In a surprise, the producers of "Birdman" won the top prize Saturday night at the 26th Producers Guild of America Awards -- and in doing so, made the upcoming Oscars race much more interesting.
Alejandro G. Iñárritu, who also wrote and directed the film, John Lesher and James W. Skotchdopole received the Darryl F. Zanuck Award for outstanding producer of theatrical motion pictures during the ceremony at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza Hotel.
Richard Linklater's "Boyhood" has been sweeping critics awards and won the Golden Globe for top motion picture drama. It was a favorite to win at the PGA, which has become one of the leading bellwethers of the best-picture Oscar. The last time the guild and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences differed in their top choices was eight years ago, when the PGA selected "Little Miss Sunshine" and the academy gave the Oscar to "The Departed."
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Also nominated for the guild award were "American Sniper," "Foxcatcher," "Gone Girl," "The Grand Budapest Hotel," "The Imitation Game," "Nightcrawler," "The Theory of Everything" and "Whiplash."
Two of the PGA nominees -- "Nightcrawler" and "Gone Girl" -- failed to earn a best-film Oscar nomination. Best-picture Oscar nominee "Selma" was shut out of the guild's nominations
Also winning awards Saturday evening were "The Lego Movie" in the animated motion picture category, and "Life Itself," a chronicle of the late film critic Roger Ebert's life, which won for documentary motion picture. Those films also did not receive Oscar nominations.
On the television side, the comedy series award went to producers of "Orange Is the New Black," and the drama award went to "Breaking Bad" for its final season. The producers of "Fargo" received the long-form TV award.
Live entertainment and talk television awards went to "The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon," while "Cosmos: A SpaceTime Odyssey" received the honor for nonfiction television. The producers of "The Voice" earned the award in the competition category.
"Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel" won for sports program, "Sesame Street" for children's program and "Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee" for digital series.
HBO's AIDS drama "The Normal Heart" was this year's recipient of the Stanley Kramer Award, which honors raising awareness of important social issues.
Lionsgate Chief Executive Jon Feltheimer received the milestone award, and "The Walking Dead" producer Gale Ann Hurd was given the David O. Selznick Achievement Award.
Brad Pitt, Dede Gardner and Jeremy Kleiner's Plan B Entertainment received the visionary award presented by 92-year-old Norman Lear. And Mark Gordon, producer of "Criminal Minds," "Grey's Anatomy" and "Ray Donovan," received the Norman Lear Achievement Award in Television.