October 23, 2016
        Hollywood Contenders: New Oscar Predictions for October                Nicole Kidman, Hugh Grant, Naomie Harris, Lily Collins get Honors at 20th Annual Hollywood Film Awards                "Manchester by the Sea" leads the Gotham Award nominations                Tom Ford, Marc Platt and Kenneth Lonergan to be Honored at 20th Annual Hollywood Film Awards                Tom Cruise is in his action hero comfort zone with "Jack Reacher: Never Go Back"                "Moonlight" could be A24's big Oscar horse this year                Ewan McGregor steps behind the camera with "American Pastoral"                Hollywood Contenders: A second crack at Golden Globe predictions for 2016                "The Accountant" seeks to help give Ben Affleck another blockbuster                85 countries will be competing for Best Foreign Language Feature nominations at the Oscars                Tom Hanks to receive Hollywood Actor Award for "Sully" @ Hollywood Film Awards                "Certain Women" showcases Laura Dern, Kristen Stewart, and Michelle Williams                Ben Affleck is perhaps Hollywood's biggest and most diverse superstar                "The Birth of a Nation" looks to survive controversy and contend for awards                "The Girl on the Train" hopes to transport Emily Blunt to the Oscar race        

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.

About Sean O'Connell

Sean O'Connell is a nationally recognized film critic. His reviews have been published in print ('The Washington Post,' 'USA Today') and online (AMC FilmCritic.com, MSN's Citysearch) since 1996. He's a weekly contributor to several national radio programs. He is a longstanding member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association (BFCA), the Online Film Critics Society (OFCS), and the Southeastern Film Critics View all articles by Sean O'Connell Association (SEFCA).

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