Writer-director Guillermo del Toro's fantasy romance The Shape of Water was named the top film of 2017 at the 29th annual Producers Guild of America Awards Saturday night in Los Angeles. Inspired by the 1954 Universal Studios monster movie classic Creature from the Black Lagoon, del Toro's take on the unique relationship between a mute woman (Sally Hawkins) and an amphibian man (Doug Jones) held captive in a research facility has dominated this awards season with a Best Picture win at the Critics’ Choice Movie Awards, and a Best Director win for del Toro at the Golden Globes.
And while The Shape of Water has been recognized by film journalists and critics, it has also attracted big attention by industry voters, including nominations from the Screen Actors Guild, the Director’s Guild of America, the Writers Guild of America and the British Academy of Film and Television Awards (BAFTAs). Perhaps the film has received its biggest vote of confidence yet, though, for its bid for Oscar gold, with the results of Saturday's PGA Awards.
According to THR, The Shape of Water received the Darryl F. Zanuck Award for Outstanding Producer of Theatrical Motion Pictures Saturday night, which is the guild's equivalent of a Best Picture award. The film topped nine other nominees in the race, including The Big Sick, Call Me by Your Name, Dunkirk, Get Out, I, Tonya, Lady Bird, Molly's Game, The Post, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, and Wonder Woman. Unable to attend the PGA ceremony because he is in Mexico with his ailing father, del Toro, who produced the film with J. Miles Dale, noted the honor on Twitter, saying, “I want to thank the PGA for giving us this immense distinction.”
It will be interesting to see if the Oscars will follow suit and honor The Shape of Water, considering that the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has only honored a fantasy film with its top prize once before, with The Lord of the Ring: The Return of the King's Best Picture win in 2004. The win for the top PGA film award certainly boosts The Shape of Water's Oscar prospects, presuming the film nabs a Best Picture nomination in the announcement for the 90th annual Academy Awards Tuesday.
Since the award ceremony's inception in 1990, 19 of the previous 28 PGA Outstanding Producer winners (including Return of the King) have gone on to capture the Best Picture Oscar at the Academy Awards. In the past two years, the PGA and Oscars went with different winners, however, as The Big Short won the PGA Award while Spotlight took the Best Picture Oscar; while La La Land won the top PGA honor and Moonlight, after a barrage of on-stage confusion, won the Oscar for Best Picture.