PGA Awards: '1917' Named Outstanding Motion Picture

7:30 PM 1/18/2020

by Allison Crist, Rebecca Keegan, Chris Gardner, and Annie Howard

'Toy Story 4' and 'Apollo 11' received trophies for best animated feature and best documentary.

1917_24_Still - Publicity - H 2019
François Duhamel/Universal Pictures

Universal's war drama 1917 won for outstanding producer of theatrical motion pictures at the 31st annual Producers Guild Awards on Saturday night, bringing the Oscar race into sharper focus three weeks ahead of the ceremony.

The trophy was received inside the Hollywood Palladium by a producing team that included producer Pippa Harris and director Sam Mendes, with Harris saying first that in "these times of division and conflict around the world, I really hope [1917] is just a reminder to never take for granted the peace that we all inherited."

Mendes, who called Harris his favorite producer and someone he's known since he was 14 years old, paid tribute to his grandfather, who inspired the story, and every single member of the crew and cast, many of whom were required to commit two years to work on the project. "To work with so many artists all working at the peak of their craft — led, of course, by [cinematographer] Roger Deakins — was humbling and joyful and by far the best experience of my professional life."

The speech capped off a more than two-hour program that saw trophies presented in categories spanning film and television. Among the latter, the evening's winners were mostly in line with those who triumphed at this year's Emmy Awards, including Leaving Neverland, Last Week Tonight With John Oliver and RuPaul's Drag Race.

Apollo 11 took home best documentary honors, while additional film award recipients included fellow NASA project Apollo: Missions to the Moon for outstanding producer of televised or streamed motion pictures and Toy Story 4 for best animated theatrical motion picture.

The PGA also bestowed special honors during the ceremony, with the first of the evening going to Netflix's Ted Sarandos. Jimmy Kimmel — who filled in as presenter for Ellen DeGeneres, who was sidelined by the flu — joked that he was asked only the night before and had trouble figuring out why he got the call over a long list of Netflix stars who could have been asked to present the Milestone Award to Netflix's chief content officer. Among them: Kevin Hart; Chris Rock; Adam Sandler ("toast of the town"); Kevin Spacey ("newsmaker"); Millie Bobby Brown ("You could've gotten selfies for your kids"); Eddie Murphy; David Letterman; Dave Chappelle ("He couldn't pop in on the way to the weed shop?"); and "Where are the two fucking popes tonight?"

"Ted is a great guy. He's kind, he's funny, he's humble," said Kimmel, switching gears and getting serious. "He is a producer for all the best reasons and in the best sense of that word."

During his acceptance speech, Sarandos gave a shout-out to his many creative partners and collaborators — everyone from Martin Scorsese and Noah Baumbach to Reed Hastings and Sarandos' wife, Nicole Avant — but he saved the most touching sentiments for a surprise source: his mother. Growing up in Arizona as one of five children, Sarandos said his family "generally struggled" all the time, particularly with bills. If the gas was on, the electricity was off, but "in this weird, reckless, beautiful thing," his mother bought a VCR before anyone he knew had one. She also made sure they had cable TV and because she "was the original early adopter," having access to those things sparked Sarandos' love of film and television.

"I came into this business as a fan. I remain a big fan," he said. "In the theater, in front of the TV, on set, in post, always a fan."

Later, Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin presented Grace and Frankie creator Marta Kauffman with the Norman Lear Achievement Award. Onstage, the TV veteran called on her producing peers to make a promise that they would help thwart climate change by making their sets eco-friendly and to ensure that crews are both registered to vote and given Election Day off to do so. "Unless someone like you cares a lot, it's not going to get better," urged Kauffman, who gave a shout-out to Fonda by calling her "a fierce badass" for putting her body on the line to fight climate change. "Do everything in your power to make these changes. Say, 'I promise.'"

The moment was one of many that served as a call to action. Also noteworthy was when Chernobyl creator Craig Maizin paid tribute to the #PayUpHollywood movement by saying, "Give your assistants a raise. They deserve it."

Up next was Octavia Spencer, who received a standing ovation while accepting the Visionary Award from Melissa McCarthy and Ben Falcone. Having the pair onstage brought Spencer to tears. "I couldn't be more humbled than I am right now," she said. "To have this honor presented to me by two people who were there at the very beginning … now, some 20-odd years later, we are enjoying the fruits of our labor together and seeing our dreams realized."

Lionsgate's Bombshell received the Stanley Kramer Award, which castmember Margot Robbie was on hand to present to producers Jay Roach, Charles Randolph and Charlize Theron. Roach spoke on behalf of the Bombshell team and, after praising Robbie's performance and their partners at Lionsgate and Bron Studios, he referred to Theron as a superhero. "Charlize really should be the one accepting. She's the one that brought us all together," he said. "She produced the hell out of this movie. She saved us when we were for real falling out of the sky. Another word for 'miracle' is Charlize."

