Brow Beat

1917 Smashes Producers Guild Awards, Takes Best Picture in New Awards Season Offensive

Sam Mendes speaks onstage during the 31st Annual Producers Guild Awards.
Sam Mendes addresses the troops. Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

By a concerted attack last night in great force on the Producers Guild Awards at the Hollywood Palladium in Los Angeles, California, World War I drama 1917 made large and important gains, capturing the Darryl F. Zanuck Award for Outstanding Producer of Theatrical Motion Pictures, and inflicting heavy losses on the other nominees.

Director Sam Mendes bore the burden of the assault, moving against the foe on a nine-film front stretching from Ford v. Ferrari northward all the way to The Irishman; co-producers Pippa Harris, Jayne-Ann Tenggren, and Callum McDougall shared in the victory. Tonight Mendes holds the Golden Globe for Best Director of a Motion Picture and the crystal trophy for Best Director from the Critics’ Choice Awards, and has also captured local film critics association awards from Dallas-Fort Worth to Kansas City, although other awards in that region are still in the possession of Parasite forces under the command of Bong Joon-ho.

Reports of sporadic skirmishes on the television front could not be definitively confirmed at press time, but it is believed that Succession has captured the Norman Felton Award for Outstanding Producer of Episodic Television – Drama, while Fleabag holds The Danny Thomas Award for Outstanding Producer of Episodic Television – Comedy. To the east, the Russians report that the Battle of Fosse/Verdon has finally ended, and Chernobyl has seized the David L. Wolper Award for Outstanding Producer of Limited Series Television.

Announcement of the beginning of this grand offensive was made last night in this bulletin of the Variety Awards Season Office, which keyed popular interest today to the highest pitch. The public’s impression is that the ceaseless effort of many months now is about to be put to the sternest test. Many experts believe that award season momentum has now definitively passed from Joker to 1917, and, while a majority incline to the view that a terrific struggle will be necessary before the Academy Award for Best Picture can be handed to the film’s producers, some observers predict a relatively quick end to awards season, chiefly on the ground that the training and temperament of Joker fans are unlikely to stand the strain of continued assaults of an enemy equipped with superior cinematography and at least an equal amount of self-seriousness.

The average 1917 fan on the street is generally confident that “We’ll soon have them on the run.” Professor Albert Frederick Pollard of London University, whose lectures on award season have attracted much attention there, takes a different view; he sees no definitive result this year. In an interview with the Slate correspondent today Professor Pollard said:

“Broadly speaking, it looks as though a real, but possibly a limited, offensive has been begun by 1917 on the western front, but it is impossible to tell know how far it will go for the moment.

“It hardly seems possible that awards season can be ended this year, and that the final campaign against Parasite will probably be left to next year, but of course, everything depends on the degree of success obtained in the various awards shows between now and the Academy Awards. So far as 1917’s offensive goes, it may be taken for granted that preparations have been going on for the greater part of two years for a desperate awards campaign, so that at the present moment, 1917 probably is better equipped than any other motion picture.

A statement issued today by the War Office for Parasite denies reports of a successful 1917 offensive and says that the heavy casualties sustained by 1917 in the operation are being underreported in the Western press. According to the film’s Minister of Propaganda, “Treating art like a competition is dumber than transforming the entire continent of Europe into a charnel-house over the death of a single crummy Archduke. Also, Parasite is a better movie than 1917.”