Weinstein v Oscars: Lion of Justice

By  · Published on August 30th, 2016

A new trailer hints at a comeback for Harvey in the awards game.

Harvey Weinstein used to be considered the master of movie awards. He arguably invented the modern Oscar campaign, and films he’s been involved with have earned around 300 Academy Award nominations. His name was a given during awards season in the past, but last year he missed out on the Best Picture race for the first time since 2008.

This year, The Weinstein Company has not had the easiest time, to say the least. They’ve been struggling with executive shake-ups, release date changes galore, disappointing box office returns, and mediocre critical reception. And gone from being the King of the Oscars to the distant cousin sometimes invited to the party and allowed to sit at the grown-up table.

Harvey has been in the Oscar game since the 1980s, but it was the mid-2000s when he really hit his stride. In 2003, just before he left Miramax to found TWC, he was involved with four out of the five Best Picture nominees. All throughout that period, he managed to leverage major nods and even wins for films that might have been overlooked, like The Reader, Finding Neverland, and The Hours.

Then, in 2010, he scored huge with a win for The King’s Speech over the critically adored The Social Network. That win harkened back to the competition in 1998 when it was Saving Private Ryan versus Shakespeare in Love, the critics’ choice versus his original big Oscar campaign. Harvey won big again in 2011 with The Artist, though that was a relatively a weaker year.

While he did not win the ultimate prize in 2012, Harvey was still on a winning streak with two films in the Best Picture race, Silver Linings Playbook and Django Unchained, and a Best Actress win for Jennifer Lawrence in the former. The next year the dark times began. Films from his companies (including their boutique label RADiUS-TWC) amassed 11 nominations but zero wins. Then, at the 2014 ceremony, despite many nominations, his companies only won two awards, one of them due to his aggressive campaigning for The Imitation Game.

Early last year, he touted the Jake Gyllenhaal boxing pic Southpaw as his Oscar-bait film du-jour in Cannes. Astonished at Gyllenhaal’s snub for Nightcrawler the previous year, Harvey vowed revenge on the ceremony with a nod for him in Southpaw. Well, turns out the odds were not in his favor because the film turned out to be mediocre and was completely looked over in favor of Carol, which scored six nominations, and The Hateful Eight, which garnered two nominations and the company’s only win of the night.

Coming into this year, his major Oscar players slated were Tulip Fever, The Founder, and Lion. About a week before its release in July, The Weinstein Company pushed the Alicia Vikander and Christoph Waltz led Tulip Fever all the way to February 2017. Many early Oscar predications included this as another potential awards season player for the company, but now Weinstein is left only with The Founder and Lion.

Both films have very Oscar friendly premises and casts, but Harvey seems to have a little more faith in Lion than The Founder, which has had its release date moved three times. He told The Hollywood Reporter last month that he thinks Lion could receive upwards of eight or nine Oscar nominations this year. He is specifically confident in Kidman, whom he called “amazing” in it.

Lion’s November 25th release date Lion has proved to be a lucky one for the company – Carol, The Imitation Game, and The King’s Speech all premiered on that date. The Founder meanwhile is slated for a limited opening on December 16th, with a wider release more than a month later on January 20th. We’ll see if either of these films will prove to be Harvey’s comeback in the Oscar game.

Here’s the new trailer for Lion:

And here’s the trailer for The Founder:

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