PGA Awards shocking upset: ‘Birdman’ comes out swinging, knocks out ‘Boyhood’

Just when we thought “Boyhood” might easily march through the awards season, “Birdman” pulled off a shocking upset at the Producers Guild Awards, winning Best Picture.

For the complete list of PGA winners, click here.

The guild and Oscars have agreed on 18 of the most recent 24 Best Picture champs, including the last seven in a row. 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 the motion picture academy) rank the ten 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 elminated, with those ballots being placed on the pile of the next-highest ranked film still in play.

Even last year, when the Oscar race was as close as it’s been in year, the PGA agreed with Oscar using this system, awarding “12 Years a Slave” in an unprecedented tie with “Gravity.”

Elsewhere, Best Animated Feature went to “The Lego Movie,” which had been the Oscars frontrunner until the academy shockingly snubbed the film, so its victory here doesn’t clarify that Oscar race.

PGA won’t help clarify the Documentary Feature race either. That award went to another Oscar-snubbed film, “Life Itself,” about late film critic Roger Ebert. The only PGA nominee in that category that also competes at the Oscars was Netflix’s “Virunga.”

The winners of the television awards mostly diverged from the most recent Emmys, with two major exceptions.

First, “Breaking Bad” defended its title as Best TV Drama Series. Even though the series ended in 2013, the PGA Awards follow the Emmy calendar (June 2013 through May 2014), so “Bad” was able to end its victory lap here after its final season also dominated the Golden Globes, SAG Awards, and Emmys last year.

Fargo” also continued its winning streak, claiming Best Longform TV Program after also taking top honors at the Emmys and Golden Globes. It defeated, among others, HBO’s “The Normal Heart,” which nevertheless won the Stanley Kramer Award.

Elsewhere, however, “Orange is the New Black” dethroned “Modern Family” in the race for Best TV Comedy Series. “Modern Family” had won at the PGA Awards for four straight years, and while the Emmys decided to give the ABC series a record-tying fifth win, the PGA opted for new blood.

Live Entertainment/Talk Series went to “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon,” which defeated the defending champ at PGA and the Emmys, “The Colbert Report.”

The Voice” won Best Competition TV Series for the second year in a row, defeating “The Amazing Race,” “Dancing With the Stars,” “Project Runway,” and “Top Chef.” It snapped “Amazing Race’s” Emmy winning streak in 2013 but couldn’t defend that title in 2014, when “Amazing Race” came roaring back.

Best Non-Fiction TV Series went to the Neil deGrasse Tyson-hosted science series “Cosmos.”

Other winners included “Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel” (Sports Series), “Sesame Street” (Children’s Series), and “Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee” (Digital Series).

How do you think these awards affect the Oscars race? Use our drag-and-drop menu below to predict Best Picture, or click here to predict all other Oscar categories.

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