Though last year’s PGA Awards threw the Oscar race into a tailspin by surprisingly awarding “The Big Short” as Best Picture, this year’s contest went as expected, with the musical romance “La La Land” taking top honors. (See the complete list of winners.)
The guild and Oscars have agreed on 19 of the most recent 27 Best Picture champs. An eight-year streak ended last year when the PGA picked “Big Short” over eventual Oscar champ “Spotlight.” In 2014, the PGA had predicted the Oscar winner by recognizing “Birdman” over, among others, the presumptive frontrunner “Boyhood.”
Key to the import of this precursor prize is that it picks a winner using the same kind of counting as the Oscars — the preferential ballot. The 6,000 or so members of the PGA (almost the same number as in the motion picture academy) rank the 10 Best Picture nominees. Each ballot is placed in a pile according to its number one choice. In each successive round, the film with the fewest votes was eliminated, with those ballots being placed on the pile of the next-highest ranked film still in play, until one film had a majority.
Elsewhere, Best Animated Feature went to “Zootopia” and Best Documentary Feature to “O.J.: Made in America,” both of which are favored to win those Oscar races.
But the winners of the top television awards drastically diverged from the recent Emmys and last year’s PGA prizes: defending PGA and Emmy champ “Game of Thrones” lost Best Drama Series here to freshman series “Stranger Things” while another new show, “Atlanta,” took down Emmy champ “Veep” as Best Comedy Series. “The Voice” won Best Competition TV Series for the fourth year in a row and Live Entertainment/Talk Series went for a second time to “Last Week Tonight with John Oliver.”
Other repeat winners included “Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel” (Sports Series, in a tie with “Vice World of Sports”), “Sesame Street” (Children’s Series), and “Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee” (Digital Series).
Be sure to make your Oscar predictions. Weigh in now with your picks so that Hollywood insiders can see how their films are faring in our Oscar odds. You can keep changing your predictions right up until just before winners are announced on February 26 at 5:00 pm PT/8:00 pm ET. And join in the fierce debate over the Oscars taking place right now with Hollywood insiders in our forums.