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Sci-fi scores with Producers Guild

District 9

For Complete List of Nominees for the Producers Guild Awards

A few Oscar longshots received a shot in the arm when The Producers Guild of America included such films as “Star Trek” and “District 9” in its list of nominees for the Darryl F. Zanuck Producer of the Year award.

There’s no denying 2009 was a banner year for science-fiction. James Cameron’s “Avatar” continues to set box offices ablaze, while smaller (but no less interesting) efforts like Duncan Jones’ “Moon” kept genre fans enthralled. Perhaps the PGA was acknowledging the uncharacteristically strong year for space pioneers? And now we’re left to wonder if the Academy will follow suit.

“Trek” and “District,” believed to be on Oscar’s Best Picture bubble according to industry trackers, join “Avatar,” “An Education,” “The Hurt Locker,” “Inglorious Basterds,” “Invictus,” “Precious,” “Up” and “Up In the Air” as nominees. The PGA’s decision to honor two science-fiction blockbusters meant awards hopefuls like Rob Marshall’s “Nine,” Peter Jackson’s “The Lovely Bones” and Joel and Ethan Coen’s “A Serious Man” are on the outside looking in.

The PGA has been a fairly accurate bellwether for the Academy’s inevitable selections. Besides the obvious genre slant, it’s interesting to note the inclusion of “Up,” which is lobbying to become the first animated film to break into the Best Picture race since the creation of a separate animation category – and really, is there any doubt at this point that it will make the Academy’s cut of 10?

The PGAs will be handed out on Jan. 24. The Oscar nominations, meanwhile, will be announced on Feb. 2.

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