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David Poland

By David Poland

PGA Tees Off… Shoots For Par

I know some of you are sick of hearing it… I’m sick of writing it. But The Producer’s Guild announced their 10 today and… TAA DAH!!!… changed nothing.

The single interesting thing about the list is the inclusion of Bridesmaids, which shouldn’t be too much of a shock. But there is a wave of energy in that direction in terms of a potential Oscar nomination, though still a very, very, very long shot.

The question for Oscar remains, how many slots. I am in the camp of 7 or 8… more likely 7. Because of the nominating system, which relies on recycled ballots to build the number of nominees, and the seeming balance amongst the 13 films that seem to be in contention (see: Gurus), I expect no more than 2 films to get ballots’ #2 votes to get redistributed and a relatively small number of ballot #2s to be redistributed by disqualification (less than 1% of the vote).

So look for the highest passion films to get in and for the quirky picks to be forgotten. In Gurus terms, that makes 1-7 likely and 8-13 unlikely, in any order. And 8-13 is where the “surprises” were on the PGA ballot. #8 The Tree of Life, #9 Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, and #10 Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close did not get in. #11 The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, #12 The Ides of March, and #13 Bridesmaids did.

And your likely nominees list continues to be The Artist, The Descendants, Hugo, War Horse, The Help, Midnight in Paris, and Moneyball.

The PGA’s Animations nominees are pretty much exactly as expected, though there is some expectation that The Academy noms might include one of the smaller European films.

And in doc, PGA went off the Academy shortlist with 3 of 5 picks, matching only Bill Cunningham New York and Project Nim… though the non-shortlist picks are all ones that many had expected to make the shortlist.

45 Responses to “PGA Tees Off… Shoots For Par”

  1. yancyskancy says:

    THE IDES OF MARCH folks must be frustrated, getting Globes and PGA nods and knowing it probably won’t translate into much Oscar love. At least that’s my assumption here on the outside looking in. A screenplay nod maybe.

    Without tracking down the TV eligibility rules, I’m rather shocked that BREAKING BAD didn’t make the cut. Also no JUSTIFIED, no LOUIE.

  2. Following the Oscar hoopla from afar (Venezuela) I notice some kind of “manifest destiny” for The Artist and The Descendants. When this happens so early? in the Oscar race, sometimes I feel like it’s over. The sense that the Academy will vote for a B&W silent film, because it’s well liked but also because it gives the Academy the feel that it’s willing to take riks handing the Best Picture Oscar to a silent movie, is just overwhelming.

    I can almost sense where the surprises are going to be: Gary Oldman? Elizabeth Olsen? Tree of Life as Best Picture nominee?

  3. Timh says:

    Any explanation for the inclusion of The Union on the Docs shortlist? Literally no one has even mentioned this film since it screened once at Tribeca, let alone had it as an awards contender, but it shows up on the PGA list just in time for its HBO airing this month? Convenient? Maybe. Yet another HBO awards buy-out? Likely. Why is no one flagging this?

  4. David Poland says:

    If HBO was buying, they’d have bought a slot for Paradise 3.

  5. lujoc says:

    Surprised (and disappointed) that they didn’t go for Buck and went for Beats Rhymes (aka Tribe Called Quest: Behind the Music) instead.

  6. Timh says:

    Must just all be huge Elton John fans then.

  7. Sam says:

    To be fair, would ANY list of nominees change the Oscar game in any real way? There’s a limit to how much these precursors can do. Certainly they can “shape the conversation,” which might hurt or harm any of the potential Oscar nominees at the margins.

    PGA recognizing Bridesmaids is not insignificant for that film. And PGA overlooking Tree of Life is not insignificant for that one, either. Those two films are probably most affected by the PGA noms than most others ever could be. I mean, if PGA nominated Warrior, would it actually change Warrior’s non-chance of being nominated at the Oscars? Probably not. The PGA isn’t powerful enough to push that film over the top. But for something like Bridesmaids or Tree of Life, already at the tipping point, maybe a tiny nudge makes all the difference.

  8. Mark F. says:

    Tree of Life will probably have enough #1 placements to get a BP nomination. Just my two cents.

  9. Nick Rogers says:

    Don’t get me wrong. I enjoyed Bridesmaids, even though it was 30 minutes too long (the attempt to get arrested felt like a bit dumped at the end of SNL for good reason) and stole its ironically amusing Wilson Phillips inspiration from Harold and Kumar Go To White Castle.

    But could someone — anyone — please articulate any rational reason (other than “it was time women had their own movie like this”) why THIS broad comedy has ANY chance at Best Picture when The 40-Year-Old Virgin or Superbad (both far superior Apatow comedies about insecurity / friendship) weren’t even included in such a conversation?

