“Argo” is on a roll. Ben Affleck’s movie won again at the Producers Guild Awards, setting the tone for the weeks leading to the Oscars as one of statistical chances. Without also receiving a Best Director Oscar nomination, four other films have won the PGA’s top prize (“Driving Miss Daisy,” “Apollo 13,” “Moulin Rouge,” and “Little Miss Sunshine”). Since the PGAs have predicted the Oscars’ Best Picture winner five years in a row, 2012 may be one for the history books. Or, this super-competitive year is not easy to call. “Lincoln” and SAg-favorite “Silver Linings Playbook” –not to mention “Life of Pi,” are still in the running.
Before Affleck accepted the award for “Argo,” (his speech started with “I’m really surprised, I am not even a member of the Producers Guild!”), the Guild presented many other awards–for Oscar doc fave “Searching for Sugar Man,” cable series “Homeland,” network comedy “Modern Family,” cable movie “Game Change,” comedy show “The Colbert Report” and others–and tributes were given during the black-tie event at the Beverly Hilton Hotel.
Among the evening’s honorees were Harvey and Bob Weinstein (Milestone award). JJ Abrams (Norman Lear Achievment in TV award), Working Title’s Tim Bevan and Eric Fellner (David O. Selznick Achievement in Theatrical Motion Pictures), Russell Simmons (Visionary Award), and Lee Hirsch and Cynthia Lowen’s “Bully”–for its illumination of the issue of bullying.
The night opened with a video musical repurposing “Do Re Mi” for the plight of the producer, as sung by Mark Gordon, Hawk Koch, Paula Wagner, Michael DeLuca, and Norman Lear. “Do, Oh Shit, We Need More Dough,” and “When you’re job is on the brink, you’ll be trashed by Nikki Finke…” You get the idea.
Presenter Chris Tucker personally thanked all of the producers who made him rich, while Nicole Kidman got right to the point while naming the Best Film. Other presenters included Bradley Cooper, Naomi Watts, Robert De Niro, Jennifer Garner and Channing Tatum. (Yes, he totally stripped on stage.)
In her flawlessly delivered introduction to Abrams (a gift she expects to be repaid for with more work; he gave her “Alias”), Garner gushed about the wunderkind producer/director. “The more excited he gets about the day, the taller his hair gets.” Upon taking the stage, Abrams started, “Typical week…” He proceeded to deliver the night’s best acceptance speech, concluding with the story of how Norman Lear–the namesake of his award–was the first person to show up at his parents’ house for his mother’s shiva this past June. He said there wasn’t a chance he’d have done anything or been standing there without her influence.
While Hirsch and Lowen accepted their award for “Bully,” Hirsch thanked Harvey Weinstein especially: “everything you promised happened.”
Fellner and Bevan’s award was introduced by Anne Hathaway, who took time to personalize her speech (she also sang her way through their highlight reel, via “Les Miserables”). Fellner stumbled charmingly through a long speech, at one point declaring that what they do is to ultimately enable “really talented people,” and apparently have done so without ever once yelling at anyone.
Robert De Niro began the Weinstein tribute, referring to the brothers as “enormous personalities; enormous–well they’re pretty enormous–I’m not afraid of them. Harvey said it was ok if I said that.”
Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino continued their intro. Tarantino declared: “My filmography and the trajectory of my career would not be the same without them.” He said no others were as auteur-focused as the Weinsteins, and that they’re making the movies they want to make. Yes, he says, he could go on about the death of Miramax, everyone thinking they’re going to die, then winning all the Oscars, etc. “But I’m not going to go there!” That was followed by their impressive highlight reel and a standing ovation.
Bob spoke first, saying “I know that I’d never be here without my brother. And I know that because he told me so five minutes ago.” He thanked many, including Rodriguez, with whom he’s made twelve films, “and we’ll make twelve more as long as Ari Emanuel doesn’t get in the way.” He touted his brother’s taste in cinema, “unmatched by anyone,” but says it’s still a 60/40 chance they’ll fight by the end of the night.
Harvey’s speech was longer, from TriBeCa and De Niro, to Nelson Mandela and the movies, to Matt and Ben with “Good Will Hunting” (Affleck may have made “one of the greatest movies of the year,” but Matt “did a much better job at pitching” way back when). And “Lincoln,” according to Harvey, “is a masterpiece.”
Full Winners Below:
Live entertainment and talk shows: The Colbert Report
Competition reality show: The Amazing Race
Episodic TV – Comedy: Modern Family
Animated feature: Wreck-It Ralph
Nonfiction television: American Masters
Long form television: Game Change
Documentary: Searching for Sugarman
TV drama: Homeland