'Sunshine' brightest PGA winner

Indie comedy scores upset; 'Grey's,' 'Office' earn TV nods

The five producers behind Fox Searchlight's edgy indie comedy "Little Miss Sunshine" took home the Producers Guild of America's theatrical motion picture award Saturday (HR 1/22).

The win by Marc Turtletaub, David Friendly, Peter Saraf and Albert Berger & Ron Yerxa will be analyzed by industryites handicapping Oscar's best picture race, as the PGA often mirrors Academy voting in the category. "Sunshine" was up against "Babel," "The Departed," "Dreamgirls" and "The Queen" in the PGA Awards.

The same films also will face off in the DGA Awards, set for Feb. 3. Academy Award nominations for best picture and all other Oscar categories are announced today.

If "Sunshine" ranks among the Oscar nominees, the Academy will choose only three of the five producers named by the PGA. Unlike the Academy, the PGA places no limits on the number of producers who can be attached to an award.

"Sunshine's" win came as something of a surprise among awards season handicappers. It had to overcome competition from bigger movies like "The Departed" and "Dreamgirls." On Jan. 15, "Sunshine" saw "Dreamgirls" win the the Golden Globe for best comedy or musical.

Neither the PGA nor the DGA awards is a flawless forecaster. Neither managed to signal "Crash's" dramatic Oscar win for best picture last year. But the PGA winner has foreshadowed the best picture Oscar winner 11 times in the past 17 years.

Other producers winning PGA Awards included Darla K. Anderson for the Disney/Pixar comedy "Cars" in the animated film category and Susan Harrison, George Faber, Charles Pattinson and Barney Riesz for HBO's "Elizabeth I" in longform television.

Producers Shonda Rhimes, Betsy Beers, Mark Gordon, James Parriott, Peter Horton and Rob Corn won for ABC's "Grey's Anatomy" in episodic drama. Greg Daniels and Kent Zbornak won for NBC's "The Office" in episodic comedy.
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