  10. Steven Kaye says:

    Good question, Nick Rogers. But you answered it yourself – the only reason why it’s in the Oscar conservation is that it features women. These days, a film that depicts women as being just as vulgar as men is considered a grand feminist statement.

  11. Don R. Lewis says:

    Sad but true I think.

  12. Pat says:

    If there had been ten nominees in 1995, 40 year old Virgin would have gotten nominated. With more nominees, the voters don’t immediately pick the next five Year-End-Oscar-Films on the list. They look further back at other movies that stood out for them in a zeitgeisty way. Bridesmaid definitely qualifies.

    I’m afraid “The Help” will end up the Oscar winner. It will definitely win that SAG ensemble award. (Its not going to The Artist, or to Matthew Lillard). That win will give it anough critical respectability to encourage its fans among the Oscar voters.

  13. leahnz says:

    could it get any more nauseatingly blokey in here, blech

  14. Jerryishere says:

    @pat –10 nominees in ’95?
    I think Casino or Heat or Toy Story or Crimson Tide or Seven or Get Shorty or 12 Monkeys or The American President or Usual Suspects or Nixon or To Die For or Before Sunrise might have a better shot than 40 year old Virgin which doesn’t come out for another decade.

    But seriously — look at that list of overlooked 95 films… Can you imagine finding films like that today that are overlooked?

  15. yancyskancy says:

    I’m with leah.

    I’m not the Academy, or even in it, but if BRIDESMAIDS ends up on my 2011 top ten (a near certainty), it will be because I really liked it and found it funny and smart and often brilliantly acted. I even liked the trying-to-get-arrested sequence, and wouldn’t have cut it. That the film shows women being “just as vulgar as men” will not be a factor in my decision.

    I do agree that THE 40 YEAR OLD VIRGIN and SUPERBAD should’ve been serious contenders for Best Picture nods, and they probably would’ve been if the Academy (like most award-giving bodies, unfortunately) didn’t have such a blind spot for comedy in general.

  16. Paul D/Stella says:

    People seem to genuinely love Bridesmaids. I’ve seen it on a lot of top 10 lists, from critics and non-critics alike. It’s a little unfair to claim that it would only receive a Best Picture nom because it stars women. I don’t think it or Superbad or 40 YOV is Best Picture worthy, but I do think Bridesmaids is just as funny as the other two.

  17. Pat says:

    I meant 2005.
    Can’t get my mind out of the 20th century.

  18. leahnz says:

    yay yancy & paul. perhaps i should add that for me the daring and unique thing about ‘bridesmaids’ is that annie is an unusual protagonist – esp for a female lead – in that while i personally wouldn’t call her ‘unlikeable’, she isn’t always a sympathetic character and i found her enormously frustrating, which is terrific. she’s this bottled-up quietly seething cauldron of failure and hopelessness, played quite wonderfully and subtly by wiig, a far more complex, complicated character than carrell in ’40 yr old virgin’, which as a film is extremely conventional in theme, gender depiction and likeability of a sympathetic protagonist.

    i can certainly understand how someone might not like ‘bridesmaids’, but the comments above about it only being ‘in the conversation’ because it’s about women is misguided, insulting and kinda disgusting really (sorry don, i mustn’t be comprehending things very well, silly me and my pretty little head, perhaps you can set me straight)

  19. LexG says:

    I only care about how hot the women in movies are. Most guys don’t even care about THAT. 99% of the guys I know have NO INTEREST in the women in any movie, in female acting, don’t even notice it. They pay literally NO ATTENTION to the women in movies and regard them as like the cheerleaders on the sidelines in a football game.

    Only gay men and feminist women give a shit about FEMALE STORIES. Oh, and me, because I like to imagine what it’s like banging the actresses. But MEN DO NOT CARE about actresses. This is TOTAL FACT.

  20. hcat says:

    I like 40 and Bridesmaids about the same but don’t see how you can complain about bloat in Bridesmaids and overlook it in 40. How long did the waxing and speed dating and I know you’re gay scenes go on?

    While I didn’t get all the love for Bridesmaids, good movie but not oscar worthy, it had a much stronger charecter arc than the meandering 40YOV.

  21. Nick Rogers says:

    Oh, I know Apatovian Bloat has almost always been a problem. Superbad is probably the only long film he’s been involved in where I didn’t notice it. I’ll concede moments of filler in 40YOV. I’ll also concede that Wiig (whom I like in general and in this movie) pulled off the trickiness of the role quite well. I guess the bottom line is that other directors — like, say, Nicole Holofcener — have been making far superior — but less broad and crowd-pleasing — comedies about women and their anxieties for a long time. And if Bridesmaids gets nominated for Best Picture, its montage-introduction stinger is sure as shit going to mention that women can get just as rowdy as men.

