‘His name is now mud,’ and it taints all
Awards odds dim for any project linked to Weinstein
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.