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Producers Guild Nominees: 2015

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Ex Machina dance scene

They’ve got reason to celebrate.

The Producers Guild Awards are generally considered a pretty vital precursor, especially since their list of 10 usually syncs up fairly closely with the Best Picture nominees–and their winner usually has to be considered the frontrunner to win the Oscar.

Let’s take a look at their list:

  • The Big Short
  • Bridge of Spies
  • Brooklyn
  • Ex Machina
  • Mad Max: Fury Road
  • The Martian
  • The Revenant
  • Sicario
  • Spotlight 
  • Straight Outta Compton

The Big Short has only been gaining momentum. Bridge and Brooklyn receive much needed boosts. Ex Machina was a slightly left-field choice, but welcome. Max has been a fixture of the season from the start, and the same can more or less be said of The Martian and The Revenant. 

Sicario pops up at a point when I figured it was more out than in. Spotlight, of course, is your frontrunner. Straight Outta Compton remains oddly resilient.

The big omissions here: Carol, The Hateful Eight, Inside Out, Room, and Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Carol I can’t imagine being left off. Hateful Eight, sadly, will almost certainly be. Inside Out is a special case, since it has Animated Feature locked up and might be left off for that reason…but it’s one of the most beloved films of the year, which leads me to think it still has a shot. Room has popped up enough this season to make me think it’s still happening. Star Wars was always an iffy proposition, and I think we can solidly count it out.

This also probably puts the final nail in the prospects of films like Creed, The Danish Girl, Joy, and Steve Jobs, which weren’t likely to happen anyway.

So, let’s see if we can parse out what the Academy will go for. Let’s start by assuming they’ll go for 9. They did so three years in a row, and probably came within an inch of making Foxcatcher their 9th film last year. There could be 10 this year, but I’m not banking on it.

The Big Short, Mad Max, The Martian, The Revenant, and Spotlight are in. I think we can all agree on that.

Carol and Room, I think, should be considered in. That makes 7.

Bridge and Brooklyn are right on the verge, but neither has strong Picture momentum. I can’t readily predict them. Ex Machina isn’t happening at all. I’ll be glad to be wrong if it does, but the odds are heavily against it.

Sicario, to me, is a wild card. Maybe my own lack of enthusiasm for it makes it hard for to predict it, but it doesn’t feel likely. Neither does Straight Outta Compton, but it has some ardent supporters and is a musical biopic, a genre the Academy has embraced before.

Without further guilds or awards to resolve the confusion, I’ll split the difference between the two “B”s and the two “S”s. Brooklyn seems to have broader support than Bridge, and while betting against Spielberg is risky, the evidence suggests this will not be his year. And Straight Outta Compton has a lot going for it as a nominee, even though I’m not sure what other nominations it would get–Editing, Sound Mixing, maybe Original Screenplay? I’m not sure.

So here are my predicted 9:

  • The Big Short
  • Brooklyn
  • Carol
  • Mad Max: Fury Road
  • The Martian
  • The Revenant
  • Room
  • Spotlight
  • Straight Outta Compton

And Inside Out is the 10th film if they nominate 10.

I’m not entirely sure of that list, but until more of the precursors (especially the guilds) weigh in, it’s the best I’ve got.

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