On Tuesday, veteran Hollywood producer Amy Pascal became only the fifth woman in the history of the Producers Guild Awards to earn a solo nomination for the guild’s top prize — the Darryl F. Zanuck Award for Outstanding Producer of Theatrical Motion Pictures.
Even more fitting is that Pascal, the former Sony Pictures head who now occupies a chic bungalow in an exclusive production deal with Universal, would get the recognition for a film like “Little Women,” a definitive American story of four sisters weathering poverty and navigating societal expectations in the Civil War era.
“I love this movie so much and Greta did such an amazing job,” Pascal told Variety. The producer, known for elevated popcorn fare like the “Spider-Man” franchise, said the Zanuck award nomination proved something irrefutable she’s learned during her career: “If you believe in something, stay with it. You have to make movies that you love, not movies that you know can get made.”
Having earned over $80 million at the worldwide box office in two weeks of wide release, the days leading up the debut of “Little Women” were marked by think pieces and speculation that men — a key demographic to sweeping box office success — did not find the movie intriguing or to be required viewing. A counter-narrative about male appeal sprang up, which included a GQ piece from star Tracy Letts and a group photo ops featuring all the men in Gerwig’s ensemble.
Pascal herself said she had concerns, which dissolved as reactions poured in from action heroes like Ryan Reynolds and Hollywood moguls from rival studios, like Disney’s Bob Iger.
“The movie seems to be working all over the world. It’s worked in every territory that it’s opened in. We’re obviously doing great in the US. There was a minute where I was worried, but that seems to have passed. Once people started seeing the movie, they realized what a fresh and original version Greta made.”
Speaking of Gerwig, many awards season pundits and film fans have noted her omission from top award nominations — including BAFTA and the Directors Guild Awards, both announced Monday.
“There were a lot of really good movies this year, I will say that,” Pascal said of the DGA specifically. “It was a competitive year, but we still have one more hurdle left. I’m hopeful, and I think she’s just … everything. The movie is about the sacrifices we make to live in the world we live in, and that’s true for everyone. I think people who see this movie understand that.”
“That hurdle will be the Oscars, where many anticipate Gerwig could land a best director nod, as well as acting nominations in lead for Saoirse Ronan and supporting for Florence Pugh. Trophies aside, Pascal says she wants to work with Gerwig on all of her future endeavors. Should the film secure a best picture nomination, it would set the stage to be the first ever in that category to be produced solely by a woman, if it won the top prize.
Now that “Little Women” has launched, Pascal will turn her attention back to Spidey. She is currently in pre-production on a sequel to Sony Animation’s “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse,” she said, and will head to Atlanta this summer with director Jon Watts and Tom Holland for the third installment of the live-action “Spider-Man.”