The Big Picture

Patrick Goldstein and James Rainey
on entertainment and media

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Who's Hollywood's No. 1 gunslinger?

February 10, 2009 | 10:50 am

Harvey_5If I had a dollar for every time someone whispered to me that Harvey Weinstein was somehow the person behind all the sudden spurt of backlash stories about "Slumdog Millionaire" and its alleged involvement with exploitation of child actors--a charge, by the way, that remains completely unsubstantiated--I'd be taking all that dough and doing something worthwhile with it. Like giving it to Steven Spielberg so he can finally put together a DreamWorks film slate. Or maybe helping Alex Rodriguez pay his crisis management publicity bills.

If anyone asked me, I'd argue that Weinstein is innocent--I think there's a far more likely source for this year's Oscar chicanery (but more on that later...). As it turns out, Harvey is perfectly capable of defending himself. When asked  the other day if he was guilty of badmouthing the Oscar front-runner, Harvey offered this slyly coy denial: "What can I say?" he told Entertainment Weekly for one of their endless Oscar stories. "When you're Billy the Kid and people around you die of natural causes, everyone thinks you shot them." 

Photo of Harvey Weinstein by Jason Decrow / Associated Press