The Producers Guild Awards are typically the best Oscar prognosticator. Since 1989 (the first year the Producers Guild gave out awards), the guild has matched the Oscars 17 out of 24 times. That's a pretty good average. So it's safe to say I was watching these awards closely last night. I was expecting American Hustle to take home something, but it ended up a tie between Gravity and 12 Years A Slave. That's very interesting. For one thing, I didn't think that Gravity was really still in this race. I've thought of the film as the third option behind 12 Years A Slave and American Hustle ever since those films opened. But it looks like it is still very much in this race. And the more that I think about it, the more I realize that it really could win.
Gravity was the first of the nine best picture nominees to open in theaters. It opened on October 4 and was a major commercial hit. It also received rave reviews that considered the film to be THE front-runner for Best Picture. But then, the critics moved on to bigger and better things like 12 Years and Hustle, mostly forgetting about Gravity. It won a few awards, but was mostly stuck as a nominee. It was even beaten out by 12 Years A Slave last week at the Golden Globes. But now, the Producers Guild has put Gravity right back in this race. Next weekend is the Directors Guild awards show and I truly believe that Cuaron is the front-runner there. If Gravity takes that award home, I think that we can safely call it the favorite.
Yet that is far from a guarantee. One of the other big Oscar precursor awards show is the Writers Guild Awards. I think that there is a very small chance of Gravity winning the screenplay award at the WGA and believe that the award will go to a film like American Hustle or 12 Years A Slave. That leaves the race in uncertainty. There aren't many other big awards shows left. We could actually have the first Oscar night where we have no idea who will take home the top award. Who knows? Maybe there will even be a tie.