Oscar Harbinger PRODUCERS GUILD Nominates 10 for Best Picture (AWARDS 2015)

Straight Outta Compton is a lock for a Best Picture nomination.

That’s basically the major tea leaf from today’s announcement by the Producers Guild of America for their Best Film nominees of 2015. Traditionally, this guild’s choices are virtually the equivalent of the Academy’s Best Picture slot, and while the picks between the two don’t always line up 1-to-1, they match far more often than not.

The true story rap biopic – which, at a $161 million box office total, became the largest grossing film ever directed by an African-American (F. Gary Gray) – has now received major nominations from the PGA as well as SAG (the Screen Actors Guild), who nominated the popular urban drama for Best Cast (that org’s Best Pic equivalent). It would be fairly shocking at this point for Straight Outta Compton to be snubbed by the Academy after garnering those two citations from the industry’s biggest unions.

Joining SOC is…or, well, isn’t Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Given its gargantuan impact, the oversight is a fairly big surprise, particularly for a guild that is known to nominate blockbuster entries from franchises like Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, Star Trek, and Avatar. One factor may have been when PGA voting closed (a date I was not able to track down), but suffice it to say that’s a major obstacle for a movie that otherwise has had nothing but momentum.

But the biggest snub goes to the omission of Carol, the 1950s period lesbian romance that has been the rave of critics. Seen as a lock in many Academy categories, the PGA’s snub of the visually lush Todd Haynes drama could be a sign of unexpected trouble for its Oscar chances. Carols absence is nothing short of a shock.

Nevertheless, the other 9 films chosen by the PGA mostly align with the expected short list of Best Pic contenders – with the exception Sicario, the superb drug thriller crime drama, and Ex Machina, probably the biggest surprise of the group. That small budget indie sci-fi thriller has had a few critics citations here and there but nothing from the industry guilds. This recognition definitely gives that film more hope for Oscar nominations than its makers and distributor  – Universal Studios – likely planned on.

It’s another feather in the cap for Universal, whose not only coming off the biggest box office haul by any studio ever in a single year ($2 billion domestic/$5 billion worldwide, fueled by Jurassic World, Furious 7, Minions, and Straight Outta Compton) but now is an even bigger Oscar contender than most prognosticators had initially thought.

Here is the full list of 10 nominated films, as well as those for Animated and Documentary features.

Best Picture of 2015 Nominees

Best Animated Feature Nominees

Best Documentary Feature Nominees (previously announced)

  • 1. Amy
  • 2. The Hunting Ground
  • 3. The Look of Silence
  • 4. Meru
  • 5. Something Better To Come

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