  22. Paul D/Stella says:

    Amen re: Nicole Holofcener. Criminally underrated director despite the good reviews all her films receive. Love her work. I agree that all of her movies are superior to Bridesmaids (as well as 40 YOV and Superbad). I guess what I’m trying to say is, I like female stories, especially from Holofcener.

  23. LexG says:

    ” Nicole Holofcener…”

    NO visual style. As with all but two female directors.

  24. Paul D/Stella says:

    Her writing and the casts she gets more than make up for any shortcomings concerning visual style. Sometimes a story told well with a great cast is enough.

  25. Nick Rogers says:

    Lex: I suspect Bigelow is one of your two. Taymor or Coppola the other one?

  26. LexG says:

    “Her writing and the casts she gets more than make up for any shortcomings concerning visual style. Sometimes a story told well with a great cast is enough.”

    If I ever cared about writing, I’d read a book. I go to movies for VISUAL STYLE and KINETIC ENERGY. Female directors don’t have a VISUAL BONE IN THEIR BODY, except for two or three of them (Coppola, Bigelow, MAYBE Kim Peirce and hopefully the chick who did The Runaways.) Fuck writing. I NEVER care about the writing in movies. I wish movies had about 80% LESS writing, in fact, and just went on pure emotion and visuals.

  27. JS Partisan says:

    You do know that you have to write to capture that PURE EMOTION, RIGHT? COME ON! COME ON! COME ON! See? Pure emotion is reliant on freaking words!

  28. Jeffrey Boam's Doctor says:

    “I do agree that THE 40 YEAR OLD VIRGIN and SUPERBAD should’ve been serious contenders for Best Picture nods”

    The world must truly be ending in 2012 for the above statement to be made with a straight face.

  29. Jeffrey Boam's Doctor says:

    I also couldn’t believe it when PORKYS was robbed by GANDHI for Best Pic in 82.

  30. Paul D/Stella says:

    Yeah fuck writing. I don’t know what I was thinking. Writing has nothing whatsoever to do with great cinema.

  31. JKill says:

    Just because a filmmaker makes talky movies doesn’t mean they don’t have a visual style or that visuals aren’t integral to the way their movies work. The two most obvious examples I can think of are Woody Allen and Eric Rohmer (from what I’ve seen of the latter, at least), both of whom have made small scale relationship films filled with dialogue. The way their characters and landscapes are filmed and composed is crucial to the integrity of the overall work; it’s just more subtle and harder to detect than in the work of others.

  32. jesse says:

    I haven’t seen Porky’s, but Superbad is a vastly better movie than Gandhi.

  33. yancyskancy says:

    JBD: So keep comedy at the children’s table, eh?

    But yeah, good point — PORKY’S critical rep is exactly like that of 40 YEAR OLD VIRGIN and SUPERBAD. And GANDHI is everyone’s favorite Oscar winner. Should place high in the Sight and Sound best films of all time poll this year.

    ETA: That’s sarcasm.

  34. leahnz says:

    not to weigh into the merits of drama vs comedy for the bazillionth time, but just curious why people dislike ‘gandhi’, of all movies? it’s a lovely flick, won a shitload of baftas and oscars, critically acclaimed, superb central perf, epic film-making and one of the few inspired historical biopics, i’m not understanding the bashing it gets, am i missing something? was there a big gandhi backlash?

  35. JS Partisan says:

    Gandhi beat ET for best picture, and that will forever piss people off Leah.

  36. Jeffrey Boam's Doctor says:

    Yancy. Not at all. But the films you mentioned are pretty much puerile at their core and were loved by arrested adults mostly, the rest us thought them middling to passable comedies. The chances of those films ever being up for Best Pic was slim to none. Superbad is like many other teen movies. If anything its overrated. It’s like saying 16 Candles should have been up for Best Pic in its year (well it probably should have right – long duk dong for prez!). Moonlight in Paris is a Best Pic comedy. Superbad is not.

    I guess what Im saying is that I agree with you that comedies have a tendency to be looked down by the Academy. However I also think the ones that have been nominated (not just BP) have always been exceptional whereas films like Superbad and 40Yr old are really just another Hangover.

