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Upcoming: The Directors Guild announces its winners Jan. 25.
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Producers’ awards leave Oscars race wide open

“12 Years a Slave,” left, which stars Chiwetel Ejiofor, and “Gravity,” which stars Sandra Bullock, tied for the top Producers Guild of America film honor.

– For the past six years, every feature film chosen by the Producers Guild of America for its top honor has gone on to win the best-picture prize at the Academy Awards. Sunday night, Steve McQueen’s historical epic “12 Years a Slave” and Alfonso Cuaron’s space odyssey “Gravity” tied for the guild’s highest honor.

While an Oscar tie is unlikely, the rare PGA split keeps the Academy Awards race wide open in one of the tightest three-way battles in years. It may have been shut out by the producers, but David O. Russell’s con caper “American Hustle” still remains much in the running following a week of big showings at the Golden Globes, Oscar nominations and Screen Actors Guild Awards.

Rounding out the 10 nominees in the PGA’s feature category were “American Hustle,” “Blue Jasmine,” “Captain Phillips,” “Dallas Buyers Club,” “Gravity,” “Nebraska,” “Saving Mr. Banks” and “The Wolf of Wall Street.”

With the Directors Guild and Writers Guild awards in the next two weeks, the Oscar race is heading into the home stretch when several thousand academy voters make their choices prior to the March 2 ceremony.

A number of professional groups will also hand out awards in February. Final Oscar voting, which begins Feb. 14, ends Feb. 25 after all honors except the Spirit Awards for independent films have been presented.

Many PGA members belong to the producers branch of the motion picture academy, hence the frequent alignment of the two groups’ top feature film picks, including the past six winners.

Other trophies presented Sunday night at the guild’s 25th annual awards ceremony in Beverly Hills, Calif., included “Frozen” for animated feature, “We Steal Secrets: The Story of WikiLeaks” for documentary film, “Behind the Candelabra” for TV movie or miniseries, “Breaking Bad” for TV drama series and “Modern Family” for TV comedy series.

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