That was followed by Plan B's Brad Pitt, Dede Gardner and Jeremy Kleiner, who were given the David O. Selznick Achievement Award in Theatrical Motion Pictures by presenter Frances McDormand. She admitted that, "as some of you know, I hate these things."

But the actress got past her personal issues with awards ceremonies because "Plan B has made some of the most interesting and thought-provoking films of the past few years — Moonlight being one of my favorites," she said of Barry Jenkins' best picture Oscar winner. "As for Mr. Pitt, the time that I spent with him on Burn After Reading was some of the most satisfying that I've had as an actor."

Pitt, in a rare turn at the podium for his efforts as a producer, bookended his speech with jokes.

"Spielberg, Grazer, Zanuck, Kennedy, these are just a few of the names I've cheapened tonight by accepting this award. When I started out as an actor, I wondered about producers, 'Just what the fuck do they do?' I'm now painfully aware of all that you do and I commend you all," he said. "I think that our job as producers are ultimately protectors, stewards of story and protectors of the storytellers, and I find that to be an awesome responsibility. Plan B, we've been at for about 16 years, going on 17. I have no regrets. Other than sharing our name with an emergency contraceptive pill — didn't see that one coming."

After remarks by Kleiner, Gardner concluded Plan B's acceptance speech by urging creators and producers in the room to dig deep and don't give up: "We have a massive job before us, all of us, please don't forget this. Please reach beyond your comfort zones. Please welcome your own personal dis-ease. Please find the stories most untold and kill yourselves to tell them. We do not last, but I think the stories may."

A complete list of winners follows.

  • Outstanding Producer of Theatrical Motion Pictures

    1917 (WINNER)
    Producers: Sam Mendes, Pippa Harris, Jayne?Ann Tenggren, Callum McDougall

    Ford v Ferrari
    Producers: Peter Chernin & Jenno Topping, James Mangold

    The Irishman
    Producers: Jane Rosenthal & Robert De Niro, Emma Tillinger Koskoff & Martin Scorsese

    Jojo Rabbit
    Producers: Carthew Neal, Taika Waititi

    Producers: Todd Phillips & Bradley Cooper, Emma Tillinger Koskoff

    Knives Out
    Producers: Rian Johnson, Ram Bergman

    Little Women
    Producer: Amy Pascal

    Marriage Story
    Producers: Noah Baumbach, David Heyman

    Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
    Producers: David Heyman, Shannon McIntosh, Quentin Tarantino

    Producers: Kwak Sin Ae, Bong Joon Ho

  • Outstanding Producer of Animated Theatrical Motion Pictures

    Toy Story 4 (WINNER)
    Producers: Mark Nielsen, Jonas Rivera

    Producer: Suzanne Buirgy

    Frozen II
    Producer: Peter Del Vecho

    How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World
    Producers: Bradford Lewis, Bonnie Arnold

    Missing Link
    Producers: Arianne Sutner, Travis Knight

  • Outstanding Producer of Episodic Television - Drama

    Succession (Season 2) (WINNER)
    Producers: Jesse Armstrong, Adam McKay, Will Ferrell, Frank Rich, Kevin Messick, Mark Mylod, Jane Tranter, Tony Roche, Scott Ferguson, Jon Brown, Georgia Pritchett, Will Tracy, Jonathan Glatzer, Dara Schnapper, Gabrielle Mahon, Lucy Preeble

    Big Little Lies (Season 2)
    Producers: David E. Kelley, Jean?Marc Vallée, Andrea Arnold, Reese Witherspoon, Bruna Papandrea, Nicole Kidman, Per Saari, Gregg Fienberg, Nathan Ross, David Auge, Lauren Neustadter, Liane Moriarty

    The Crown (Season 3)
    Producers: Peter Morgan, Suzanne Mackie, Stephen Daldry, Andy Harries, Benjamin Caron, Matthew Byam Shaw, Robert Fox, Michael Casey, Andy Stebbing, Martin Harrison, Oona O Beirn

    Game of Thrones (Season 8)
    Producers: David Benioff, D.B. Weiss, Carolyn Strauss, Bernadette Caulfield, Frank Doelger, David Nutter, Miguel Sapochnik, Bryan Cogman, Chris Newman, Greg Spence, Lisa McAtackney, Duncan Muggoch

    Watchmen (Season 1)
    Producers: Damon Lindelof, Tom Spezialy, Nicole Kassell, Stephen Williams, Joseph E. Iberti, Ron Schmidt, Lila Byock, Nick Cuse, Christal Henry, Karen Wacker, John Blair, Carly Wray

  • Outstanding Producer of Episodic Television - Comedy

    Fleabag (Season 2) (WINNER)
    Producers: Phoebe Waller?Bridge, Harry Bradbeer, Lydia Hampson, Harry Williams, Jack Williams, Joe Lewis, Sarah Hammond

