LOS ANGELES — (AP) — “CODA” won top prize at Saturday night’s Producers Guild Awards, giving momentum to the possibility that the little film could have a big night at next week’s Oscars.
The story of three adult family members who are deaf and a fourth who is not and who seeks a singing career beat out bigger contenders including ‘The Power of the Dog’, ‘Dune’ and “West Side Story” to take home an award that – more often than not – wins the Best Picture Oscar.
“This film was an incredible adventure, it was so special to make, there was so much love and so much heart put into it,” said Fabrice Gianfermi as he accepted the award with his “CODA” co-producers Philippe Rousselet and Patrick Wachsberger at the 33rd PGA Awards.
An American Sign Language translator, who had remained to one side of the stage throughout the night’s speeches, stood front and center during the acceptance of “CODA” and another stood held in front of the stage to translate for the three actors in the film who are deaf: Troy Kotsur, Marlee Matlin and Daniel Durant.
“CODA,” an acronym for “Children of Deaf Adults,” is nominated for three Oscars at the March 27 ceremony, including Best Adapted Screenplay for writer-director Sian Heder and Best Supporting Actor for Kotsur. , who is expected to become the first deaf actor since Matlin in 1987 to win an Oscar.
After winning Best Ensemble at last month’s Screen Actors Guild Awards, it began to appear that “CODA” might really be considered for Best Picture. The odds may be improving. The top PGA award winner has won the top Oscar in three of the past four years and 10 of the past 13. Oscar voting ends Tuesday.
The PGA Awards, a non-televised show from the Fairmont Century Plaza in Los Angeles honoring film and television producers, looks as much like a corporate awards banquet as it does a typical awards show, with no cut-in speeches or curses. issued.
“Producing s— is really f—— hard,” said Issa Rae, producer of “Insecure” and “A Black Lady Sketch Show” as she accepted the guild’s Visionary Award.
Rita Moreno, 90, star of the 1961 and 2021 versions of “West Side Story,” has accepted the guild’s Stanley Kramer Award, which honors someone who has combined a career in art and activism.
“This business took tenacity and hard work,” Moreno said. “Advocating for social justice issues over the past 60 years has been exhausting, exhilarating and invigorating.”
Moreno said the night itself was both joyful and exhausting after taking the stage at 11 p.m. local time, nearly three hours into the show.
“I was really starting to get tired,” she said. “I have a little pain in the buttocks.
George Lucas and Kathleen Kennedy, stewards of the Star Wars universe and producers of many other notable films, have been honored for their careers with the PGA Milestone Award.
Presenter Steven Spielberg, whose films were produced by Lucas and Kennedy, called them “two titans” who are “always like children playing in a sandbox”.
Lucas acknowledged that his favorite achievement may not have been the most popular among his peers, including the one who introduced him on Saturday.
“What I’m most proud of is digital cinema. It’s something I worked on for 20 years. I spent several million dollars to make it happen,” Lucas said. “Some still don’t believe it. Where is Steve?
Spielberg, standing backstage, acted out the operation of a traditional motion picture camera, to laughter from the crowd.
“But we’re all friends,” Lucas said.
“Summer of Soul” won the PGA Documentary Films category and “Encanto” won the Animated Films award. Both are also Oscar nominees.
In the PGA television categories, awards were presented to the producers of “Succession”, “Mare of Easttown” and “Ted Lasso”.
Greg Berlanti, producer of shows such as “Dawson’s Creek” and several DC Comics Universe series, received the Guild’s Norman Lear Award and was praised for advancing LGBTQ characters and storylines.
Outgoing guild co-chairs Gail Berman and Lucy Fisher were in tears as they expressed their joy at finally being able to see their peers reunited in person after two years in which the pandemic forced the show to go virtual.
They praised their fellow producers for keeping the industry alive during their difficult tenure.
“Hollywood loves a comeback story,” Fisher said, “and boy, yours is one for the ages.”
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