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In an upset, 'The King's Speech' takes Producers Guild Award

Kings speech In a startling upset, the Producers Guild of America gave its top prize to “The King’s Speech” Saturday night, handing front-runner “The Social Network” its first loss of the awards season and making the race for the best picture Oscar all the more interesting.

Until the PGA Awards, “The Social Network,” the acclaimed drama about the Harvard undergrad founders of Facebook, seemed unstoppable, winning the majority of critics honors as well as the Golden Globe and Critics Choice Movie Award for best film.

By inflicting this first chink in the armor of “The Social Network,” “The King’s Speech,” a moving drama from director Tom Hooper about King George VI’s efforts to conquer his stuttering, is now a serious contender for the Oscar that had seemed all but destined for the edgier David Fincher movie. The PGA and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences have agreed on best picture winners the past three years.

The Screen Actors Guild Awards, to be held next week, could also deviate from the “Social Network” track, with a best ensemble in a film nod to “King’s Speech” or possibly David O. Russell’s boxing film, “The Fighter,” which has a number of lauded acting performances.

“King’s Speech” producers Iain Canning, Emile Sherman and Gareth Unwin were the recipients of the PGA award, called the Darryl F. Zanuck Award for Producer of Theatrical Motion Pictures.

The 22nd annual Producers Guild of America Awards, which took place at the Beverly Hilton Hotel, gave the Award for Outstanding Producer of Animated Theatrical Motion Pictures to Darla K. Anderson for “Toy Story 3,” while Lesley Chilcott won the documentary feature category for “Waiting for ‘Superman.'"

On the television side, producers Steven Levitan, Christopher Lloyd, Jeff Morton, Dan O'Shannon, Jason Winer, Bill Wrubel and Danny Zuker won the Danny Thomas Award for Outstanding Producer of Episodic TV-Comedy for ABC's “Modern Family.” The Norman Felton Award for Outstanding Producer of Episodic TV-Drama went to Lisa Albert, Scott Hornbacher, Andre Jacquemetton, Maria Jacquemetton, Blake McCormick, Dwayne Shattuck and Matthew Weiner for AMC's “Mad Men.”

Winners of the David L. Wolper Award for Outstanding Producer of Long-Form TV were Gary Goetzman, Tom Hanks, Eugene Kelly, Todd London, Cherylanne Martin, Bruce C. McKenna, Steven Shareshian, Steven Spielberg, Tony To, Tim Van Patten and Graham Yost for HBO's “The Pacific.”

Thom Beers, Jeff Conroy, Sheila McCormack, Ethan Prochnik and Matt Renner received the Award for Outstanding Producer of Non-Fiction TV for the Discovery Channel's “The Deadliest Catch.” Winner of the Award for Outstanding Producer of Live Entertainment and Competition TV went to Meredith Bennett, Stephen T. Colbert, Richard Dahm, Tom Purcell, Allison Silverman and Jon Stewart for Comedy Central's “The Colbert Report.”

Several special awards were also handed out: James Cameron received the Milestone Award; Tom Hanks and Gary Goetzman earned the Norman Lear Achievement Award in TV; Scott Rudin received the David O. Selznick Award in Theatrical Motion Pictures; Laura Ziskin was given the Visionary Award; Sean Penn picked up the Stanley Kramer Award and RealD earned the Vanguard Award.

-- Susan King

Photo: Colin Firth and Helena Bonham Carter in "The King's Speech." Credit: The Weinstein Co.

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I prefer The Fighter over any other film this year...The King's Speech was good but not really Best Pic worthy. Simply British, stodgy and proper...Masterpiece Theatre stuff...TSN is cold, stoic old tale of betrayal with young actors...nothing new story-wise really and not all that interesting...Let's hope for an Oscar upset this year to make us GASP!

"It is a travesty that WAITING FOR SUPERMAN took best documentary at the PGA's. The film is nothing but borscht propaganda against teachers and their unions..."

Perhaps more of a travesty is that this is even considered a "documentary."

