“La La Land,” “Moonlight” and “Manchester by the Sea” have spent the last several weeks bulldozing through the awards season, ensuring their spots in the Oscar best picture race.
But what other movies will be joining them? Tuesday’s Producers Guild of America nominations for feature film provided a hint of what might happen when Oscar nominations are announced Jan. 24.
In addition to the aforementioned trio of films, PGA voters nominated “Arrival,” “Deadpool,” “Fences,” “Hacksaw Ridge,” “Hell or High Water,” “Hidden Figures” and “Lion.”
Notable movies left off the list: Martin Scorses’s profound exploration of faith, “Silence”; Pablo Larraín’s superb look at political myth-making, “Jackie”; and Jeff Nichols’ moving civil rights drama “Loving.”
But — not to get all movie snobby on you — they had room for the subversive comic book movie “Deadpool.”
The “Deadpool” nod, combined with the Writers Guild recognition the movie received last week, might lead some to think that the loud, lewd and extremely violent, attitude-driven movie could earn an Oscar nomination too. Probably not. For one thing, PGA voters have historically shown a willingness to reward darker fare — “Nightcrawler” and “Sicario” — than the film academy.
And then there’s the simple arithmetic, of course. The PGA nominates 10 movies. In the five years since the academy last revised the category for best picture — putting the number of nominated films at between five and 10, depending on the level of support — nine movies have been nominated three years, eight movies in the other two.
One other key point: In those five years, the academy has always nominated at least one movie not cited by the PGA. Last year, “Room” took that spot of honor, while PGA nominees “Straight Outta Compton,” “Sicario” and “Ex Machina” fell by the wayside.
“Deadpool” is obviously the easiest title to dismiss. But the other nine PGA nominees have as strong a case as the three critically acclaimed movies that were left off, perhaps better. “Loving,” “Jackie” and “Silence” have not done well with the other guilds either, with only “Jackie” registering for Natalie Portman’s title turn as Jacqueline Kennedy.
The one argument that could be made is that Scorsese’s “Silence” broke too late for voters to see it. Paramount did mail DVD screeners to PGA voters, as well as Directors Guild members. (The DGA announces its nominees Thursday.) Between the movie’s critical acclaim and Scorsese’s strong track record with the academy (a much more exclusive, focused group than the PGA and DGA), it’s possible “Silence” still lands a best-picture nomination over the crowd-pleaser “Hidden Figures” or the sentimental “Lion.”
The PGA also announced nominees in two other categories. For animated film, the group cited “Finding Dory,” “Kubo and the Two Strings," “Moana,” “The Secret Life of Pets” and “Zootopia.”
For documentary, the nominees are “Dancer,” “The Eagle Huntress,” “Life, Animated,” “O.J.: Made in America” and “Tower.”
The 2017 Producers Guild Award winners will be announced Jan. 28 at a ceremony held at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Los Angeles.