In the past five years, four of the five pictures nominated by the Producers Guild of America as their Best Picture nominees have secured spots on the Best Picture Oscar ballot. The PGA noms for 2008 have been announced, and they go like this:

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
The Dark Knight
Slumdog Millionaire

Here’s some more data: since 1992, nine of the films that won the PGA’s Best Picture also took the Oscar.

If the recent pattern holds true, one of those five won’t make it, but I’ll be surprised if more than three do. In a better world, we’d see Man On Wire (from the PGA’s doc nominations, which also include Trouble the Water and Standard Operating Procedure) in the Best Picture list, but we know that’s not going to happen. The Wrestler should be in there, too; it’s far better than those five nominated movies. This is big news for Dark Knight fans, as this is the highest profile nomination the film has received so far. That it also happens to be one of the more influential is good news if you’d like to see your crusader legitimized by the Academy.

The guild’s animated films shortlist was also announced, and it highlights Wall-E, Bolt and Kung-Fu Panda.