LOS ANGELES - The show business satire "Birdman" leapt to the front of the best picture Oscar race on Saturday by winning the top film award from Hollywood producers.
"Birdman" bested nine other films for the outstanding producer of a motion picture from the Producers Guild of America.
The prize is a strong form guide for the Oscars, as for the past seven years the Producers Guild winner has gone on to walk away with the Academy Award for best picture.
"Birdman" director and producer Alejandro G. Inarritu thanked his star Michael Keaton, who plays a washed up former superhero actor trying to make a comeback by staging a Broadway play.
"Birdman" received nine nominations for the Academy Awards, the film industry's highest honors, which will be handed out on Feb. 22 in Los Angeles.
One category in which the PGA and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will differ is in best animated motion picture.
The PGA's award went to "The LEGO Movie," which did not receive an Oscar nomination in one of the most surprising exclusions of the Hollywood awards season.