And Film Twitter just lost its ever-flippin’ mind.
In the year of Black Panther, BlacKkKlansman, and If Beale Street Could Talk, the Producers Guild of America – the Hollywood union that’s an annual precursor for Best Picture contenders and winners – chose the year’s most controversial film, Green Book, as the best.
The PGA presented its Darryl F. Zanuck Award for Outstanding Producer of Theatrical Motion Pictures to the film’s producers, which include director Peter Farrelly, a man previously known for his crude comedies like Dumb & Dumber and There’s Something About Mary.
Made in the feel-good mode of old, seemingly antiquated civil rights dramas of decades past, Green Book — based on the true story of how an inter-racial relationship in the 1960s helped a white Italian man evolve beyond his racism — has weathered criticisms of whitewashing a legendary black singer’s struggles during the Jim Crow era south, telling his story primarily through a white man’s eyes.
Along with being dubbed a “white savior” movie and a “magical negro” film (both derogatory terms), a not-so-small contingent of film writers and online cinephiles have even gone so far to characterize Green Book as racist, particularly after the family of Don Shirley (the late African-American musican portrayed in the film by Mahershala Ali) criticized the film and Shirley’s portrayal.
(To read the best, most fair piece I’ve come across about the whole controversy – written by Scott Feinberg of the Hollywood Reporter – click here.)
If Green Book goes on to win the Academy Award for Best Picture (many people would now consider it the surprise front runner) and beat Spike Lee’s BlacKkKlansman in the process, it will be seen as big of an awards injustice as when Driving Miss Daisy won Best Picture in 1989 — the same year that Spike Lee’s Do The Right Thing was released (but not even nominated).
Honestly, the only winner that could be deemed worse is Bohemian Rhapsody, but only by a slim margain.
More Guild choices to come — including Screen Actors, Writers, and Directors — as we see if Green Book can make a clean sweep of the big guild honors, or if other films will be cited by the industry orgs and thus make the 91st Academy Awards the most wide open Best Picture race in memory.
Producers Guild of America
Darryl F. Zanuck Award 2018 Awards
(Winners and fellow Nominees)
Best Film: Green Book
- Black Panther
- Bohemian Rhapsody
- Crazy Rich Asians
- The Favourite
- A Quiet Place
- A Star Is Born
Best Animated Film: Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
Best Documentary Feature: Won’t You Be My Neighbor?
- The Dawn Wall
- Free Solo
- Three Identical Strangers
2019 PGA Honorees
- Milestone Award (recognizing an individual or team who has made historic contributions to the entertainment industry):
- Toby Emmerich
- David O. Selznick Achievement Award in Motion Pictures:
- Kevin Feige
- Norman Lear Achievement Award in Television:
- Amy Sherman-Palladino
- Visionary Award (recognizing unique or uplifting contributions to our culture through inspiring storytelling or performance):
- Kenya Barris
- Stanley Kramer Award (an achievement or contribution that illuminates and raises public awareness of important social issues):
- Jane Fonda
Click on links below for other Critics Group Awards and Guild Nominees that have been announced so far for the 2018 / 19 season:
Critics Choice Awards Winners
Directors Guild of America Nominees
Writers Guild of America Nominees
Golden Globe Winners
National Society of Film Critics
Boston Society of Film Critics
Dallas-Fort Worth Film Critics Association
Screen Actors Guild Nominees
San Francisco Film Critics Circle
Los Angeles Film Critics Association
Toronto Film Critics Association
Philadelphia Film Critics Circle
Chicago Film Critics Association
AFI Film Awards
Detroit Film Critics Society
Atlanta Film Critics Circle
New York Film Critics Circle
The National Board of Review