The Ang Lee-directed film continues to sweep up this awards season, making it a likely contender for an Oscar nomination. The film's producers, Diana Ossana and James Schamus, were honored at the guild's 17th annual awards show. "Brokeback" edged out "Capote," "Crash," "Good Night, and Good Luck" and "Walk the Line."
The Producers Guild of America, which represents about 2,700 TV and film producers, held the black-tie event at the Universal Hilton Hotel. Queen Latifah hosted.
The quirky daytime talk show "The Ellen Degeneres Show" won in the best TV series or special, variety, besting NBC's "Late Night With Conan O'Brien," CBS' "The Late Show With David Letterman" and HBO's "Real Time With Bill Maher."
The award for long-form TV show went to HBO's "The Life and Death of Peter Sellers," and producers Freddy Demann, George Faber and Charles Pattinson. It beat out HBO's "Empire Falls," "Lackawanna Blues" and "Warm Springs" and TNT's "Into the West."
HBO's "Entourage," and producers Doug Ellin, Stephen Levinson, Julian Farino, Mark Greenberg and Wayne Carmona won best comedy TV series.
Taking home the award for best TV drama was ABC's "Lost" and J.J. Abrams, Damon Lindelof, Bryan Burk, Jack Bender, Jean Higgins and Carlton Cuse.
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The award for nonfiction TV series or special went to CBS' "60 Minutes" and Jeff Fager.
A lifetime achievement award also went to producer Roger Corman, who said he believes that producers are poised to experience a rebirth of sorts: "Today, with the new methods of delivering our films on the Internet, etc, we may see the power of the majors diminish a little more and we may see the producers assume their rightful place."
Perhaps the guild's most difficult job going into the evening wasn't picking winners, but deciding who wouldn't collect honors. The guild is the body that determines who receives a producers' credit on a given project — not an easy job in Hollywood, where, the old joke goes, everyone is a producer. The guild's ruling also determines who will be able to take credit — or won't — if the picture wins an Oscar. And deciding who's worthy almost always results in controversy.
Take "Crash," for example. There are six listed producers on the project, but the guild only recognized two. Those edged out included Bob Yari, who purchased the script, developed the screenplay and co-financed the production.
In her speech to attendees, guild president Kathleen Kennedy said the organization has done the hard work necessary "to turn the producer's credit into a job title and not a reward to people who do not do the work."