Birdman, Boyhood lead PGA honours

Birdman, Boyhood lead PGA honours
Director Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu (R), who is receiving the Director of the Year Award, and Michael Keaton (L), from the film "Birdman," pose at the 26th Annual Palm Springs International Film Festival Awards Gala in Palm Springs, California on January 3, 2015.

LOS ANGELES - Birdman and Boyhood, two of the front runners for Hollywood's film honours this year, have been nominated along with a slew of small movies for the top Producers Guild Award, a reliable predictor of the Best Picture Oscar.

Among the 10 films nominated on Monday for outstanding producer in a motion picture were the noir Los Angeles drama Nightcrawler and the tale of a drummer's obsession in Whiplash, both small independent films with Oscar chances.

The notable exclusions were two films that opened on Christmas Day - Angelina Jolie's second film as director, the World War II survival story Unbroken, and the civil rights drama Selma.

Clint Eastwood's portrayal of an Iraq war hero in American Sniper made the list, as did two British biopics, The Imitation Game and The Theory Of Everything.

Rounding out the nominations were the film adaptation of the best-selling novel Gone Girl, the American wrestling tragedy Foxcatcher and the offbeat period comedy The Grand Budapest Hotel.

Birdman, a satire of show business, and Boyhood, a coming-of-age drama filmed over 12 years with the same actors, are the favourites going into the awards season that kicks off on Sunday with the Golden Globe Awards.

Birdman is certainly flying high, having topped nominations for the Golden Globes, the Screen Actors Guild and the Independent Spirit movie prizes.

The Producers Guild of America (PGA) has 6,700 members and, in its 25-year history, has managed to choose the eventual winner of the Academy Award for Best Picture for the last seven years.

The PGA will hand out its awards on Jan 24, while the Oscars will be held on Feb 22.

Sony Pictures Classics and Fox Searchlight Pictures, the art-house units of Sony Pictures and 20th Century Fox, each had two films in the 10 nominations. Among the big studios, only Warner Bros and 20th Century Fox had nominees, with one each.

In the animated motion picture category, the PGA nominated blockbusters Big Hero 6, How To Train Your Dragon 2 and The Lego Movie, and smaller films The Book Of Life and The Boxtrolls.

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