Harvey Weinstein was a late addition to the official program of the Zurich International Film Festival which kicked off September 26th. He took part in the Masters series – and did not disappoint. He said Saturday that this year’s Oscars race is “the most competitive season I’ve ever seen.” Of course The Weinstein Company is still figuring out what to campaign other than Fruitvale Station and Lee Daniels’ The Butler which have already released and Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom, Stephen Frears’ Philomena, and John Wells’ August: Osage County still to come. According to Screen Daily, Weinstein explained why he decided to postpone Olivier Dahan’s Grace Of Monaco to spring 2014. “The only reason is because it just wasn’t ready… The score wasn’t ready, a lot of things weren’t ready… Also we’ve played no festivals on that movie, so it’s hard to get into an Oscar race without at least some festival exposure.” The studio also pushed back James Gray’s The Immigrant to 2014. Meanwhile, Weinstein admitted that the title battle with Warner Bros over The Butler gave it millions of dollars of free publicity and estimated that 40% of the film’s audience was because of the war. Uncharacteristically, Weinstein praised Oscar-buzzed competition like Steve McQueen’s 12 Years A Slave from Fox Searchlight and called Alcon Entertainment/Warner Bros’ Prisoners “the best film I’ve seen all year – not counting our own films”. Weinstein also confirmed his long-gestating plans to direct Mila 18 adapted from the Leon Uris’ novel about the ghetto uprising in WWII Warsaw. “We will make that movie, sooner rather than later,” he stated and made a joke about his Harvey Scissorhands reputation. “I have so many directors that want to produce that movie, Martin Scorsese said he’d do it but cut the three hours and make it a 10-minute short.”
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