Women and inclusivity continued to dominate the awards season conversation Saturday at the Producers Guild Awards, where Guillermo del Toro's fantastical romance "The Shape of Water" won the top award and honorees like Jordan Peele and Ava DuVernay gave rousing speeches to the room of entertainment industry leaders.
The untelevised dinner and ceremony, held at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills, Calif., is closely watched for its capacity to predict the eventual Oscar best picture winner, but this year the "awards race" seemed to be the secondary show to the more urgent questions facing the industry, including the crisis of representation and sexual misconduct. Del Toro was not present to accept the PGA's Darryl F. Zanuck Award for Outstanding Producer of Theatrical Motion Pictures, due to the health of his father. His film was up against 10 others this year, including "Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri," which won big at the Golden Globes earlier this month, "Lady Bird," "Get Out," "Dunkirk," "The Post," "Call Me By Your Name," "The Big Sick," "I, Tonya" "Wonder Woman" and "Molly's Game" -many of which were represented by actors and directors in attendance like Timothee Chalamet, Christopher Nolan, Margot Robbie, Patty Jenkins and Greta Gerwig. Other presenters included the likes of Tom Hanks, Reese Witherspoon, Mary J. Blige, Gwyneth Paltrow, Kerry Washington and Morgan Freeman in the ceremony that saw Disney and Pixar's "Coco" pick up best animated feature and Brett Morgen's Jane Goodall film "Jane" win best documentary.
In television, "The Handmaids Tale" picked up best drama series, "The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel" won best comedy series, "Last Week Tonight With John Oliver" won best TV variety series, "Black Mirror" for long-form TV, "Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath" for nonfiction television, "Sesame Street" for children's program and "Carpool Karaoke" for best short-form program. "Selma" and "A Wrinkle in Time" director Ava DuVernay gave a poignant speech in accepting the Visionary Award, "It's an odd moment, you have a women's march and you have a country with a government shut down," DuVernay said. "We're in the midst of times that will be long remembered." Wonder Woman" producer Charles Roven used his David O. Selznick Achievement Award acceptance speech to call out powerful women he's worked with, from his late wife Dawn Steel, to Langley, Sue Kroll, Amy Pascal and Jenkins, who he said "has reignited this industry." "Glee" creator Ryan Murphy, who got the Norman Lear Achievement Award, said, "Women were always my champions and mentors for 20 years now and I believe that's because they deeply related to my struggle - what it's like to be an outsider." He has taken steps to ensure that women occupy at least half of the directing spots in his productions.
In the larger context of awards season "The Shape of Water's" win Saturday surprised some who expected "Three Billboards" to continue its ascendancy after the Globes. "The Shape of Water" is also up for two Screen Actors Guild Awards, which will be announced Sunday.
The Producers Guild's choice for top film has eight times in the last 10 years matched the eventual Academy Award best picture winner. Last year, its nominees predicted all 9 best picture nominees, although the PGA went to "La La Land" which lost out to "Moonlight" at the Academy Awards.
Oscar nominations will be announced Tuesday in advance of the ceremony on March 4.
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