‘His name is now mud,’ and it taints all

Awards odds dim for any pro­ject linked to We­in­stein

USA TODAY International Edition - - LIFE - An­drea Man­dell and Bryan Alexan­der USA TO­DAY

Will Har­vey LOS AN­GE­LES 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 abrupt 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 so no­to­ri­ous for his tac­tics that Madonna once nick­named him “The Pu­n­isher.”

For films like The We­in­stein Com­pany’s ac­claimed sum­mer re­lease 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 and earned crit­i­cal praise, but the who­dunit 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 run into his own trou­bles after con­fess­ing to a “er­ror in judg­ment” with a woman who is not his preg­nant wife.

And The Cur­rent War pre­miered at the Toronto Film Fes­ti­val to what can best be called tepid re­ac­tion, with Indie-Wire call­ing it “a mess.”

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. Be­tween his years with Mi­ra­max and his time at TWC, We­in­stein raked in 341 Os­car nom­i­na­tions and 81 wins, mem­o­rably guid­ing Shake­speare

in Love to a stun­ning best-pic­ture vic­tory in 1999 over Steven Spiel­berg’s Sav­ing Pri­vate Ryan.

“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 Awards Daily. “That re­ally so­lid­i­fied his power, his in­flu­ence. And his in­tim­i­da­tion.” Last year, his adop­tion drama

Lion scored a best-pic­ture nom­i­na­tion (it lost to Moon­light). But de­spite hold­ing some of the glitzi­est bashes, We­in­stein has seen his in­flu­ence wane in re­cent years.

“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.”

The We­in­stein Com­pany now plans to re­brand. It’ll have that chance with more com­mer­cial fare, in­clud­ing up­com­ing films like Po­laroid (out Nov. 22), Padding­ton 2 (Jan. 12) and Mary Mag­da­lene, star­ring Joaquin Phoenix and Rooney Mara, which has been pushed to March 2018.

On the small screen, We­in­stein’s projects also will move ahead. But there will be one change: Au­di­ences won’t see his name 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.”


Hol­ly­wood is fu­ri­ously try­ing to scrub Har­vey We­in­stein’s name wher­ever it can.

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