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Producers Guild of America nominations = Oscars' front-runners

January 5, 2009 | 12:18 pm

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There were no jaw-droppers among the nominees for best picture by the Producers Guild of America: "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button," "Dark Knight," "Frost/Nixon," "Milk" and "Slumdog Millionaire." A winner will be announced on Jan. 24.

Most of the Producers Guild of America nominees tend to line up with the Oscar high five, but sometimes the guild is known to toss in surprises like "My Big Fat Greek Wedding" (2002) and "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone" (2001).

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Some pundits believed that "Wall-E" might sneak in, considering that the producers guild nominated animated blockbusters in the past such as "The Incredibles" in 2004 and "Shrek" in 2001. Also snubbed were these other films considered to be front-runners: "Doubt," "Gran Torino," "The Reader," "Revolutionary Road" and "The Wrestler."

In their 19-year history, the Producers Guild of America awards have foreseen 12 of Oscar's eventual best-picture winners, including last year's champ "No Country for Old Men." However, the previous three PGA winners failed to prevail at the Oscars. In 2006, the PGA picked "Little Miss Sunshine" over "The Departed," in 2005, it backed "Brokeback Mountain" rather than "Crash," and in 2004 "The Aviator" soared ahead of "Million Dollar Baby."

While the PGA has only predicted 63% of the eventual Oscars winners, they have gotten a solid 76% of the best picture contenders correct. Indeed, 72 of their choices were among the 95 in contention for the top Oscar over the last 19 years. Last year, they scored four out of five with "Juno," "Michael Clayton" and "There Will Be Blood" also among their picks. While the PGA had "The Diving Bell and the Butterfly" as the fifth nominee, the academy voters went with "Atonement."

The only year that the producers guild nominees did not include the eventual Oscar winner was back in 1995 when "Braveheart" failed to make the cut and "Apollo 13" took home the Golden Laurel.

Photos: Warner Bros., Paramount, Focus Features, Universal, Fox Searchlight


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