In the 25 years that the Producers Guild of America has awarded its Darryl F. Zanuck Award for film of the year, 18 of the winners have gone on to win the Oscar for Best Picture. That includes the last seven straight, from No Country for Old Men up to last year’s 12 Years a Slave. So when Birdman upset the presumed favorite Boyhood to win the Zanuck last night, its Oscar stock suddenly soared.
The dark comedy from writer/director Alejandro González Iñárritu and starring Michael Keaton (who took home a Golden Globe for his role) won over American Sniper, Boyhood, Foxcatcher, Gone Girl, The Grand Budapest Hotel, The Imitation Game, Nightcrawler, The Theory of Everything, and Whiplash. The only films not nominated for the equivalent Oscar are Gone Girl, Foxcatcher, and Nightcrawler, while Selma appears on the Academy’s list of nominees. According to Variety, the PGA and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences use the same balloting system.
The last time the PGA winner didn’t take home the Oscar was in 2006, when Little Miss Sunshine won the Zanuck trophy and The Departed won the more prestigious award. While nothing’s a sure bet in Hollywood, the history of the Zanuck award bodes well for González Iñárritu pulling off the award season upset of the year when the Oscar winners are announced on February 22nd.