A TV legend, big screen players, and one of the year’s most celebrated films earn honors.
James L. Brooks
Norman Lear Achievement Award in Television
To build a highlight reel of memorable moments from the television career of Brooks is a challenge that few editors would want to undertake. But the 20-time Emmy winner, whose CV includes such groundbreaking series as “The Mary Tyler Moore Show,” “Taxi” and “The Simpsons,” and is this year’s recipient of the Producers Guild Awards’ Norman Lear Achievement Award in Television, was recently charged with just such a task. Brooks found that the easiest path to a solution was to recall the program where the collaboration between talent in front of and behind the camera gelled. “Everything is a marriage of actors and writers, and what makes those stories happen is that if it’s a good coupling,” he says. To that end, Brooks included moments from his most beloved and critically praised series, as well as a few that flew below the radar. “One would be the time I got to work with Mel Brooks on the ‘Tracey Ullman Show,’” he recalls. “He came up with stuff, and that was the time in my life when I was paid to roll around on the floor [laughing]. And, I would have to say, the end of ‘The Mary Tyler Moore Show.’ But there are all these little pieces, like a monologue from the Reverend Jim on ‘Taxi.’ One of my favorite highs was on a series that didn’t make it called ‘The Associates,’ with Martin Short.’ The pilot came together beautifully, and it had a great closing joke that was explosive. I always thought of that as a night that was electric for me. As for ‘The Simpsons,’ Bart would open and close [the reel], and Homer would be in the middle”
David O. Selznick Achievement Award
The Oscar-winning producer, who will receive the David O. Selznick Achievement Award in Theatrical Motion Pictures at this year’s Producers Guild Awards, believes firmly in remaining open to the possibilities that are present in every project. “Every film you make has the chance to be something really, really special,” Winkler says. “You can read something and think, ‘Oh, that’s a nice little script,’ but you never know if that’s going to be something that could give you a franchise and an Academy Award at the same time.” Winkler would know: he and producing partner Robert Chartoff took a chance in 1976 on a script by a then-unknown actor named Sylvester Stallone. “ ‘Rocky’ was a film that the studio didn’t want to make, and even though it was a ‘put’ film — they had no opportunity to say no — but