The Artist followed its Golden Globe win by taking top honours at the Producers Guild Awards on Saturday, as the silent film continues its unlikely run toward Oscar night.

Producer Thomas Langmann received the award handed out at the Beverly Hilton by the Producers Guild of America, as The Artist beat out George Clooney's family drama and another Oscar favourite, The Descendants.

The Artist won best musical or comedy at the Golden Globes and The Descendants won best drama along with a best actor nod for Clooney, making the movies likely rivals for Best Picture at the Academy Awards.

The other nominees in the movie category were War Horse, The Help, Bridesmaids, Hugo, The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, Midnight in Paris, Moneyball and another Clooney movie, The Ides of March.

Along with honours from other Hollywood professional groups such as actors, directors and writers guilds, the producer prizes have become part of the preseason sorting out contenders for the Oscars, whose nominations come out on Tuesday.

HBO's saga of mobsters in Prohibition-era Atlantic City Boardwalk Empire won the producers' award for television drama series, keeping AMC's 1960s advertising agency drama Mad Men from winning its fourth straight PGA Award.

A team of seven producers including Martin Scorcese received the award for Boardwalk Empire, which also beat out Showtime's Dexter, CBS's The Good Wife, and another HBO series, Game of Thrones.

TheABC network's Modern Family took the award for best TV comedy series for the second straight year, beating 30 Rock, The Big Bang Theory, Glee, and Parks and Recreation

Other winners at the PGA awards included PBS's Downton Abbey for long-form television, The Adventures of Tintin for animated film, Beats, Rhymes & Life for movie documentary, and The Colbert Report for talk and live entertainment shows.