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PGA Awards Reveal Documentary Motion Picture Nominations, Bolstering Under-Seen Picks

Only one box office hit is among the PGA documentary nominations, often considered a bellwether for Oscar attention.

Ghouta, Syria - Dr. Amani in the underground tunnels. (Photo credit:  National Geographic)

“The Cave”

National Geographic

In any crowded awards field, getting seen is the first order of business. Unlike last year, when several box office hits lead the Producers Guild of America’s nominated documentary features, only one breakout landed a nomination: “Apollo 11,” (Neon, $9 million). The Guild’s awards are often a bellwether for the Academy Awards, but last year saw a bit of a wrinkle to that tradition: PGA nominee “Free Solo” utlimately took home the Oscar, while the PGA winner, Morgan Neville’s “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?,” did not even land an Oscar nomination.

The other nominees get a much-needed boost in awareness as documentary Oscar branch voters plow through a tall list of screeners. Among the many docs in circulation this season, the PGA went with another pick from Neon’s growing documentary slate, nominating beekeeper profile “Honeyland,” which is also the Macedonia submission for the International Film Feature Oscar. That film joins two hard-hitting Syrian movies, ”The Cave” (NatGeo) and “For Sama” (PBS), which have been popular on the festival circuit.

Also on deck for a PGA nod after getting awards attention from other awards groups is Nanfu Wang’s expose of China’s one-child policy, “One Child Nation” (Amazon), and Netflix’s Sundance pick-up “American Factory,” about a Chinese glass factory in Ohio.

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The films nominated for the Award for Outstanding Producer of Documentary Motion Pictures are listed below in alphabetical order:

“Advocate”
“American Factory”
“Apollo 11”
“The Cave”
“For Sama”
“Honeyland”
“One Child Nation”

During the awards show, the Producers Guild also will give special honors to individual producers, presenting Ted Sarandos with the Milestone Award for his breakthrough innovations at Netflix and Marta Kauffman with the Norman Lear Achievement Award in Television. Octavia Spencer will receive the PGA Visionary Award.

Additional honorees will be announced shortly for the Guild’s David O. Selznick Achievement Award in Theatrical Motion Pictures and The Stanley Kramer Award. Sports, Children’s, and Short-Form Program nominees will be announced December 19, 2019. The remaining nominations for Theatrical Motion Pictures, Animated Theatrical Motion Pictures, Television Series/Specials, Limited Series Television, and Televised/Streamed Motion Pictures will be announced January 7, 2020.

The winners will be honored at the Producers Guild Awards ceremony January 18, 2020 at the Hollywood Palladium.

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