Usually viewed as a harbinger of the Oscars, the 2017 Annual Producers Guild Awards crowned La La Land with their prestiges Darryl F. Zanuck Award for Outstanding Producer of Theatrical Motion Pictures. Special Honorees included James L. Brooks, who received the lauded Norman Lear Achievement Award in Television, while producer, Megan Ellison won the Visionary Award and Sony‘s Tom Rothman received the Milestone Award. Also on the docket in the International Ballroom of the Beverly Hilton was legendary producer Irwin Winkler, who accepted the David O. Selznick Achievement Award in Theatrical Motion Pictures, and the film Loving with the Stanley Kramer Award.
The always luminous Nicole Kidman took the stage to present the David L. Wolper Award for Outstanding Producer of Long-Form Television to The People vs. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story.
The lovely Hugh Jackman followed his fellow Aussie to present Sony Pictures Entertainment’s Motion Picture Group chairman, Tom Rothman with the Milestone Award. Hugh had flown in all the way from Australia just to honor his dear friend and Rothman was indeed touched. Jackman also introduced Rothman’s two daughters (proudly wearing “pussy hats), who helped honor their Dad with stories of how he had taught them to ride bikes and always had time for them.
Amy Adams was on board to present clips of the year’s nominees including her spectacular film, Arrival produced by Dan Levine, Shawn Levy, Aaron Ryder and David Linde. To everyone’s glee, actor T.J. Miller showed up in a sparkly Deadpool shirt with a zipper pocket as a mouth. We all wondered what kind of candy he was packing.
Mostly delighted female shrieks were heard from the left wing of the Beverly Hilton International Ballroom as Justin Timberlake took the stage to present Making a Murderer‘s Moira Demos and Laura Ricciardi with the Award for Outstanding Producer of Non-Fiction Television for their first season. Demos went on to say that this never would have happened without Netflix and that she has believed in their project for over ten years.
The Award for Outstanding Producer Of Competition Television went to The Voice (Season 9 – 11) while Thandie Newton presented clips of the film Loving and made reference to Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner. One of the producers, Colin Firth, accepted the Stanley Kramer Award on Loving‘s behalf and eloquently spoke of when he was nine years old and saw Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner for the first time. He was able to glimpse what it’s like to walk in someone else’s shoes and that message has always resonated with him.
Enter the lively James Corden to lighten the mood by explaining how he was actually originally cast to play Wolverine as he presented Atlanta‘s season 1 with the Danny Thomas Award for Outstanding Producer of Episodic Television, Comedy.
Fences‘ Mykelti Williamson presented a scene from his film starring Denzel Washington and Viola Davis. A hush cam over the crowd as we were caught breathless by Denzel Washington’s work on August Wilson‘s original play.
Next up, Oscar winning producer Kathryn Bigelow presented Megan Ellison with the Visionary Award. Ellison relayed how Bigelow had taker her under her wing in a very competitive town and that she will be eternally grateful.
Comedian and multi hyphenate, Keegan-Michael Key arrived with his hilarious take on Trump to present the award for Outstanding Producer of Live Entertainment & Talk Television to winner, Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (Season 3).
Season 46 of the venerable Sesame Street took home Outstanding Children’s Program while Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel and VICE World of Sports tied for Outstanding Sports Program. Jerry Seinfeld‘s popular show, Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee won Outstanding Digital Series.
When James L. Brooks took the stage to receive the Norman Lear Achievement Award in Television, always the gentleman, he spoke of Mary Tyler Moore‘s grace. He was followed swiftly by La La Land‘s John Legend, who raised a call to awareness and declared, “I reject Trump’s vision and affirm that America has to be better than that.”
The amiable Dev Patel knew he was bested by Legend and decided to simply read the teleprompter as he happily announced Zootopia was the winner of Outstanding Producer of Animated Theatrical Motion Pictures.
A highlight of the evening was seeing Martin Scorsese and Robert De Niro take the stage together to present legendary producer, Irwin Winkler, with the David O. Selznick Award. Scorsese explained that Irwin had been able to transcend the old Hollywood studio system and still prevail in modern times. Winkler went on to agree with his old friends that they had indeed stood by each other through marriages, children, and grandkids.
O.J: Made in America subsequently scored Outstanding Producer of Documentary Theatrical Motion Pictures and the crowd went wild when newcomer, Stranger Things, won the penultimate Norman Felton Award for Outstanding Producer of Episodic Television, Drama.
To round out the star studded evening, Dustin Hoffman made an entrance to award La La Land with the Darryl F. Zanuck Award for Outstanding Producer of Theatrical Motion Pictures.