‘La La Land’ takes top honors at Producers Guild Awards

This image released by Lionsgate shows Ryan Gosling, right, and Emma Stone in a scene from, "La La Land." The film was nominated for an Oscar for best picture on Tuesday, Jan. 24, 2017. The 89th Academy Awards will take place on Feb. 26. (Dale Robinette/Lionsgate via AP)

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. (AP) — “La La Land” is continuing to dance its way through Hollywood’s awards season, claiming top honors at the 28th annual Producers Guild Awards.

The guild recognized the candy-colored musical with its Darryl F. Zanuck Award for theatrical motion picture production Saturday, a prize that often precedes the best picture Academy Award. (Last year was an exception, when “The Big Short” won the guild award, while “Spotlight” got the Oscar.) The nominees for the guild’s top film prize echo Oscars’ best picture nominees this year, with the exception of “Deadpool,” which made the cut with producers but not the film academy.

But the guild’s celebration at the Beverly Hilton Hotel of the year’s outstanding film and television productions had a decidedly political tone, as President Donald Trump’s ban on refugees and visitors from several Muslim countries triggered protests in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Dallas, Seattle and other cities.

“Our America is big, it is free, and it is open to dreamers of all races, all countries, all religions,” singer John Legend said as he introduced “La La Land” at Saturday’s untelevised ceremony. “Our vision of America is directly antithetical to that of President Trump. I want to specifically, tonight, reject his vision and affirm America has to be better than that.”

Ezra Edelman, producer and director of “O.J.: Made in America,” which claimed the guild’s documentary prize, echoed Legend’s sentiments.

“Please keep telling stories that are about our humanity,” he said.

Other winners Saturday included “Zootopia” for animated feature, “Atlanta” for episodic television comedy and “Stranger Things” for episodic TV drama.

Presenters included Justin Timberlake, Octavia Spencer, Taraji P. Henson, Nicole Kidman, Jeff Bridges, Kerry Washington, Robert De Niro and Martin Scorsese. Veteran producers James L. Brooks, Tom Rothman and Irwin Winkler received special awards.

Dustin Hoffman presented the night’s top prize. As producer Marc Platt accepted for “La La Land,” he said, “The power of cinema cannot be denied and has no borders … We must believe love can change our lives, much as it can change the world.”

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