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Category: Harvey Weinstein

'My Week With Marilyn' could be one of many Weinstein films at Oscars

My_week_w_marilynNow that Harvey Weinstein has rebounded so spectacularly at the Oscars with his best-picture victory for "The King's Speech," he's mounting a major new drive with a broad slate of contenders that includes "My Week With Marilyn," which just nabbed the prestigious designation of being the Centerpiece presentation at the New York Film Festival (Sept. 30–Oct. 16). That's the slot that helped to launch "Precious" into the derby two years ago. It will be screened on Oct. 9 at Alice Tully Hall.

Directed by British helmer Simon Curtis ("Cranford"), "My Week with Marilyn" chronicles the real-life experiences of a lowly film assistant (Eddie Redmayne) who teams up with Marilyn Monroe (Michelle Williams) for a series of whimsical adventures while she shoots "The Prince and the Showgirl" with Laurence Olivier (Kenneth Branagh).

And if this film festival spot does indeed launch "Marilyn" into the awards derby, Weinstein Co. will have its hands full. It's just one of several films in its Oscar arsenal:

"The Artist" –- Jean Dujardin won best actor at the Cannes Film Festival for his portrayal of silent film star George Valentin in this silent film based upon the last flickering days of silent celluloid in Hollywood.

"Coriolanus" –- Ralph Fiennes directs and stars in the Shakespeare classic about a banished hero of Rome who allies with a sworn enemy to take his revenge on the city. Adapted by John Logan ("Gladiator," "The Aviator").

"The Iron Lady" –- Meryl Streep as British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher during the Falklands crisis. Directed by Phyllida Lloyd ("Mamma Mia!").

"W.E." –- A contemporary woman (Abbie Cornish) probes the notorious romance between Britain's Edward VIII (James D'Arcy), who forfeited his throne for love of American divorcee Wallis Simpson (Andrea Riseborough ) during the 1930s. Directed by Madonna. (Yes, that's right –- Madonna.)

-- Tom O'Neil

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Photo: Michelle Williams as Marilyn Monroe in "My Week With Marilyn." Credit: Weinstein Co.


Harvey Weinstein goes for the gold again, buying Meryl Streep-starrer 'The Iron Lady' (Updated)

Merylstreep

This post has been corrected. See the note at the bottom for details.

"The King's Speech's" four Oscars earlier this year have sure put some extra spring in Harvey Weinstein's step. Not to mention some extra cash. For Weinstein has been on a buying spree lately, scooping up Ralph Fiennes' directorial debut "Coriolanus," starring Gerard Butler and Vanessa Redgrave out of Sundance. He then bought the high school football documentary "Undefeated" out of the South-By-Southwest film festival and Lee Hirsch's documentary "The Bully Project," about bullying in America from Tribeca.

But what may be the crown jewel of this latest shopping spree is his recent Cannes acquisition of "The Iron Lady." The film stars Meryl Streep as Margaret Thatcher, Britain's first and only female prime minister. Jim Broadbent co-stars as Thatcher's husband, Denis. The New York distributor plans to release the film by the end of the year and clearly has Oscar in his sights.

The movie, from director Phyllida Lloyd, Streep's collaborator on "Mamma Mia," is still not finished, but Weinstein has seen some assembled footage and says he was "blown away by the performance."

Weinstein has worked with both Streep and Broadbent previously, releasing Streep's "The Hours," which was nominated for nine Oscars and won one, and Broadbent's "Iris," which landed the British actor his only gold statuette. No release date has yet been set, but with this kind of pedigree, an Oscar release is inevitable. 

Perhaps Weinstein can finally get Streep, who has been nominated for 16 Oscars but hasn't won since  1983 for her role in "Sophie's Choice," another gold man for her mantle.

 [For the Record, 2:40 p.m. May 13: An earlier version of this post said Streep's "Sophie's Choice" win was her only Oscar. She has two.]

-- Nicole Sperling

Photo credit: Jay Clendenin / Los Angeles Times 


'Miral' screening tonight to be hosted by Javier Bardem

Miral 

The Weinstein Co. has taken a page out of last year's popular Oscar campaign strategy wherein a prominent actor/actress hosts a screening of a friend's film. Both Julia Roberts and Sean Penn did so for Javier Bardem's Oscar contender "Biutiful." And now Oscar nominee Bardem is playing host Tuesday evening for his friend Julian Schnabel, and his new film, "Miral." Schnabel directed Bardem in "Before Night Falls," which earned the Spanish actor his first Academy Award nomination.

The film, starring Freida Pinto as the titular character, centers on a young Palestinian woman growing up during the intifada, and depicts the complex relationship with her Israeli neighbors. Hosting the screening suggests that Bardem is endorsing the film, and he will be participating in a post-screening reception with Schnabel. There won't, however, be a question-and-answer session such as those that were so popular during awards season.

Distributor Harvey Weinstein has marketed this film masterfully since acquiring it last June prior to the film's worldwide debut at the Venice Film Festival. The company has said it was Schnabel's decision to woo the United Nations into hosting the film's U.S. premiere, but Weinstein had to know how effective such a decision would be. The controversial film, which many Jewish organizations find offensive for its negative portrayal of Israelis, garnered a slew of publicity thanks to the screening last week at the U.N. (A handful of Jewish organizations, such as the American Jewish Committee and the Anti-Defamation League, came out against the U.N.'s decision to screen the film in the General Assembly hall. A couple of other groups, including Jewish Voice for Peace and American Jews for a Just Peace, supported the film.) Now it should gain even more attention from Bardem's endorsement.

