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