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‘Birdman’ a big winner

‘Birdman’ a hit at the Producers Guild of America Awards show

Maybe this is an Oscar race after all: At Saturday night's Producers Guild of America Awards, Birdman producers Alejandro Gonzalez Arritu, John Lesher and James W. Skotchdopole won the Darryl F. Zanuck Award for best movie, topping Best Picture favorite Boyhood, among other Oscar nominees, for the honor.

Why is this significant? Recent history, for one: Since 2007, when No Country for Old Men won at the Producers Guild Awards, the guild's top award winner has matched the Oscars' Best Picture choice every time. (Last year, 12 Years a Slave and Gravity tied at the PGA Awards, giving the group a somewhat unfair statistical advantage.) In its history, the PGA Awards has successfully predicted the eventual Best Picture winner 18 of 25 times.

The PGA Awards are also 2015's first major guild awards, making it the first time people in the industry (many of whom are also Academy members) have voted on this year's awards contenders. (Previous awards shows — such as the Critics' Choice Awards and Golden Globes, both spots where Boyhood triumphed — were voted on by media members.)

That Birdman was chosen perhaps shows voters’ hand a bit: It's a movie about the industry itself, and recent PGA Award and Best Picture winners The Artist and Argo were also about the power of Hollywood.

As Grantland and Entertainment Weekly writer Mark Harris tweeted: “Never underestimate the appetite of movie people to give awards to movies about movie people.”

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