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Hollywood producers salute blockbuster sequels as Oscar vote begins

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The 2022 sequel "Top Gun: Maverick" starring Tom Cruise made over $1 billion at the global box office and has been nominated for a Producers Guild of America award./AFP
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Jan 13, 2023 - 02:24 AM

LOS ANGELES — Hollywood’s big-shot producers named blockbuster sequels “Avatar: The Way of Water” and “Top Gun: Maverick” among last year’s best films Thursday — the same day that voting for Oscars nominations got under way.

The Producers Guild of America host their own prestigious annual awards each year, and unveiled a 10-film nomination shortlist, which also included Marvel superhero sequel “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.”

The “Avatar” and “Top Gun” sequels have each grossed well over $1 billion — and the “Black Panther” follow-up some $800 million — at the global box office, as movie theaters mounted a partial recovery in 2022 from devastating pandemic closures.

While producers may have a reputation for chasing box office cash over critical acclaim, the PGA’s 8,000-odd moguls and indie financiers have a very strong record of predicting success at the Academy Awards, which conclude Tinseltown’s expansive award season.

Twelve of the last 15 winners of the best picture Oscar first lifted the PGA’s equivalent award, including the past two victors, “CODA” and “Nomadland.”

The PGA happened to release its shortlist this year on the very same day that the voting window opened for Oscars nominations.

Also in the running for the PGA’s top prize were critical darlings “The Banshees of Inisherin,” “Everything Everywhere All at Once” and Steven Spielberg’s “The Fabelmans,” which all won Golden Globes this week.

The other four films contending for the producers’ accolade this year were “Elvis,” “Tar,” “The Whale” and “Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery” — yet another sequel.

The PGA Awards gala will be held on February 25, before the Oscars conclude the Los Angeles award show marathon on March 12.

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