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‘The Big Short’ Wins Big at the Producer’s Guild Awards

With reporters and pundits at Sundance now madly speculating on the frontrunners for the 2017 Oscars (despite the ceremony being thirteen months away, Casey Affleck appears to be a lock for Best Actor), we might have forgotten that this year’s awards season is not yet over. This year’s Oscar telecast is still a month away, but other Hollywood institutions continue to keep the finger-sandwich industry in the black by gradually rolling out their awards programs in January. Everybody’s got a guild — the Screen Actors Guild will name its recipients on Saturday, the Directors Guild of America has its big shindig the week after, and the Writers Guild of America has laid claim to the week after that.

But this past Saturday night, the Producers Guild of America named their picks for the films most deserving of awards hardware, and the results could completely reframe this year’s Oscar race. The PGA, a group comprised mostly of the same folks who will vote at the Academy Awards (and accordingly a reliable weathervane for the Oscars to come), threw their weight behind Best Picture nominee The Big Short, awarding the dramatization of the recent housing-market crisis their top prize. The Daryl F. Zanuck Award for Outstanding Producer of Theatrical Motion Pictures went to Jeremy Kleiner, Dede Gardner, and Brad Pitt for their work on the film, whatever that might entail.

While what, exactly, a producer might do to merit a special citation for exemplary work remains unclear, what is clear is that this represents a key get for the Big Short team as the Oscars approach. The winner of the PGA’s top prize has gone on to take Best Picture at the Academy Awards every year since 2007, and so this gives Adam McKay’s film a crucial edge over current frontrunner The Revenant. In the coming weeks, the other awards programs will clarify the Oscar picture even further, but things just got interesting. Actually, that’s not quite fair, this has been a pretty unpredictable race already. Things just remained interesting.

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