The movie, which has received middling reviews from the festival circuit, bows Friday in limited release. It will be interesting to see if the additional attention placed on the movie translates to a stronger box-office performance.

-- Nicole Sperling

Photo: Freida Pinto and Omar Metwally in "Miral." Credit: Jose Haro / The Weinstein Co.


Harvey Weinstein, still the happy Oscar warrior: 'We didn't admit defeat'

Harvey"We never stopped!" Harvey Weinstein confessed to Piers Morgan on CNN on Tuesday night about his awards campaign for "The King's Speech."

"We didn't admit defeat. We were defeated, but we just kept going. We worked hard, nose to grindstone -– tenacity."

The defeat that fired Weinstein's drive was losing the best motion picture drama award at the Golden Globes. At that point, "The Social Network" had won all of the early film critics' awards, so its triumph at the Globes made it look unstoppable while heading toward the Oscars next. But Weinstein and his ace awards campaigner, Lisa Taback, never -– amazingly -- lost faith.

"I think losing the Golden Globe for best picture was, for me, feeling that was something we could win," Weinstein told Morgan. "Instead of making me quit, it motivated me the complete opposite way and at that point I said, 'However many hours there are in a day, I'm gonna expand the amount!'

"There's only one thing you can do," he added. "You've got to get people to see your movie. You've got to create an atmosphere where people can appreciate your movie. To us, it was the timelessness of the movie. A lot of people said this movie or that movie is more younger, hipper, cooler, socially relevant. You have to say, 'The timelessness, a classic movie, conquers all' and that was what we wanted to get across."

When "The King's Speech" won best picture, "I was elated, just absolutely jumping for joy," he said. "It was an amazing experience. It was fantastic."

The victory was especially exciting for him because it marked Weinstein's first best picture win since he broke from his old Miramax and Disney partners with whom he had three previous triumphs: "Chicago," "Shakespeare in Love" and "The English Patient."

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-- Tom O'Neil

Photo: Piers Morgan, left, and Harvey Weinstein. Credit: CNN

 


Around the awards track: Oscar for Meryl as Maggie? | Harvey's comeback | Academy Awards app is out

Meryl Streep Maggie Thatcher

● Oscar's "2011 Best Actress race is all but settled," declares Jeffrey Wells upon hearing the news that Meryl Streep is now filming the role of Britain's former Prime Minister Maggie Thatcher in "The Iron Lady." "Look at her!" he adds pointing to her photo. "And imagine her Margaret Thatcher accent .... are you kidding? With Academy members being the suckers they are and always will be for lofty-realm British drama?" Wells notes that there is "a slight complication" from the fact that Streep is also tackling "a sure-to-be-knockout performance as the chain-smoking Violet Weston in John Wells' film version of 'August: Osage County,' which the great Harvey Weinstein is distributing." The role earned Deanna Dunagan a Tony Award for the Broadway production in 2008. HOLLYWOOD-ELSEWHERE

● While Oscar pundits paid too much attention to "The Social Network's" winning the film critics' awards early this derby season, Weinstein was hard at work behind the scenes setting up a late ambush by "The King's Speech." If he nabs the top category, it'll be Harvey's first best picture victory since splitting with Disney and Miramax. Delve into the whole back story in "How Harvey Got His Groove Back." VANITY FAIR

● The Screen Actors Guild Awards took place less than two weeks ago and already the date of next year's show has been announced: Sunday, Jan. 29, 2012. SAG AWARDS

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● iPad, iPhone and iPod users can now download the official Oscars app that connects users to a nominees' list, trailers for the top-nominated films and an interactive ballot to predict winners. ITUNES

Caryn James decries the results of the Evening Standard Awards bestowed by a London newspaper with a better reputation for doling out theater prizes than film honors. She says it's "loopy" that Oscar snubbee Andrew Garfield should be voted best actor for his roles in "Never Let Me Go" and "The Social Network" over Oscar front-runner Colin Firth ("The King's Speech"). "It's hard to believe that these awards, determined by a jury of British critics, mean anything when the best actress prize was an even wackier choice. Kristin Scott Thomas was named best actress for 'Leaving,' a ludicrous French film." INDIEWIRE

-- Tom O'Neil

Top photo: Meryl Streep (Pathe)

Bottom photo: Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences 


Oscar nominations: Harvey Weinstein's not relaxing yet

Weinstein 
Harvey Weinstein is certainly sitting pretty with his 12 Oscar nominations for "The King's Speech." But that doesn't mean he's sitting out the rest of the season.

What does he think of the horse race now? “I have no idea.”

Is there still work ahead of him? Most certainly. “I do not believe that of the 6,000-plus Oscar members that everybody saw the movie. We have to get them all to see the movie.”

And why is this film doing so well with both moviegoers and Oscar voters?

“It’s a simple thing. The reason the movie got that many nominations is a tribute to this cast. Our actors are our special effects on this movie.”

-- Rebecca Keegan

Photo: Harvey Weinstein. Credit: Associated Press

 

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