Marvel's Kevin Feige on Awards Season: "It Doesn’t Mean Everything"

THR 100 List 2017 - Kevin Feige -Getty-H 2017
Frazer Harrison/Getty Images
"I would much rather be in a room full of engaged fans," said the Marvel head at the Produced By conference.

The success of Black Panther, which currently sits at 97 percent on Rotten Tomatoes and has raked in $1.3 billion at the global box office, has some already looking toward awards season.

Superhero films have notoriously been overlooked at awards shows, especially in the best picture Oscar category.

“Maybe it’s easy to dismiss VFX or flying people or spaceships or billion-dollar grosses," said Marvel head Kevin Feige of superhero tentpoles' track record for awards. "I think it is easy to say that you have already been awarded in a certain way."

Feige, who was on hand for the PGA's 2018 Produced By conference, which is taking place this weekend on the Paramount lot, said awards recognition for Black Panther was never the end goal.

"Hitchcock never won [a best director Oscar], so it’s very nice, but it doesn’t mean everything," he said. "I would much rather be in a room full of engaged fans.”

The conversation with Feige was sponsored by Pinewood Atlanta Studios, where many of the Marvel movies film. The superhero studio's latest release, Infinity Waris currently on track to cross $2 billion at the global box office.

Feige said that the studio had been planning a movie where the Avengers lost at the end for years, but "in the final day before the release of the film, I was like, 'Uh oh.'" He was worried about a fan mutiny in response to the cataclysmic end of the movie, but was pleasantly surprised by reactions on its first weekend. "The best response to it is, 'I hated it, but I loved it,'" he said.

During the wide-reaching conversation, Feige recounted his entire career trajectory from USC film school to interning with Richard Donner to the first Iron Man movie and wrapping up the second Infinity War, which just recently began postproduction. 

Feige noted that Marvel is entering into its third phase of productions in its cinematic universe. But 20th Century Fox's impending acquisition by Disney could mean big things for Feige's studio, which would allow for the combining of the MCU with Fox properties like X-Men, Deadpool and Fantastic Four

"What ends up happening with that, you know, I just sit waiting for a call saying, 'Yay' or 'Nay,'" Feige said of the merger. “Yes, of course, it would be nice to have access to that entire library,” he said, dodging the question as to whether he has started to plot possible universe additions with Fox’s Marvel IP.

Marvel, which will next release Ant-Man and the Wasp in July, is currently in production on Captain Marvel, the studio's first female-fronted stand-alone in its decade’s worth of productions that will be helmed by a male-female directing team. 

On the heels of the massive success of DC's Wonder Woman, a spotlight has been shone on women working both in front of and behind the camera in the predominantly male-dominated superhero genre.

Feige said that Marvel always promotes from within for its various producer positions, noting, "There are more women on the track to come up at Marvel studios than men."