    Barry (Season 2)
    Producers: Alec Berg, Bill Hader, Aida Rodgers, Liz Sarnoff, Emily Heller, Julie Camino, Jason Kim

    The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (Season 3)
    Producers: Amy Sherman?Palladino, Daniel Palladino, Dhana Gilbert, Daniel Goldfarb, Kate Fodor, Sono Patel, Matthew Shapiro

    Schitt's Creek (Season 5)
    Producers: Eugene Levy, Daniel Levy, Andrew Barnsley, Fred Levy, David West Read, Ben Feigin, Michael Short, Rupinder Gill, Colin Brunton

    Veep (Season 7)
    Producers: David Mandel, Frank Rich, Julia Louis?Dreyfus, Lew Morton, Morgan Sackett, Peter Huyck, Alex Gregory, Jennifer Crittenden, Gabrielle Allan, Billy Kimball, Rachel Axler, Ted Cohen, Ian Maxtone?Graham, Dan O'Keefe, Steve Hely, David Hyman, Georgia Pritchett, Erik Kenward, Dan Mintz, Doug Smith

  • Outstanding Producer of Limited Series Television

    Chernobyl (WINNER)
    Producers: Craig Mazin, Carolyn Strauss, Jane Featherstone, Johan Renck, Chris Fry, Sanne Wohlenberg

    Producers: Thomas Kail, Steven Levenson, Lin?Manuel Miranda, Joel Fields, George Stelzner, Sam Rockwell, Michelle Williams, Tracey Scott Wilson, Charlotte Stoudt, Nicole Fosse, Erica Kay, Kate Sullivan, Brad Carpenter

    True Detective
    Producers: Nic Pizzolatto, Scott Stephens, Daniel Sackheim, Peter Feldman, Steve Golin, Bard Dorros

    Producers: Susannah Grant, Sarah Timberman, Carl Beverly, Lisa Cholodenko, Ayelet Waldman, Michael Chabon, Katie Couric, Jennifer Schuur, Becky Mode, John Vohlers, Kate DiMento, Chris Leanza

    When They See Us
    Producers: Jeff Skoll, Jonathan King, Jane Rosenthal, Robert De Niro, Berry Welsh, Oprah Winfrey, Ava DuVernay, Amy Kaufman, Robin Swicord

  • Outstanding Producer of Televised or Streamed Motion Pictures

    Apollo: Missions to the Moon (WINNER)
    Producers: Tom Jennings, David Tillman, Abe Scheuermann, Chris Morcom, Rob Kirk

    American Son
    Producers: Kenny Leon, Kerry Washington, Pilar Savone, Kristin Bernstein

    Black Mirror: Striking Vipers
    Producers: Annabel Jones, Charlie Brooker, Kate Glover

    Deadwood: The Movie
    Producers: David Milch, Carolyn Strauss, Gregg Fienberg, Scott Stephens, Daniel Minahan, Ian McShane, Timothy Olyphant, Regina Corrado, Nichole Beattie, Mark Tobey

    El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie
    Producers: Mark Johnson, Melissa Bernstein, Charles Newirth, Vince Gilligan, Aaron Paul, Diane Mercer

  • Outstanding Producer of Non-Fiction Television

    Leaving Neverland (WINNER)
    Producer: Dan Reed

    30 for 30 (Season 10)
    Producers: Libby Geist, Connor Schell, John Dahl, Rob King, Erin Leyden, Gentry Kirby, Deidre Fenton, Marquis Daisy, Jenna Anthony, Adam Neuhaus

    60 Minutes (Season 51, Season 52)
    Producer: Bill Owens

    Queer Eye (Season 3, Season 4)
    Producers: David Collins, Michael Williams, Rob Eric, Jennifer Lane, Jordana Hochman, Rachelle Mendez, Mark Bracero

    Surviving R. Kelly (Season 1)
    Producers: Joel Karsberg, dream hampton, Jesse Daniels, Tamra Simmons, Brie Miranda Bryant, Jessica Everleth, Mary Bissell, Maria Pepin, Charlotte Glover, Allison Brandin, Laura Hoeppner

  • Outstanding Producer of Live Entertainment & Talk Television

    Last Week Tonight With John Oliver (Season 6) (WINNER)
    Producers: John Oliver, Tim Carvell, Liz Stanton, Jeremy Tchaban, Christopher Werner, Laura L. Griffin, Kate Mullaney, Matt Passet, Marian Wang, Charles Wilson

