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Does Oscar Have a New Frontrunner? NBR Names Top Gun: Maverick Best Film as PGA Gives Tom Cruise Its David O. Selznick Award

Back on April 28, I predicted that Top Gun: Maverick would land a Best Picture nomination after seeing it at CinemaCon. People did, in fact, call me crazy. And now, here we are eight months later, and not only is Top Gun: Maverick all but assured a Best Picture nomination, it may very well be the current frontrunner after Thursday’s one-two punch of awards news.

For starters, the Producers Guild of America (PGA) has decided to honor Tom Cruise with its David O. Selznick Achievement Award, which recognizes a producer or producing team for their extraordinary body of work in motion pictures. Selznick produced the classic Gone With the Wind, and past recipients of his namesake award include Steven Spielberg, Barbara Broccoli, Mary Parent, Brian Grazer, David Heyman, and Marvel’s Kevin Feige.

Cruise will accept the honor at the 34th Annual Producers Guild Awards, which will be held on Feb. 25, 2023 at The Beverly Hilton. The award is particularly well-deserved, as Paramount nearly sold Top Gun: Maverick to a rival streamer in the middle of the pandemic, when the fate of movie theaters was very much in flux. Fortunately, Cruise flexed his movie star muscles and put his foot down, insisting that Paramount hold the film until it could be given a proper theatrical release.

Needless to say, Top Gun: Maverick has grossed nearly $1.5 billion, becoming both Cruise and Paramount’s biggest movie ever, and perhaps more impressively, the first film ever to top the box office on both Memorial Day and Labor Day weekends — no small feat. That the movie also turned out to be awesome is a miracle unto itself, especially since the original 1986 film was never all that great to begin with, let’s be honest.

Top Gun: Maverick
Tom Cruise in Top Gun: Maverick/Paramount Pictures

Now, just because Cruise is being honored with the Selznick Award doesn’t mean that Top Gun: Maverick is a shoo-in to win the PGA Award for Best Picture, but it certainly seems well-positioned to do just that. Especially after the National Board of Review named the Top Gun sequel as the Best Film of the year. Sure, Spielberg was named Best Director for The Fabelmans, and The Banshees of Inisherin picked up a trio of prizes, but there’s no question that Maverick is flying high in the awards race after Thursday’s announcements.

“Beginning with Mission: Impossible, Tom Cruise has developed a talent for producing to match his extraordinary talent as an actor. Tom approaches producing with the same meticulous attention to detail he brings to all of his professional endeavors,” PGA presidents Donald De Line and Stephanie Allain said in a joint statement. “His commitment to telling bold, cinematic, and entertaining stories has elevated the global theatrical experience and has resulted in some of the most popular motion pictures in history. We are thrilled to honor him with the David O. Selznick Award for his excellence in producing.”

The PGA also noted that Cruise “has worked over the last 40 years to produce and star in motion pictures that stand the test of time. His prowess as a creative film producer has impacted the evolution of cinema as he collaboratively develops new ways to capture what he has dreamed up for the big screen — always in service of story — always putting the audience’s experience first.”

Indeed, it’s not just Top Gun: Maverick that earned Cruise the Selnick Award, as his films have earned over $11 billion worldwide — a good chunk of which belongs to the Mission: Impossible franchise, which is still going strong, with its seventh and eighth entries — Dead Reckoning Part 1 and Part 2 — slated to anchor Paramount’s next two summers.

As for the rest of this year’s NBR winners, the full list can be found below:

Best Film: Top Gun: Maverick 

Best Director: Steven Spielberg, The Fabelmans

Best Actor: Colin Farrell, The Banshees of Inisherin

Best Actress: Michelle Yeoh, Everything Everywhere All at Once

Best Supporting Actor: Brendan Gleeson, The Banshees of Inisherin

Best Supporting Actress: Janelle Monáe, Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery

Best Original Screenplay: Martin McDonagh, The Banshees of Inisherin

Best Adapted Screenplay: Edward Berger, Lesley Paterson, Ian Stokell, All Quiet on the Western Front

Breakthrough Performance: Danielle Deadwyler, Till

Breakthrough Performance: Gabriel LaBelle, The Fabelmans

Best Directorial Debut: Charlotte Wells, Aftersun

Best Animated Feature: Marcel the Shell with Shoes On

Best International Film: Close

Best Documentary: Sr. 

Best Ensemble: Women Talking

Outstanding Achievement in Cinematography: Claudio Miranda, Top Gun: Maverick

NBR Freedom of Expression Awards:

All the Beauty and the Bloodshed

Argentina, 1985 

Top Films (in alphabetical order):

Aftersun 

Avatar: The Way of Water 

The Banshees of Inisherin

Everything Everywhere All at Once 

The Fabelmans

Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery 

RRR

Till 

The Woman King 

Women Talking 

Top 5 International Films (in alphabetical order):

All Quiet on the Western Front

Argentina, 1985 

Decision to Leave 

EO 

Saint Omer 

Top 5 Documentaries (in alphabetical order):

All the Beauty and the Bloodshed

All That Breathes

Descendant 

Turn Every Page – The Adventures of Robert Caro and Robert Gottlieb

Wildcat 

Top 10 Independent Films (in alphabetical order):

Armageddon Time

Emily the Criminal 

The Eternal Daughter 

Funny Pages 

The Inspection 

Living 

A Love Song

Nanny 

The Wonder 

To Leslie

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