Welcome to the 2019 Awards Profile series, where we talk about films coming to a theater near you in the coming year (at least at this time of writing). The series analyzes the films and their awards season potential, most notably for the Academy Awards, based on the talents attached, filmmakers involved, and story and source material. Monday through Friday until mid-May, AwardsCircuit will bring you a new and exciting project and discuss its chances for success. If you have a suggestion for a movie we should cover, include it in the comments section below. If you miss a film covered, click on the tag or category for “Awards Profile.”
FILM: “Little Women”
DIRECTOR: Greta Gerwig
PRODUCERS: Denise Di Novi, Arnon Milchan, Amy Pascal, Robin Swicord
WRITER: Greta Gerwig (based on the book by Louisa May Alcott)
CAST: Saoirse Ronan, Emma Watson, Laura Dern, Timothée Chalamet, Florence Pugh, Eliza Scanlen, Meryl Streep
SYNOPSIS: Four sisters come of age in America in the aftermath of the Civil War. (IMDB)
SCHEDULED RELEASE: December 25, 2019
Louisa May Alcott’s 19th century novel is one of the most beloved tales for women and girls in the past two hundred years. Told in several film and television iterations, one of the most popular adaptations of “Little Women” came 25 years ago. Gillian Armstrong’s version secured Winona Ryder her second of two Oscar nominations, and sealed Christian Bale’s fate as a leading man.
This update keeps the story firmly planted in 1860s New England and boasts a cast whose top members have a combined 27 Oscar nominations for acting. Yes, 21 of them belong to Meryl Streep, who plays the domineering Aunt March. Three-time nominee Saorise Ronan reconnects with her “Lady Bird” director on this new telling of the classic story.
Greta Gerwig wrote the script in addition to directing, a feat which made her only the fifth woman ever nominated for Best Director. Choosing this project as her follow up to a Best Picture nomination is intriguing. She focuses the story primarily on the second half of the novel, when the war is over and the March girls are a bit older and wiser. This sounds like a good idea as she will certainly be expected to differentiate her film from the 1994 version in particular.
The biggest question surrounding Gerwig’s “Little Women” is why? With previous very successful adaptations, why is she returning to the trough of Louisa May Alcott? There are dozens of great female authors whose work deserves to be turned into a feature film.
Some were also concerned by the last minute casting change when original eldest sister Meg was supposed to be played by Emma Stone, and was substituted for Emma Watson just before shooting began. Watson has done good work before, but hasn’t graced the silver screen since 2017 with back to back roles that did not win over critics. A misstep in the casting of any March sister could doom the film. Hopefully, Watson’s good indie work will serve her well.
POTENTIAL AWARD CATEGORIES IN PLAY:
- Motion Picture (Denise Di Novi, Arnon Milchan, Amy Pascal, Robin Swicord)
- Director (Greta Gerwig)
- Actress in a Leading Role (Saoirse Ronan)
- Actor in a Supporting Role (Timothée Chalamet)
- Actress in a Supporting Role (Emma Watson, Florence Pugh, Eliza Scanlen, Laura Dern, Meryl Streep)
- Adapted Screenplay (Greta Gerwig)
- Production Design (To be announced)
- Cinematography (Yorick Le Saux)
- Costume Design (Jacqueline Durran)
- Film Editing (To be announced)
- Makeup and Hairstyling (To be announced)
- Original Score (To be announced)
POTENTIAL KEY NOTICES FROM OTHER GROUPS
- Best Performance by a Cast Ensemble (SAG Awards): A cast of notable and beloved women is sure to make the guild take notice.
- Best Motion Picture, Drama (Golden Globes): A story everyone loves with a cast full of stars the HFPA adores.
- Writers Guild of America (Adapted Screenplay): A writer’s writer, Gerwig can become a guild favorite.