Let's just say that if you were expecting any film besides "The Artist" to triumph at the Producers' Guild of America Awards, you clearly haven't been paying attention. After dominating the critics' awards and taking three Golden Globes, the French phenomenon had its first taste of Guild glory last night -- solidly confirming its status as the film to beat (if indeed it can be beaten) for the Oscar.
As with "The Hurt Locker" two years ago, the PGA rewarded by far the lowest-grossing of the 10 films nominated: many pundits speak of them as a commercially-minded voting group, but their choices don't really bear this idea out. Consensus has simply landed on Harvey Weinstein's black-and-white pony as the most loveable in the race, and if it has the money men in its corner, it's good to go.
We'll know next weekend just how comfortable the film is in the race as the Directors' and Screen Actors' Guilds announce their winners -- a DGA win for Michel Hazanavicius (which is probable) would just about lock things in place, but if it manages to beat "The Help" to the SAG ensemble award (which is more of a question mark), Oscar pundits may as well take up another hobby until February 27.