  37. leahnz says:

    jf seb: ooh, ok i think i’ve heard that before but it didn’t occur to me.

    somebody should do a list of ‘most derided and impugned movies to win best pic oscars simply by virtue of beating out more beloved/iconic movies no matter how meritorious or beloved the winning movie actually was’

    i go full tard when it comes to such oscar trivia off the top of my head

    ‘gandhi’ over ET, apparently; ‘dances w/wolves’ over goodfellas; ‘shakesp. in love’ over ‘private ryan’ (possibly the most trotted-out example?); ‘ordinary people’ over ‘raging bull'; ‘rocky’ over bullwinkle (ba dum dum) er ‘network’/’taxi driver'; ‘how green was my valley’ over ‘citizen cane’ come to mind…there must be many more…perhaps ‘titanic’ over ‘la conf’ fits the bill?… i give up

  38. yancyskancy says:

    No point in getting into a scrap about something as subjective as comedy. So suffice it to say I should’ve said 40YOV and SUPERBAD might have been Best Pic contenders in a field of 10 (in my perfect world) but I wouldn’t expect them to have a chance in a field of 5. At any rate, I don’t agree that they should be lumped in with THE HANGOVER — they are much more character-driven and have moments of real humanity and insight (and the concept of ‘overrated’ means nothing to me — it’s totally subjective). THE HANGOVER is more of a ‘just for laughs’ thing (nothing wrong with that, but its only Oscar shot was maybe in the screenplay category, ’cause the Academy sometimes lets a broad comedy get in if it’s a smash hit).

    We can also disagree about what makes a comedy exceptional: A TOUCH OF CLASS, THE GOODBYE GIRL, MOONSTRUCK, WORKING GIRL, LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE… just a few Best Pic nominees from the last 40 years that don’t strike me as more exceptional than the best Apatow productions.

    leah: I haven’t even seen GANDHI, but I’ve gotten the sense over the years that most critics derided its win, Attenborough not being much of an auteurist favorite.

  39. leahnz says:

    oh. well you should see gandhi, it’s a fucking good movie.

  40. cadavra says:

    “So keep comedy at the children’s table, eh?”

    No, just mindless, childish comedy. Apparently my growing senility prevents me from distinguishing the farting, vomiting, pooping, stupidity and infantile behavior of JACK AND JILL from the farting, vomiting, pooping, stupidity and infantile behavior of BRIDESMAIDS.

  41. hcat says:

    Is it grumpy old manish for me to say one of the reasons I enjoyed Larry Crowne was because it was a studio comedy where no one shit their pants?

    And Gandhi is a fantastic movie, but you forgot Gump over Pulp on your list. And though it may be the minority opinion I will always defend Rocky as the correct choice in a banner year.

  42. leahnz says:

    gump over pulp, of course

    (do men never shit their pants in real life? get the squirts and stuff, sliding into 2nd before you can get to the toilet. oops, eta the bridesmaids scene was extreme but i’ve seen carnage on a smaller scale amongst the chicas more times than i care to recall)

  43. sanj says:

    you would think as an indian i would have seen gandhi like 12 times by now but i’ve never seen it . kingsley was pretty good in hugo … but thanks to wikipedia i figured out the entire gandhi story in 2 minutes.

  44. yancyskancy says:

    cadavra: Did you see both JACK AND JILL and BRIDESMAIDS? I only saw the latter, so I can’t compare them. But I’m rather amazed at how that one notorious scene in BRIDESMAIDS is the only thing that some people take from the movie. It’s like two minutes out of a two-hour plus running time, and, like many supposedly disgusting scenes, you don’t actually SEE much that’s objectionable. At any rate, the film is hardly mindless.

  45. cadavra says:

    Yes, I saw both. I grant you that the bodily function “humor” is not stem to stern, but the whole movie is still offensively stupid and juvenile. The Wiig character is obnoxious and hateful, not the least bit sympathetic even in the champagne-villain sense. The scene where she destroys all the food and presents because of some imagined slight does nothing to make us feel for her plight–which of course is non-existent. The McCarthy character is a one-dimensional stereotype who spouts cliche double entendres; it only “works” because it’s such a complete departure for her. The trip to Vegas–which is apparently supposed to be some sort of wink at HANGOVER–is abruptly aborted, making us wonder why this was even left in in the first place, especially in a two-hour-plus movie. And it’s just relentlessly unfunny, at least to anyone who’s accustomed to actual comedy; the closest I came to a smile was Clayburgh’s offer to put syrup on the tuna sandwich, which at least was a joke (albeit not much of one). That this sorry-ass mess–which was apparently largely improvised–scored a WGA nomination merely proves that people have largely forgotten the art of comedy.

    N.B.: Last week I took a twenty-something aspiring stand-up comic (whose favorite movies are mostly from the last 10-15 years) to see IT’S A MAD MAD MAD MAD WORLD. She had never heard of the film nor most of the cast, but was still totally convulsed in laughter start to finish. Afterwards, she thanked me profusely and added, “I have so much to learn,” asking me for many of the actors’ names so she could Google them. So you see, “the kids” can still appreciate great comedy–you just have to get them to watch it…and filmmakers still have to want to make it.

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