The best picture Oscar race broke in three different directions last weekend — the top honor at the SAG Awards went to American Hustle and at the PGA Awards went, in a tie, to 12 Years a Slave and Gravity. So you can bet that the possibility of three of the top contenders splitting the vote sounded like a call to action for Harvey Weinstein.
Posts Tagged ‘Harvey Weinstein’
By Mark Pinkert
Studios and actors have campaigned for Oscars in the past, but never as fervently and persistently as they do these days. Competition is the new norm, and it’s mostly credited to Harvey Weinstein, who politicized Oscar season in the 1990s while working as the head of Miramax Films. Weinstein was rumored to have used coercion, subterfuge, and even bribery to get his films into Oscar contention–the verity of these rumors is debatable; what is known, though, is that he spent exorbitant amounts of money and was somehow able to will Shakespeare in Love, for instance, past Life is Beautiful and Saving Private Ryanin the 1998 Best Picture race.
In order to stay competitive, other distributors had to follow suit and, as a result, Oscar season has become an expensive festival of cocktail parties, dinners, screenings, honorary awards, ad campaigns, and the like. “Buzz” is the word, and it even seems that less emphasis has been placed on the work between “action” and “cut.” This is true for actors especially, who are commissioned by studios to travel the country and serve as the primary promoters of the film.
By Joey Magidson
Each year, Oscar voters reward several previously unrecognized talents with their first Academy Award nominations. But they have a habit of filling many if not most of their 20 acting slots with people whom they have previously been nominated. (If you happen to have already won an Oscar? Well, then you are sitting even prettier.)
Why is this the case? That’s probably a question for a psychologist, although my own guess would be that voters are more inclined to check out the work of — and reward — work by quantities who are known and established than who are not.
Regardless, there are, as usual, plenty of previous nominees and winners — actors, actresses, directors, writers, and various behind-the-scenes talent — angling this year to be a part of the Oscar race once again. I have decided to highlight the 10 whom I believe have the best shot at scoring that desired recognition.
By Joey Magidson
For a filmmaker, it’s rare to make a real impact with your debut feature. Most of the time, you begin your career with a calling-card movie or a work that doesn’t fully express your true talent. There are, however, certain instances when a director is able to wow audiences and leave his or her mark on the film world right from the get-go.
This year, we’ve seen Benh Zeitlin make his debut with a film that many absolutely love in Beasts of the Southern Wild. Zeitlin’s freshman feature has been mentioned as one of the top debuts by a filmmaker in some time, so that got me thinking: What are the 10 best of all time?
Of course, there’s some level of subjectivity to this kind of a list. If I were strictly going off of my personal favorite debuts, people such as Judd Apatow, Darren Aronofsky, Mel Brooks and Kevin Smith would be high up on my own Top 10. For the purposes of this list, though, I’m putting as much of my individual preference aside as possible. Below you’ll find 10 of the great directorial debuts of all time.
By Joey Magidson
Like everyone else, I was shocked and saddened by the tragic school shooting this past Friday in Newtown, Connecticut. The thought of little kids and their teachers being targeted is just sickening. The event even moved President Obama to tears.
There are two things that deserve the blame, above all else, for this and any other massacre like it: the gunman and his guns. But, seeing as we focus on Hollywood on this site, I think that we should be honest and acknowledge that the entertainment industry probably isn’t helping matters.
For me, the shooting in the Connecticut elementary school brought back memories of the mass shooting in a movie theater — another place in which we always presumed we were safe — in Aurora, Colo. on the July night earlier this year on which The Dark Knight Rises opened.
It was only a few months ago, but in the aftermath of that tragedy many in show business accepted that their glamourization of violence might he partially to blame for making a deranged guy want to dress up like The Joker and shoot up a movie theater. Movie mogul Harvey Weinstein, who had nothing to do with that particular film, even called for a summit on violence in movies. But as the news faded from the headlines, and therefore the public’s consciousness, so too did the motivation and willpower to do anything about it.
(It’s a sad irony that the most violent film of this holiday season is none other than The Weinstein Co.’s Django Unchained.)
By Scott Feinberg and Gregg Kilday
The Hollywood Reporter
This story first appeared in the Sept. 21 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine.
Sometimes you win by losing. That, at least, was the tactic The Weinstein Co. used when The Master, one of its major fall awards competitors, failed to snare the Venice Film Festival’s top prize. Sure, the jury honored Paul Thomas Anderson as best director for his Scientology-based character study about a rootless man (Joaquin Phoenix) and the charismatic leader (Philip Seymour Hoffman) who takes control of his life. But, as if the applause that greeted Master at the Toronto International Film Festival were echoing across the Atlantic, Venice jury president Michael Mann sounded almost apologetic as he explained that festival rules prevented him from crowning the film with both a Golden Lion and a shared acting prize for the movie’s stars. “No, no, it’s great. We think it’s better,” insisted TWC co-chief Harvey Weinstein as he faced down the Toronto media. “I’m thrilled with whatever they hand over.”
After a recent plea to the MPAA by Alex Libby, the teen subject of the controversial doc Bully, and The Weinstein Company (TWC) co-chairman Harvey Weinstein failed – by one vote – to get the film its deserved PG-13 rating, TWC is choosing to move forward with releasing the film unrated by the MPAA on March 30.
Last night, thanks to a very kind gesture on the part of my editor, I was able to realize a lifelong dream and sit in the audience at the Academy Awards. I covered the Oscars from the backstage press room three years ago, which was a thrill in and of itself, but, as someone who has spent a huge chunk of my life researching, writing, and talking about the Oscars, you can imagine how much more excited I was to have the chance to watch the ceremony unfold with my own two eyes. And, I’m pleased to report, the experience did not disappoint.
Before we put the Academy Awards to bed, I wanted to repost our interviews with the cast and crew of “The Artist,” last night’s winner for Best Picture.
Over the course of the lengthy (lengthy) awards marathon, I was lucky enough to interview Best Director winner Michel Hazanavicius, Best Actor winner Jean Dujardin, Best Supporting Actress nominee Berenice Bejo, and Oscar czar Harvey Weinstein. All had a very successful evening last night at the Oscars, and most talk about the ceremony during our conversations.
You can’t have more than one ‘f-word’ in your movie and still get a PG-13. There have been a few exceptions over the years, but generally it’s one ‘f-word’ in a non-sexual context. Anymore than that, and its an automatic R-rating. We can debate the morality/practicality of that specific rule. Hell, I’d probably agree with you that it’s a silly arbitrary requirement, especially considering the sort of violent content that ends up in PG-13 movies. But at the end of the day, it’s one of the MPAA’s few ironclad rules. Thus I have little sympathy when Weinstein films keep trying to skirt that ‘one rule’ and still get their PG-13.