Harvey Weinstein wrote a piece for The Hollywood Reporter that was published yesterday about award season, specifically about his concerns about award season and how the only films considered are the ones that are released in the fall, ignoring quality features that opened earlier in the year. After complimenting other performances under other studios, Harvey specifically advocated for two of his own films, arguing that Helen Mirren in Woman In Gold and Jake Gyllenhaal in Southpaw should be part of the award contender conversations, which they’re not.
Am curious to know what other industry players think of Harvey’s light whinging. Because it’s not like he hasn’t benefitted more from the award season system than he has been disadvantaged by it. Here, though, he’s speaking as an ambassador of quality films, a champion of underappreciated work and creativity, preferring to put on that particular hat instead of the one he usually wears this time of year – the one that’s made him, perhaps, the most formidable awards strategist and manipulator in a town fueled by strategy and manipulation.
Consider The Weinstein Company’s decision to campaign Rooney Mara’s performance in Carol in the Best Supporting Actress category, not because she’s actually in a supporting role, but because they want to position both Rooney and Cate Blanchett in the most favourable spots. As you know, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, governing the Golden Globes, ignored Weinstein’s category shenanigans, submitting Rooney for Best Actress, although it’s not yet known how the Academy will proceed when it comes to Oscars. Here’s how Harvey explains it:
“I know there’s been controversy about Rooney Mara competing in the best supporting actress category for Carol. We, as a company, went back and forth and concluded, at the end of the day, that it was the right decision. That said, we produced a movie called The Reader, for which Kate Winslet was campaigned as a supporting actress but was nominated for and won best actress, so we know as well as anyone that you never know what will happen. But, as far as decision-making goes, we decided, for the good of the movie, that we had to play as a team with this one.”
The Best Actress field is already quite tight. Saoirse Ronan and Brie Larson are currently sharing the lead. Jennifer Lawrence is surging though. And Cate Blanchett’s practically a guarantee for a nomination whenever she does anything these days. I’m not sure the Academy will be able to resist either Charlotte Rampling or Helen Mirren in Truth. There’s also Alicia Vikander. So, you know, there’s really not that much room.
As for Jake Gyllenhaal…
He was terrific in Southpaw. But Southpaw was not a terrific movie. Michael B Jordan? Outstanding in Creed. And Creed is an outstanding movie. If Jake’s nominated (probably won’t be) he’d represent the only nomination for his film where if MBJ is nominated, he’d likely not be the only standout for Creed. Nominations, as you know, often come in clumps. Harvey declared very, very early that he’d be campaigning for Jake for Best Actor because he believes so much in his performance. I’m sure he was sincere but I also think it was partly a sales pitch. When you tell people, “He deserves an Oscar for what he’s doing in this movie”, it makes people want to see the movie. Harvey knows the pattern though. He knows enough to look ahead and consider what his horse might be up against in a few months. He could not have missed that Leonardo DiCaprio would be coming hard (WHO COULD POSSIBLY HAVE MISSED THAT???). He would definitely have forecast Michael Fassbender in Steve Jobs. He 100% would have had his eye on Eddie Redmayne. He definitely should have seen it from Johnny Depp. And if he overlooked the possibility of Matt Damon or Michael Caine or Michael B Jordan or any of the others in the mix, is that really on the game, or is it on the player?
Click here to read Harvey’s column.
Attached - Rooney Mara at a screening and VIP reception for Carol last night in London.