‘His name is now mud’
Awards odds dim for Weinstein projects
Will Harvey Weinstein’s films get the gold shoulder going forward?
Amid the far more consequential conversations around assault against women in Hollywood, the Oscar race marches on as one of the town’s most powerful film producers finds himself booted out of the awards game he revolutionized.
Weinstein’s ouster following last week’s New York Times report chronicling decades of sexual harassment allegations and even more shocking revelations in Tuesday’s New Yorker article, means the industry will be absent a mogul hat Madonna once nicknamed “The Punisher.”
For films like The Weinstein Company’s acclaimed Wind River (starring Jeremy Renner) and the upcoming The Current War (with Benedict Cumberbatch as Thomas Edison, in theaters Nov. 24), the question remains: What influence will Weinstein’s now-toxic name have on their awards chances?
“There will be a real reluctance on the part of Oscar voters to vote for a Harvey Weinstein production this year,” says Matthew Belloni, editorial director for The Hollywood Reporter, qualifying that it’s possible actors, writers or directors associated with those films still could earn notice.
This awards season looked dim for TWC regardless. Wind River did reasonably well at the box office, but is hardly a slam dunk for nominations. Weinstein said he intended to qualify Kevin Hart’s The Upside for an Oscar run, but Hart has his own troubles after confessing to a “error in judgment” with a woman who is not his wife.
And The Current War premiered at the Toronto Film Festival to what can best be called a tepid reaction.
It’s a stark contrast to a decade ago, when the producer dominated with back-to-back best-picture wins for The King’s Speech and The Artist. Over his career, Weinstein raked in 341 Oscar nominations and 81 wins.
“The scary-sick part of it is, the power he held in Hollywood was because he had an Oscar contender every year and he won a lot of Oscars,” says Sasha Stone of the website AwardsDaily. “That really solidified his power, his influence. And his intimidation.”
“In the past, if Harvey Weinstein’s name was attached to a project, it was a contender,” Stone says. “But his name is now mud.”
On TV, Weinstein’s projects also will move ahead. But there will be one change: His name won’t be in the credits.
It’s a name, many believe, that will remain toxic.
“Harvey is finished in Hollywood,” Belloni says. “This is a person who has made his entire career based on the relationships he has with creative talent. I just don’t see anyone willing to work with him in the future.”
Weinstein is just the latest
Stopping abuse means taking action, not looking away
Of the many horrifying and shocking details in Tuesday’s The New Yorker report that movie mogul Harvey Weinstein allegedly raped, sexually assaulted and sexually harassed more than a dozen women, one that sticks out is a quote from French actress Emma de Caunes, who said Weinstein exposed himself to her in a hotel room in 2010.
“I know that everybody — I mean everybody — in Hollywood knows that it’s happening,” de Caunes said. “He’s not even really hiding. I mean, the way he does it, so many people are involved and see what’s happening. But everyone’s too scared to say anything.”
The magazine’s searing investigation into Weinstein’s alleged sexual predation comes only five days after The New York Times published a meticulous account of three decades of alleged sexual harassment and abuse. The Times published another report Tuesday in which Gwyneth Paltrow and Angelina Jolie accused Weinstein of harassment.
It’s an indictment of Weinstein, who has since been fired from his own company and denounced by dozens of A-list stars and filmmakers who have worked with him. But it’s also an indictment of the Hollywood culture that allowed the abuse to continue for nearly 30 years. “Even in an industry in which sexual harassment has long persisted, Mr. Weinstein stands out,” The Times noted.
Sexual abuse isn’t isolated to Weinstein or the film industry. This happens in every industry, in social circles, in public spaces. Keeping track of just the famous male figures at the center of such allegations is exhausting.
Sexual abuse is systemic, not singular. Stopping it requires men to speak up and stand up to other men. It requires acknowledging that there’s no such thing as “locker room talk.” It requires believing women so it doesn’t take 20 years
for them to feel safe enough to share their experiences.
Much has been said in the past few days of the “whisper networks” by which women communicate to protect themselves, including the one that made at least part of Weinstein’s behavior common knowledge. Some have asked why no woman has spoken on the record about Weinstein’s behavior before now. That’s the wrong question. It’s not the whispers we should be focusing on but the deafening silence of bystanders and enablers. It’s the culture — within and beyond Hollywood — dominated by toxic masculinity that ignored Weinstein’s problematic behavior, that let rumor remain rumor, and that endangers women everywhere if it’s not curtailed.
The film industry is built on a system of sexism: Women made up just 7% of the directors of the
250 top-grossing films domestically in 2016, a lack of parity that’s being investigated by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. A 2016 study found that women made up only
27% of top film critics on Rotten Tomatoes. Hollywood has long ignored women as creative contributors or potential consumers for the movies it makes.
Films are often created to titillate male audiences, exploiting women in the process, from lurid shots of the female stars of the Transformers franchise to films such as Jurassic World that reduce female characters to shrill stereotypes to still others like Taken that subject women to violence to motivate the male hero. This male-centric viewpoint filters down to film fans raised on media that depict or even celebrate misogyny, some of whom gleefully harass women who dare voice opinions on films.
The list of men in Hollywood who have been accused of sexual misconduct, harassment or assault gets longer all the time. Woody Allen. Bill Cosby. Roman Polanski. Casey Affleck and Louis C.K. have been accused of misconduct.
We know Weinstein isn’t the only one, but how many predators are left that we don’t know about? Accusers risk their livelihoods and further harassment by speaking out. Some don’t understand what has happened. Others are told to get used to it, to “be cool” or “take a joke.”
The Onion captured the problem best with its headline “How Could Harvey Weinstein Get Away With This?’ Asks Man Currently Ignoring Sexual Miscon- duct Of 17 Separate Coworkers, Friends, Acquaintances.”
It’s not enough to point at Weinstein as a problem. The bigger challenge is changing this climate, calling out everyday harassment and sexism in Hollywood and the culture at large.
Ignorance is easy. Ignoring gossip, ignoring whispers, ignoring a troll yelling at a woman on Twitter for not liking Blade Runner 2049, that’s simple.
Looking inward is hard. Admitting the problem is bigger than you thought is hard. But if we don’t, we’ll just be in the same place when it’s the next man.
Hollywood is taking a painful look within after stunning allegations of a decades-long culture of sexual abuse by movie mogul Harvey Weinstein.