I must be the only person in the world not enamored with "King's Speech". It was entertaining - period - in my humble opinion. "Black Swan" and "The Fighter" were better films and more worthy of awards. The King stuttered - who cares! I think a more interesting story would have been about the relationship between the King and his father. I could not muster sympathy for The King. He had a very expensive roof over his head; married to a beautiful and loving woman; had two beautiful daughters. So he stuttered ... sorry .. "Blue Valentine" was a more interesting film.

AK... I have no idea what you mean by calling Social Network a "defining movie." Defining of what? The best movie of the year about litigation? The best movie of the year that was a bore-fest? The best movie of the year for middle aged film critics to call the best movie of the year so they can feel hip and youthful? The King's Speech was a better movie by a mile. Black Swan and The Fighter were also better than Social Network. You call it a travesty if Social Network doesn't win the Oscar for best picture... but I call it a travesty if it does win... there are many move films this year that are more deserving.

Good call by the PGA. The Social Network was the least interesting of the 10 choices.

@Shlomo von Glickstein: I agree that Waiting for Superman was a lousy choice. Terribly manipulative and false.

@John Cameron: indeed, The Social Network was far more inaccurate than The King's Speech.

@Eric: I agree, except IMO the PGA skews even older than the Academy. But then so does the HFPA, and they picked "The Social Network". It might loosen things up a bit, but as long as the Oscar race is strictly TSN vs. TKS, TSN will win--especially if the DGA goes for David Fincher (as all signs indicate).

OTOH, if "Black Swan", "The Fighter" or "True Grit" pull a lot of No. 1 votes from those two, we might see "Inception" or even "Toy Story 3" sneak off with the Oscar under preferential voting; they won't get as many No. 1 votes, but when PwC starts diving into the 2's, 3's & 4's they could end up winning.

Who cares if "The Social Network" didn't have "heart"? It had a more interesting story and was a better-made film than "The King's Speech." I think people are letting their emotional response and the fantastic acting done by Colin Firth and Geoffrey Rush get in the way of a fair assessment of the race. For such a defining film as "The Social Network" to lose Best Picture this year would be a travesty.

No surprise. I'm sure the PGA membership skews older, not unlike the Academy. For those of you who found "The Queen" too edgy and intense, I give you "The King's Speech".

The PGA got it right. Maybe there's still hope for some suspense at the Oscars.

Hooray for The King's Speech! Finally... maybe people are coming to their senses. The Social Network is the most over-rated film of the year.

While the Social Network is a VERY well made film it has no heart.
This time the Emperors New Clothes are on a nerd from Harvard.

Thank you PGA for selecting a creative, thoughtful film. Let's hope the SAG will also vote for a film with depth.

I care little who gets Oscars or any other kind of industry awards, but I've seen many, many films over a lifetime and this is one of the best of its genre I've ever seen.
Fine, fine film with superb actors. Even the secondary characters are tops.
And all the more moving in that it's a true story.

Yes...Now some real sense to what's good and not trendy.

Thank You, Producers Guild Members. Thank You!!!

The King's Speech is by far the best motion picture to have been released this past year. An engagingly told and little known historical story which was well directed and acted and is deserving of this and hopefully many other awards.
Congratulations to the recipients of the Darryl F. Zanuck Award for Producer of Theatrical Motion Pictures

There are almost as many historical inaccuracies as contained in "Titanic", "Chariots of Fire" and "Braveheart" - not that the truth should be allowed to get in the way of a good story.

The Social Network has won virtually every award from professional critics and journalists, but this PGA award is the first from people who ACTUALLY VOTE for the Oscars. It'll be very interesting to see in the next few weeks how awards from other similar precursors like the DGA, SAG and BAFTAs pan out. Perhaps the King's multiple audience awards are more significant that the Network's critical accolades. I thought the Oscars were going to be a yawner, but the race may be getting a lot more interesting.

It is a travesty that WAITING FOR SUPERMAN took best documentary at the PGA's. The film is nothing but borscht propaganda against teachers and their unions, full of hate spewed by charlatans like Geoffrey Canada and Michelle Rhee, whose own backgrounds and backstory would make the PGA gag...

Shame on the PGA for swallowing the unyielding disinformation portrayed in this trash film.

How is that an upset? They chose the better movie rather than the more commercial one.

A terrible decision.


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