has predicted the winner of best picture at the Oscars for the past seven years.
In Birdman, Michael Keaton plays a washed-up star who tries to revive his career.
Richard Linklater’s epic Boyhood has until now been seen as the frontrunner for best picture at the Oscars, which take place in Hollywood on February 22.
The Producers Guild of America (PGA) decision means the Academy Awards race is still wide open.
Many of the PGA’s 6,700 members are also Oscar voters, and the winner of the top PGA prize has gone on to win best picture at the Oscars every year since 2007, and 18 times in the past 25 years.
In 2014, the PGA did hedge its bets, however, by announcing a tie between 12 Years a Slave – which went on to win the Academy Award – and space drama Gravity.
Birdman, in which Michael Keaton stars as a former Hollywood superhero who tries to make a comeback on Broadway, has nine Oscar nominations.
Ralph Fiennes’ offbeat comedy The Grand Budapest Hotel also has nine nominations.
Boyhood, which was filmed over 12 years to show one boy’s coming of age, has six Oscar nominations and is odds-on favorite to win best picture.
However, the PGA panel has definitely disagreed with Oscar voters in one category this year.
At the PGA ceremony on January 24, The Lego Movie was named best animated feature – but it has not even been nominated in that category at the Academy Awards.
Life Itself was named best documentary by the PGA, while Fargo, Breaking Bad and Orange Is The New Black were among the victors in the television categories.
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American Hustle and Gravity are among the 10 movies up for the Producers Guild of America’s best picture prize.
12 Years a Slave and Nebraska are also nominated for its ‘outstanding producer of theatrical motion pictures’ award.
The Butler and Coen brothers’ movie Inside Llewyn Davis are notably absent from the 10 films, one of which will collect the prize on 19 January.
The guild’s decision comes six weeks before the Oscars on March 2nd.
In the last six years, the recipient of the PGA’s top award has gone on to be named best picture at the Academy Awards.
Argo, which took the main prize at last year’s ceremony, was also the top dog at the 2012 Oscars.
Eight of the 10 films nominated by the PGA Awards 2013 went on to be nominated in the Academy Awards’ best picture category.
Other cinematic releases in contention include Woody Allen’s Blue Jasmine, Martin Scorsese’s The Wolf of Wall Street and Tom Hanks’ thriller Captain Phillips.
Dallas Buyers Club, Spike Jonze’s oddball romance Her and Saving Mr. Banks, in which Tom Hanks also appears, round out the PGA shortlist.
But there is no place for August: Orange County, a darkly comic family drama starring Julia Roberts and Meryl Streep, or Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom biopic starring Idris Elba as Nelson Mandela.
The 25th annual PGA Awards winners will be announced during a ceremony on January 19 at the Beverly Hilton in Los Angeles
Despite this, producer Harvey Weinstein – whose company is distributing both films as well as Judi Dench’s drama Philomena – remained upbeat about their Oscar chances.
BAFTA – the British Academy of Film and Television Arts – announce the nominations for their 2014 film awards on Wednesday.
Five more titles make the cut for the PGA’s animated film producer prize, among them The Croods, Frozen and Monsters University.
Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli, the producers of the James Bond films, will receive a special award at this year’s ceremony, to be held at Los Angeles’ Beverly Hilton Hotel.
So far in the awards season, critics’ groups have bestowed their honors upon American Hustle, Gravity and Her.
Steve McQueen’s historical drama 12 Years a Slave has also figured highly, collecting seven nominations for this year’s Golden Globe awards.
The Golden Globes, a key Los Angeles awards ceremony for both cinema and television, will be held on January 12, one week before the PGA event.
The Writers Guild of America (WGA) and Directors Guild of America (DGA) are also set to announce the nominees for their own film awards.
2014 PGA BEST PICTURE NOMINEES:
- American Hustle
- Blue Jasmine
- Captain Phillips
- Dallas Buyers Club
- Saving Mr. Banks
- 12 Years a Slave
- The Wolf of Wall Street[youtube ST7a1aK_lG0 650]