Star-studded financial crisis comedy The Big Short gained some much-need Oscar equity Saturday night, receiving the Producers Guild of America's highest film award at a Los Angeles ceremony that also reflected on Hollywood's diversity crisis.

After gaining some early momentum in Hollywood's award season, The Big Short starring Christian Bale, Steve Carell, Ryan Gosling and Brad Pitt lost some traction this month when it failed to win the top prizes at the Golden Globes and Critics Choice awards.

Many of the PGA's 7,000 members are also Oscar voters and for the past eight years, the guild's choices for its top trophy went on to win the best-picture prize at the Academy Awards.

Other films that were up for the PGA's top honour this year included Bridge of SpiesBrooklynEx MachinaMad Max: Fury RoadThe MartianThe RevenantSicario, Spotlight and Straight Outta Compton.

Producers of The Big Short

Producers Dede Gardner (L) and Jeremy Kleiner accept their award for The Big Short Jan. 23. (Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

The PGA ceremony followed a momentous week in Hollywood when outrage about the Academy Awards' second straight year of all-white acting nominees, as well as some glaring omissions in the best picture nods, led to calls for a boycott of the Oscar show and then on Friday, sweeping reforms announced by the motion picture academy.

The crisis dominated talk on the PGA red carpet and The Big Short co-producer Dede Gardner made reference to the issue in her acceptance speech.

"And then also to just kill the elephant in the room," she told the black-tie audience. "Yes, we have a real problem. We do. We do. We have privilege in our hands. We are storytellers. We need to tell stories that reflect our world and our country and all streets and roads and corners."

Game of Thrones wins PGA

Producers/writers David Benioff (L) and D. B. Weiss accept their award for Outstanding Producer of Episodic Television, Drama for Game of Thrones Jan. 23. (Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

Other PGA trophies presented Saturday night included Inside Out for animated feature, Amy for documentary feature, Fargo for television movie or miniseries, Game of Thrones for TV drama series, Transparent for TV comedy series and Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee for digital series.

Conspicuously missing from this year's PGA feature nominees were critics favourite Carol and Star Wars: The Force Awakens, which became the highest-grossing film ever in North America earlier this month.

Next up on the pre-Oscar awards circuit are the Screen Actors Guild Awards on Jan. 30, the Feb. 6 Directors Guild honours and the Writer Guild ceremony on Feb.13. The 87th annual Academy Awards will be presented Feb. 28.