Harvey Weinstein says that the 12 nominations nabbed by The King’s Speech on Tuesday, when the Academy Award contenders were announced in Beverly Hills, speak to “the great ensemble work” of the actors, to “Tom Hooper’s masterful direction,” and to a “majestic” story. In a very quick phone interview, the co-head of The Weinstein Company also spoke proudly of Michelle Williams’ best actress nod for Blue Valentine, the TWC release that traces the emotional trajectory of a couple’s relationship. That’s 13 nominations for his little specialty house.
Weinstein expressed frustration that Ryan Gosling, Williams’ co-star, didn’t get a best actor nod. But he acknowledged that “it was a very crowded, competitive field… and I’m just glad that this daring film was recognized. I’m focusing on the positive.”
A couple of years back, many in the media were writing The Weinstein Company off. The new indie distributor, founded by Harvey and his brother Bob after they sold Miramax off to Disney, was in debt, with few hits and some costly diversions in TV, on the web and in publishing.
But the last couple of years, things have turned around. “I do remember last year getting eight nominations, including best picture, for Inglourious Basterds,” Weinstein says, in case anyone’s forgotten. “And I remember the year before getting five for The Reader.”
Inglourious Basterds earned more than $120 million in U.S. box office.
And now, the 83rd Academy Awards, The King’s Speech with the most nominations of any film, and a good shot at the best picture Oscar. Weinstein is feeling good. Maybe even triumphant?
“I don’t use words like triumph. But it’s just nice to be in the thick of the race and it’s nice to have good movies,” he says. “I’m excited about it.”