    The Daily Show With Trevor Noah (Season 25)
    Producers: Trevor Noah, Jennifer Flanz, Jill Katz, Justin Melkmann, Zhubin Parang, Jocelyn Conn, Max Browning, Eric Davies, Pamela DePace, Ramin Hedayati, David Kibuuka, Elise Terrell, Dave Blog, Adam Chodikoff, Jimmy Donn, Jeff Gussow, Kira Klang Hopf, Allison MacDonald, Ryan Middleton

    Dave Chappelle: Sticks & Stones
    Producers: Dave Chappelle, Stan Lathan, Rikki Hughes, Sina Sadighi

    The Late Show With Stephen Colbert (Season 5)
    Producers: Stephen Colbert, Chris Licht, Tom Purcell, Jon Stewart, Barry Julien, Denise Rehrig, Tanya Michnevich Bracco, Paul Dinello, Matt Lappin, Opus Moreschi, Emily Gertler, Michael Brumm, Bjoern Stejskal, Paige Kendig, Jake Plunkett, Aaron Cohen, Sara Vilkomerson, Adam Wager

    Saturday Night Live (Season 45)
    Producers: Lorne Michaels, Steve Higgins, Erik Kenward, Lindsay Shookus, Erin Doyle, Tom Broecker, Ken Aymong

  • Outstanding Producer of Game & Competition Television

    RuPaul's Drag Race (Season 11) (WINNER)
    Producers: Fenton Bailey, Randy Barbato, Tom Campbell, Mandy Salangsang, RuPaul Charles, Steven Corfe, Bruce McCoy, Michele Mills, Jacqueline Wilson, Thairin Smothers, John Polly, Michelle Visage, Jen Passovoy

    The Amazing Race (Season 31)
    Producers: Jerry Bruckheimer, Bertram van Munster, Jonathan Littman, Elise Doganieri, Mark Vertullo, Phil Keoghan

    The Masked Singer (Season 1)
    Producers: Craig Plestis, Izzie Pick Ibarra, Nikki Varhely-Gillingham, Rosie Seitchik, Stacey Thomas-Muir, Nick Cannon, Ashley Sylvester, Lindsay Tuggle, Pete Cooksley, Chelsea Candelaria, Anne Chanthavong, Zoë Ritchken, Deena Katz, Erin Brady, Jeff Kmiotek, Lexi Shoemaker

    Top Chef (Season 16)
    Producers: Dan Cutforth, Jane Lipsitz, Doneen Arquines, Casey Kriley, Tara Siener, Justin Rae Barnes, Blake Davis, Patrick Schmedeman, Wade Sheeler, Tom Colicchio, Padma Lakshmi, Elida Carbajal Araiza, Brian Fowler, Caitlin Rademaekers, Steve Lichtenstein, Emily Van Bergen

    The Voice (Season 16, Season 17)
    Producers: John de Mol, Mark Burnett, Audrey Morrissey, Stijn Bakkers, Amanda Zucker, Kyra Thompson, Teddy Valenti, Kyley Tucker, Carson Daly

  • Outstanding Documentary Motion Picture

    Apollo 11 (WINNER)
    Producers: Todd Douglas Miller, Thomas Petersen

    Producers: Philippe Bellaiche, Rachel Leah Jones

    American Factory
    Producers: Steven Bognar, Julia Reichert, Jeff Reichert

    The Cave
    Producers: Kirstine Barfod, Sigrid Dyekjaer

    For Sama
    Producer: Waas al-Kateab

    Producers: Atanas Georgiev, Ljubomir Stefanov

    One Child Nation
    Producers: Christoph Jörg, Julie Goldman, Christopher Clements, Carolyn Hepburn, Nanfu Wang, Jialing Zhang

  • Innovation Award

    Vader Immortal: A Star Wars VR Series – Episode I (WINNER)
    20,000 Leagues Under the Sea: An Interactive Adventure
    Black Mirror: Bandersnatch
    Cosmos Within Us
    Eleven Eleven
    First Man VR
    How to Train Your Dragon: Fly With Toothless VR
    How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World Virtual Tour
    Interactive Play at Sesame Street Land, SeaWorld, Orlando
    Tree VR
    You vs. Wild

  • Outstanding Children's Program

    Sesame Street (season 49) (WINNER)
    Carmen Sandiego (seasons 1 and 2)
    Green Eggs and Ham (season 1)
    Jim Henson's The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance (season 1)
    A Series of Unfortunate Events (season 3)

  • Outstanding Sports Program

    What's My Name | Muhammad Ali (WINNER)
    Hard Knocks: Training Camp With the Oakland Raiders (S14)
    Lindsey Vonn: The Final Season
    Real Sports With Bryant Gumbel (season 25)
    SportsCenter With Scott Van Pelt (season 5)

  • Outstanding Shortform Program

    Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee (season 11) (WINNER)
    Billy on the Street With Billy Eichner
    Born This Way (season 5)
    Creating Saturday Night Live (season 3)
    Under a Rock With Tig Notaro (season 1)