‘Mad Max’ and ‘Ex Machina’ Get Producers Guild Noms, ‘Carol’ Snubbed
For the first time in many years, people don’t know what to make of this year’s Oscar contenders. Usually there are one or two top frontrunners gunning for Best Picture while everyone else just struggles for recognition. This year, there are multiple legitimate candidates with the frontrunner changing seemingly every week. Well, get ready to shake up your Oscar power rankings. The Producers Guild of America, whose winners have correctly predicted eight straight Oscar Best Picture winners, have announced their nominations.
First the list of nominees, presented in alphabetical order, then we’ll get into some quick analysis:
The Big Short
Bridge of Spies
Mad Max: Fury Road
Straight Outta Compton
There are some obvious choices here — Spotlight, The Revenant — some pleasant surprises — Ex Machina, Straight Outta Compton — and some notable omissions — Carol, The Hateful Eight, Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
One important thing to remember is that while the PGA uses the same preferential ballot as the Oscars (to be nominated a film has to be one of the top choices — 1st, 2nd or 3rd — of a certain percentage of voters), the Oscars can have anywhere between five or 10 nominees depending on how voting shakes out, while the PGA nominees will always have 10. That allows for some dark horse candidates to sneak in like Nightcrawler, Skyfall or Star Trek to sneak in in the past. This means that as exciting as it is that films we all loved like Ex Machina and Straight Outta Compton got some recognition, it’s probably unlikely they’ll make the final cut at the Oscars.
While it’s a pleasant surprise for some films, it may come as a dangerous blow to movies like Carol, Star Wars or Inside Out, who were all gunning for a Best Picture slot at the Oscars. Since 2009, over 80% of PGA nominees have become Oscar nominees. So, that doesn’t completely rule out some of these critically beloved films, but it certainly puts them at a disadvantage.
What the PGA nominees also mean is that Mad Max: Fury Road now has to be taken serious as a Best Picture contender, and we don’t just mean as a nominee, but as a potential winner. With the exception of Spotlight (and Carol, which is missing from this list), Mad Max has been one of the most consistent nominees and winners throughout the awards season. While it probably won’t win (George Miller seems more likely as a Best Director winner), it’s proven itself as a force to be reckoned with.