"Argo" producers George Clooney, Ben Affleck and Grant Heslov. (Kirk McKoy )
Ben Affleck, George Clooney and Grant Heslov won the the Darryl F. Zanuck outstanding producer of motion picture for "Argo," besting "Lincoln" and other contenders in the category.
It was the latest triumph for the film, which won the Golden Globes motion picture-drama earlier in the month. With the win, the film establishes itself firmly as a solid contender for Oscar best picture after earlier being thought out of the running when Ben Affleck was snubbed for best director by the motion picture academy.
"Searching for Sugar Man," the story of the forgotten '70s singer Rodriguez, snagged the prize for documentary theatrical motion picture. Also in documentaries, the school-bullying film "Bully" won the Stanley Kramer award for illuminating social issues.
On the animation side, "Wreck-It Ralph," a story of a disenchanted video-game character, took the prize for best animated feature at the PGA's.
In television categories, "Modern Family" took home the prize for TV episodic comedy, "Homeland" won for episodic drama, while the outstanding longform TV prize was scored by HBO's Sarah Palin pic "Game Change." "The Amazing Race" walked away with competitive-television honors.
Meanwhile, "The Colbert Report" won for live entertainment/talk and "American Masters" for nonfiction television.
J.J. Abrams, who's had a busy week since being hired as director of the new "Star Wars" film, received a lifetime achivement award; a milestone award went to Harvey and Bob Weinstein. The Visionary Award for Work of Uplifting Quality or Vision went to Russell Simmons.
The PGAs are considered a bellwether of the best picture prize at the Oscars and can turn a race in a movie's favor. Two years ago, for instance, "The King's Speech," facing a challenge from "The Social Network," picked up the top prize at the PGAs en route to its Oscar triumph.
"Argo" beat out nine other contenders for the Darryl F. Zanuck producer of the year award for theatrical motion pictures. The other nominees were: "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 award, handed out at the Beverly Hilton Hotel, is considering one of the leading indicators for the best picture Academy Award. For the last five years, the PGA winner has gone on to win best picture. One reason: The 5,400-member PGA and academy use the same preferential system to count final ballots.
PHOTOS: SAG Award nominees
The last time the PGA and the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences didn't agree was six years ago when the PGA chose "Little Miss Sunshine," while the best picture Oscar went to Martin Scorsese's"The Departed."
Sundance 2013: What's it like to secretly film at Disneyland?
Sundance 2013: Documentarians turn to writers to shape narratives
Bawdy CAA party at Sundance shocks guests, clients
PHOTOS: Memorable red carpet moments
VIDEO: Go behind the scenes with the awards contenders
THE ENVELOPE: Awards insider