‘Argo’ scoops prestigious prize at Producers Guild Of America awards

'Searching For Sugar Man' also among the winners at ceremony known for predicting Oscar victories

Argo won the prestigious Darryl F Zanuck award at the Producers Guild Of America (PGA) ceremony in Beverly Hills on Saturday.

Producers George Clooney, Grant Heslov and Ben Affleck, who also directed the film, were presented with the prize after the PGA’s 5,400 members deemed it worthy of winning ahead of other nominated films Beasts Of The Southern Wild, Django Unchained, Les Miserables, Life Of Pi, Lincoln, Moonrise Kingdom, Silver Linings Playbook, Skyfall and Zero Dark Thirty.

The PGA winner has matched the Best Picture winner at the Oscars for past five years, with The Artist, The King’s Speech, The Hurt Locker, Slumdog Millionaire and No Country for Old Men picking up both accolades. The PGA and Oscars last diverged in 2006 when the Zanuck award went to Little Miss Sunshine, while Martin Scorsese’s The Departed, gave him his first Best Picture win, thought overdue by many.

Affleck said in his short acceptance speech that the award was “incredible and exciting”, also thanking wife Jennifer Garner, various executives, Clooney, who was not at the ceremony, and Heslov. In his speech, Heslov joked: “The hardest thing about working on this was working with two producers who have been People’s ‘Sexiest Man Alive.”

Argo centres on the CIA rescue of Americans trapped in Iran in 1979-80. This latest win comes just two weeks after it won the Golden Globe for Best Dramatic Film, where Affleck also won in the director category. He hasn’t been nominated in the Best Director category at the Oscars. Argo has taken around £120million worldwide.

Searching For Sugar Man won the documentary trophy, while Homeland won the Norman Felton trophy for episodic drama.

JJ Abrams, a day after being confirmed as the director for the next Star Wars episode, won the Norman Lear Award for Achievement in TV. He joked at the start of his speech: “Typical week.”

The winners in full:

The Darryl F Zanuck Award for Outstanding Producer of Theatrical Motion Pictures – Argo

The Award for Outstanding Producer of Animated Theatrical Motion Pictures – Wreck-It Ralph

The David L. Wolper Award for Outstanding Producer of Long-Form Television – Game Change

The Award for Outstanding Producer of Documentary Theatrical Motion Pictures – Searching For Sugar Man

The Norman Lear Achievement Award in Television – JJ Abrams

The Norman Felton Award for Outstanding Producer of Episodic Television (Drama) – Homeland

The Danny Thomas Award for Outstanding Producer of Episodic Television (Comedy) – Modern Family

The Award for Outstanding Producer of Non-Fiction Television – American Masters

The Award for Outstanding Producer of Live Entertainment & Talk Television – The Colbert Report

The Award for Outstanding Producer of Competition Television – The Amazing Race

The Award for Outstanding Sports Program – Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel

The Award for Outstanding Children’s Program – Sesame Street

The Award for Outstanding Digital Series – 30 Rock: The Webisodes