Never has a film so small dominated an Oscar race so thoroughly
Nomadland, the low-to-micro-budget indie starring Frances McDormand as a modern-day American nomad, won the Darryl F. Zanuck Award at the 32nd Annual Producers Guild Awards.
The prize is the guild’s Best Picture equivalent, and it follows a steady stream of industry honors for this awards season juggernaut (including the Golden Globes and Critics Choice Awards) written and directed by Chloé Zhao. McDormand and Zhao are 2 of the film’s 5 producers, so parts of the PGA hardware went directly to them.
With Zhao also taking home every directing award in sight, Nomadland looks to be a lock at this point for the two top categories at this year’s Academy Awards, which will be held on Sunday April 25.
For other films looking to pull an upset, recent PGA history may give them a glimmer of hope. Despite the PGA and Oscar winners matching for seven years straight from 2007 to 2014, the history since then has been spotty at best, where the two have lined up only twice over the last five years.
Still, the upsets over those years tend to go in the other direction, meaning that the PGA has honored big, flashy, and often expensive productions (like last year with the ambitious “one take” war film 1917) while Oscar has zagged towards a lower-budget underdog (South Korean thriller Parasite won the Academy Award over 1917).
Suffice it to say, Nomadland seems like the surest bet in years.
In other categories, the Producers Guild named Pixar’s Soul the year’s best produced animated feature, and Netflix’s My Octopus Teacher the best produced documentary.
Winners were announced during the Producers Guild Awards ceremony on Wednesday, March 24, 2021.
Click here to see the Television winners.
Producers Guild of America
2020 Winners and Nominees
Darryl F. Zanuck Award for Outstanding Producer of Theatrical Motion Pictures
WINNER: Nomadland (Producers: Mollye Asher, Dan Janvey, Frances McDormand, Peter Spears, Chloé Zhao)
- Borat Subsequent Moviefilm
- Judas and the Black Messiah
- Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom
- One Night in Miami
- Promising Young Woman
- Sound of Metal
- The Trial of the Chicago 7
Award for Outstanding Producer of Animated Theatrical Motion Pictures
WINNER: Soul (Producer: Dana Murray)
- The Croods: A New Age
- Over the Moon
Award for Outstanding Producer of Documentary Motion Pictures
WINNER: My Octopus Teacher (Producer: Craig Foster)
- David Attenborough: A Life on Our Planet
- Dick Johnson is Dead
- A Thousand Cuts
- The Truffle Hunters
2020 PGA Honorees
- Milestone Award: Donna Langley (recognizing an individual or team who has made historic contributions to the entertainment industry)
- David O. Selznick Achievement Award in Motion Pictures: Kevin Feige, Marvel Studios