2017 Producers Guild of America Awards preview: Another Oscar Best Picture winner?

The Producers Guild of America Awards, which takes place on Saturday, Jan. 28, has an enviable track record at presaging the eventual Best Picture winner at the Academy Awards. The guild and the academy have agreed on 19 of the most recent 27 Best Picture champs. This year, all nine Oscar nominees for Best Picture number among the 10 PGA contenders; only “Deadpool” was snubbed by the academy.

Predict the PGA winners now; change them till January 28

Our exclusive odds for the PGA Awards are derived from the predictions of film Experts, Gold Derby Editors who cover awards year-round, the Top 24 Users who got the top scores predicting last year’s winners, the All-Star Top 24 who got the highest scores when you combine the last two years, and thousands of total Users who make up the largest (and often savviest) bloc of predictors.

La La Land” is far out in front to win this important precursor prize with leading odds of 3/10. Its closet rival is “Moonlight” at 8/1 followed by “Manchester by the Sea” at 40/1. Three films — “Arrival,” “Lion” and “Hacksaw Ridge” — have odds of 66/1 while another three — “Fences,” “Hidden Figures” and “Hell or High Water” — are at 80/1. “Deadpool” rounds out the field at 100/1.

While the PGA pick last year — “The Big Short” — was not the best pic according to the academy (that honor went to “Spotlight”), the two groups had agreed for the previous eight years in a row. Of course, the PGA did double its odds in 2013 by declaring an unprecedented tie between “Gravity” and eventual Oscar winner “12 Years a Slave.”

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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. While the academy also uses this method to determine nominees in most other races (e.g., acting, directing, writing), the winners of those categories are decided by pure popular vote.

And popular vote was the way the Best Picture winner was decided at the Oscars from 1946 to 2008. The PGA used this system when it began doling out awards in 1989. It previewed the Oscar winner only 13 times in the first 20 years of these kudos, getting it wrong in the following seven instances:

1992: “The Crying Game” over “Unforgiven”

1995: “Apollo 13” over Braveheart

1998: “Saving Private Ryan” over “Shakespeare in Love”

2001: “Moulin Rouge!” over “A Beautiful Mind”

2004: The Aviator” over “Million Dollar Baby

2005: “Brokeback Mountain” over “Crash”; and

2006: “Little Miss Sunshine” over “The Departed”

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In 2009 — when the academy went to 10 Best Picture nominees for the first time since 1943 — the preferential system of voting, which had been used from 1934 to 1945, was reintroduced. The Oscars had first used the preferential method of voting in 1934 when there were 12 Best Picture nominees (there had been between three and 10 in the first six years of the Academy Awards). It was used the following year when there were again 12 nominees, then from 1936 to 1943 when there were 10 nominees, and finally in both 1944 and 1945 when there were just five contenders before being dropped in favor of the popular vote from 1946 to 2008.

The academy believes the preferential method “best allows the collective judgment of all voting members to be most accurately represented.” The PGA followed suit by expanding its field to 10 and using the preferential ballot. It has predicted six of the seven Oscar winners since.

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In 2009, the guild previewed eight of the 10 Oscar contenders for Best Picture, opting for “Invictus” and “Star Trek” over academy choices “The Blind Side” and “A Serious Man.” “The Hurt Locker” won over both groups.

In 2010, the PGA foresaw nine of the eventual 10 Best Picture Oscar nominees. The guild had gone for “The Town” while the academy opted for “Winter’s Bone” for the tenth slot. Both groups crowned “The King’s Speech” as the Best Picture of the year.

In 2011, the academy shifted to a sliding scale of Best Picture nominees that falls somewhere between five and 10, as decided by a complicated system of counting. However, the PGA stuck with 10 nominees for Best Picture. That year, the guild predicted seven of the eventual nine Best Picture contenders, including “The Artist” which won with both groups. The other PGA nominees that repeated at the Oscars were:  “The Descendants,” “The Help” “Hugo,” “Midnight in Paris,” “Moneyball” and “War Horse.” The PGA filled out their slate with popular pictures “Bridesmaids,” “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” and “The Ides of March,” while the Oscars went with “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close” and “The Tree of Life.”

NEW: Oscar predictions by experts in all 24 categories

In 2012, eight PGA picks — “Argo,” “Beasts of the Southern Wild,” “Django Unchained,” “Life of Pi,” “Lincoln,” “Les Miserables,” “Silver Linings Playbook” and “Zero Dark Thirty” —  were among the nine films in the running for the top Academy Award. Rounding out the roster at PGA were “Moonrise Kingdom” and “Skyfall.” The guild snubbed the French-language “Amour,” which netted a Best Picture nod from the academy. “Argo” won both prizes.

In 2013, eight PGA contenders reaped Best Picture bids at the Oscars: “American Hustle” “Captain Phillips,” “Dallas Buyers Club,” “Gravity, “Her, “Nebraska,” “12 Years a Slave” and  “The Wolf of Wall Street.”  However, the academy snubbed PGA nominees “Blue Jasmine” and “Saving Mr. Banks” in favor of Brit hit “Philomena,” which nabbed the ninth slot in the Oscar race.

In 2014, the guild foresaw seven of the eight Oscar contenders: “American Sniper,” “Boyhood,” “Birdman,” “The Grand Budapest Hotel,” “The Imitation Game,” “The Theory of Everything” and “Whiplash.” It missed “Selma,” opting instead for “Foxcatcher,” “Gone Girl” and “Nightcrawler.” It went with “Birdman” giving it a vital boost over presumed Oscar frontrunner “Boyhood.”

Last year, the PGA once again previewed seven of the eight Oscar nominees for Best Picture: “The Big Short,” “Bridge of Spies,” “Brooklyn,” “Mad Max: Fury Road,” “The Martian,” “Spotlight” and  “The Revenant.” While the guild rounded out its roster of 10 nominees with “Ex Machina,” “Sicario” and “Straight Outta Compton,” the academy went with “Room.” And while “The Big Short” won over the PGA, the Oscar went to “Spotlight.”

Predict the PGA winners now; change them till January 28

Be sure to make your PGA Awards predictions. Weigh in now with your picks so that Hollywood insiders can see how this film is faring in our PGA odds. You can keep changing your predictions right up until just before winners are announced on January 28 at 5:00 pm PT/8:00 pm ET. Be sure to read our contest rules. And join in the fierce debate over the Oscars taking place right now with Hollywood insiders in our forums.

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