Ever since "The Hurt Locker" triumphed over "Avatar" at the 2010 Producers Guild Awards, it has been rather obvious to me that this precursor announcement is the skeleton key to understanding how the Oscar vote will likely play out. Why? Because — as we've noted a number of times — the PGA is the only group that shares the preferential ballot system the Academy employs. So what won this year? "Birdman" won, that's what. And for those who were chalking this up as a boring, telegraphed Oscar season…


So, what does this mean for the rest of the season? It means, clearly, "Birdman" could well be poised to take the Best Picture Oscar next month. I, for one, thought "The Imitation Game" would be the one to unseat "Boyhood" this evening and assert itself as the industry favorite. I even thought "American Sniper" had an outside shot. I wasn't looking at "Birdman," though, and personally, I'm elated. As far as observing a season goes, I'm a touch confused.

But maybe I shouldn't be. Is it just preordained because of how the preferential ballot will play itself out from here? Or will this be the year that breaks the PGA's streak? "Birdman" is already strong going into tomorrow's Screen Actors Guild Awards, and should it take the ensemble prize there (odds on favorite), watch out!

For now, let's reset. I imagine Monday's Oscar column will not want for material. Other bits and bobs from tonight's awards include "Breaking Bad" winning, I believe, the last award the series is eligible for and Oscar snubees "Life Itself" and "The LEGO Movie" winning in their respective categories. But "Birdman," y'all. Wow.

Check out the PGA nominees here, the full list of winners below and the rest of the season's offerings at The Circuit.


Outstanding Producer of Theatrical Motion Pictures
"Birdman" (Fox Searchlight Pictures)
Producers: Alejandro G. Iñárritu, John Lesher, James W. Skotchdopole

Outstanding Producer of Animated Theatrical Motion Pictures
"The LEGO Movie" (Warner Bros. Pictures)
Producer: Dan Lin

Outstanding Producer of Documentary Theatrical Motion Pictures
"Life Itself" (Magnolia Pictures)
Producers: Garrett Basch, Steve James, Zak Piper

TV winners and more on the next page...

Kristopher Tapley has covered the film awards landscape for over a decade. He founded In Contention in 2005. His work has also appeared in The New York Times, The Times of London and Variety. He begs you not to take any of this too seriously.