Oscar nominations will be announced in eight days, and, at this point, we've put only five movies in our circle of trust for the best picture race -- "Lincoln," "Argo," "Silver Linings Playbook," "Zero Dark Thirty" and "Les Miserables." Outside that quintet, who knows? "Life of Pi" probably. After that, maybe a couple. Maybe nothing. Under the academy's preferential balloting system, the slate starts at five and can go up to 10, depending on how many movies receive votes near the top of members' lists.
So making today's Producers Guild list of 10 nominees doesn't guarantee a spot at the dance, nor does it preclude you from have your card punched by the academy. Last year, "The Tree of Life" and "Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close" made the Oscar best picture field after being ignored by the PGA. And academy voters pooh-poohed "The Ides of March," "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo," and, predictably, "Bridesmaids."
But landing a spot on the PGA list certainly doesn't hurt and the inclusion of "Moonrise Kingdom," "Django Unchained," "Beasts of the Southern Wild" and "Skyfall" could be an indication that some of these titles will also show up on the academy's list when it's revealed Jan. 10. Likewise, the absence of "The Master" and "Flight" provides evidence that those films remain, at best, longshots.
"Django" was the only one of the PGA nominees that didn't send out a screener, a signal that Quentin Tarantino's late-arriving spaghetti western is being seen and appreciated. "Skyfall," meanwhile, is the first James Bond movie to win a PGA nod. Can the movie go on to make similar history with the academy? That, along with the size of the best picture field, stands as one of the more tantalizing questions of this year's race.
The Producers Guild Awards ceremony will take place on Jan. 26. The complete list of nominees for the Darryl F. Zanuck Award for Outstanding Producer of Theatrical Motion Pictures:
Beasts of the Southern Wild
Producers: Michael Gottwald, Dan Janvey, Josh Penn
Producers: Reginald Hudlin, Pilar Savone, Stacey Sher
Producers: Tim Bevan & Eric Fellner, Debra Hayward, Cameron Mackintosh
Life of Pi
Producers: Ang Lee, Gil Netter, David Womark
Producers: Kathleen Kennedy, Steven Spielberg
Silver Linings Playbook
Producers: Bruce Cohen, Donna Gigliotti, Jonathan Gordon
Producers: Barbara Broccoli, Michael G. Wilson
Zero Dark Thirty
Producers: Kathryn Bigelow, Mark Boal, Megan Ellison