"Gravity" and "12 Years a Slave" have wound up in a dead heat as both won the Producers Guild of America's Darryl F. Zanuck Award for top feature film -- the first tie in the PGA's 25-year history for the trophy.
Ben Affleck announced the awards Sunday night at the Beverly Hilton back-to-back -- first to "Gravity" producers Alfonso Cuaron and David Heyman and then to "12 Years a Slave" producers Anthony Katagas, Jeremy Kleiner, Steve McQueen, Brad Pitt and Dede Gardner.
Cuaron gave extended thanks and made fun of himself as the director of the cutting-edge space tale -- "he can be stubborn, uncompromising." He also singled out his son and co-writer Jonas Cuaron for energizing him through the film's lengthy development process.
Brad Pitt said of the searing historical drama "12 Years" represented an opportunity "to contribute something to the yearly narrative, to culture, and that is fucking cool."
An emotional McQueen, who also directed, said, "Thank you so much for opening your hearts and minds to this film."
The PGA also selected "Frozen" as the top animated film and "We Steal Secrets: The Story of WikiLeaks" as the winner of its documentary prize. "Breaking Bad," "Modern Family" and "Behind the Candelabra" won the key TV awards with "Modern Family" taking the comedy series trophy for the fourth year in a row.
"Gravity" and "12 Years a Slave" topped what was regarded as a highly competitive field -- "American Hustle," "Blue Jasmine," "Captain Phillips," "Dallas Buyers Club," "Her," "Nebraska," "Saving Mr. Banks" and "The Wolf of Wall Street."
The twin wins spread the wealth for the weekend award winners, which saw "American Hustle" win SAG cast ensemble award while "Dallas Buyers Club" took the two male acting awards and "Blue Jasmine" and "12 Years" won the female acting trophies. A week ago, "12 Years a Slave" won the Golden Globe for best drama and "American Hustle" won for best comedy.
The PGA's Zanuck award has become a strong indicator of Oscar sentiment in recent years, matching the Oscar for best picture in 17 of its 24 years -- including the last six, with "Argo," "The Artist," "The King's Speech," "The Hurt Locker," "Slumdog Millionaire" and "No Country for Old Men." The PGA winner last diverged from the Oscar best picture for the 2006 award when "Little Miss Sunshine" won while the Academy opted for "The Departed."
Affleck, who won the award last year for "Argo" joked when he revealed that two films had won the Zanuck that it was "a legitimate mathematical numerical tie -- but it was the producers who told me so."
The producers branch of AMPAS constitutes about 8 percent of the AMPAS membership.
"Gravity" has grossed $677 million worldwide for Warner Bros. while Fox Searchlight's "12 Years" has cumed $53 million.
The next major milestone in this year's awards race comes Saturday when the Directors Guild of America presents its top feature film award. Both Cuaron and McQueen are up for the award along with Paul Greengrass for "Captain Phillips," David O. Russell for "American Hustle" and Martin Scorsese for "The Wolf of Wall Street."
Kevin Spacey received the top laughs of the night with a dead-on impersonation of the late Johnny Carson before presenting "Modern Family" with its trophy. "Of all the awards shows, this is the one to be at because it's not on TV," he said.
Here is the list of winners:
The Darryl F. Zanuck Award for Outstanding Producer of Theatrical Motion Pictures:
"GRAVITY" (Warner Bros. Pictures) Producers: Alfonso CuarÃ³n, David Heyman
"12 YEARS A SLAVE" (Fox Searchlight Pictures); Producers: Anthony Katagas, Jeremy Kleiner, Steve McQueen, Brad Pitt and Dede Gardner
Two Winners at PGA - 'Gravity' and '12 Years a Slave'
We've upgraded our reader commenting system. Learn more about the new features.