POSTED March 2 2012

Harvey Weinstein: From ‘Harvey Scissorhands’ to Culture Hero

The best line of the day comes from Michael Cieply’s post about Harvey Weinstein, movie producer and distributor, who will receive a Legion of Honor ribbon from the French government on Wednesday. “Maurice Chevalier is one thing. Harvey Weinstein, chevalier, is another.”

Weinstein, for anyone who has been Rip van Winkling this awards season, distributed The Artist, named best picture at the Academy Awards. The French-produced black-and-white mostly-silent film has burst the boutons off the vest of France, hence another honor for Weinstein, seasoned Oscar campaigner. The Artist marks his fifth best-picture winner in 15 years. Others include Shakespeare in Love, Chicago and The King’s Speech.

Harvey, as he is known in international movieland, is both a beloved and controversial figure, known in some quarters as “Harvey Scissorhands” for recutting many of the films he distributes. (Michel Hazanavicius, The Artist director, assured me that “Harvey didn’t tough one frame. Other filmmakers, including Martin Scorsese, who made The Gangs of New York with Weinstein, and Julie Taymor, who worked with him on Frida, encountered his interference.) Some have accused Weinstein of  spending so much on an Oscar campaign that he effectively “bought” the statuette.

His Legion d’honneur chevalier (which is not a medal one gets for serving in the French Foreign Legion but rather a sign of official recognition) is not the first foreign honors received by Weinstein. In 2004 he was named CBE, a Commander of the British Empire, for his work on films such as Shakespeare in Love and the Bridget Jones films. So call him Sir Harvey, but know that in France, both Clint Eastwood and Jerry Lewis — who each are Commanders of the Legion of Honor — outrank him.

Your favorite Weinstein-distributed film? I vote for My Left Foot, Good Will Hunting and Shakespeare in Love.



  1. Cindie says:

    Shakespeare in Love, I agree! and Pulp Fiction.

  2. Also:
    My Week with Marilyn
    The Fighter
    The Reader
    Cold Mountain
    Master and Commander
    The Shipping News
    The English Patient
    Pulp Fiction
    True Romance

    And many more gems among the dross

  3. Nice use of “controversial.” Curtis

  4. wwolfe says:

    I loved Gangs of New York. Based on what you wrote about Weinstein cutting it, I don’t know how much he helped the movie and how much he hurt it, but whatever the ratio is, it was a thrilling movie for me.

  5. Brock says:

    Perfect piece of writing, We are viewing back again more often to look for improvements.

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