Friday, April 19, 2024

Exclusive: Harvey Weinstein, Oscar Expert, Expected “Marriage Story” Would Win Best Picture Because “It Was Short, and Easy to Get”


Now that the Oscars are over, and Harvey Weinstein is cooling his heels, as it were, at Bellevue Hospital, here’s some news of interest.

Harvey thought “Marriage Story” would win Best Picture. He’d seen most of the Oscar nominated films before his trial began, and deemed “Marriage Story” a likely winner because, he told a friend, “it was short and easy to get.”

This was a conversation going on all through December. After all, who’s won more Oscars than Harvey? Best Picture winners included “The English Patient,” “Shakespeare in Love,” “Chicago,” “The King’s Speech,” and “The Artist.” All great films. Plus dozens of nominees, hundreds maybe, and acting winners as well.

Weinstein said that he’d loved “The Irishman” but it was too long and he knew that by watching it at home, the movie had lost steam. Plus, director Martin Scorsese had his Oscar, for “The Departed.” Harvey had tried to get it for him twice, with “Gangs of New York” and “The Aviator.” It just wasn’t meant to be.

Harvey knew Renee Zellweger was a shoo-in. He’d gotten her her first Oscar for “Cold Mountain.” I didn’t get info about Brad Pitt, whose Oscar was won for Quentin Tarantino’s “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.” Weinstein, I was told, loved the film. But maybe it was a sore point, too. Every one of Tarantino’s prior movies had been made with Harvey.

As for “Marriage Story”: it was one of those movies, like the indie hit, “In the Bedroom,” that Harvey could relate to. In the old days, he would have turned Noah Baumbach’s sterling dramedy into a Best Picture, and probably scored a win for Adam Driver as Best Actor. That’s what he excelled at. Everyone hates Weinstein now. But when he was in the driver seat, the Oscars had buzz. There was passion in the air about the movies. This year, it was like hanging laundry out to dry. Whatever died first, won.

Just a note: Weinstein was sentenced over this past weekend. In most previous years, this would have been Oscar weekend. No one realized that. It was if the Oscars had to get out of the way this year.



Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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