Presenting the two directing prizes on Sunday night’s Tony Awards, Clint Eastwood, who was on the show because he has directed the film version of the Tony winning Broadway musical Jersey Boys (6/20), summed it all up for me. “It seems like producers and directors from the stage and from movies are always looking for good new material, and sometimes they don’t find it. Sometimes they have to take it from one another with The Bridges Of Madison Country (Eastwood starred in and directed the film) or Bullets Over Broadway going to musical plays, and I’m proud to say that we’re bringing Jersey Boys to the movies and that will be after nine successful years on Broadway,” he said in introductory remarks. It was an understatement as most of the evening’s winners, spread among a larger number of shows than usual, have deep ties to Hollywood and that included Bridges which picked up a couple of key Tonys for its composer Jason Robert Brown, despite closing last month. There’s also Rocky (Best Scenic Design of a Musical), Aladdin (Best Featured Actor in a Musical), as well as the two big musical winners of the evening (each with four victories), A Gentlemen’s Guide To Love And Murder (winner of Best Musical and which is derived from the 1949 Alec Guiness film Kind Hearts And Coronets), and …
Tony Awards Show Sings Hollywood’s Praises While Oscar Producers Return The Favor At PGA’s Produced By Conference
Jane Fonda: Hollywood Royalty Gets AFI Life Achievement Award And Follows In Father Henry’s Footsteps
It didn’t take long to bring up the controversial side of Jane Fonda during AFI‘s Lifetime Achievement Award tribute Thursday night. AFI Board Of Trustees Chairman Howard Stringer addressed the elephant in the room almost immediately upon taking the Dolby Theatre stage: “What not a lot of people know is that Jane Fonda attended the very first AFI tribute in 1973 to director John Ford. She didn’t actually make it into the ballroom that night because she was out front picketing. That’s right, she was there to protest the appearance of one of that night’s presenters, Richard Nixon. Jane, what are we going to do with you?” he said to much knowing laughter and applause. A little while later, AFI CEO and President Bob Gazzale picked up on the theme. “Yes, Jane picketed the AFI Life Achievement Awards. But it wasn’t the first time that she’d marched on AFI,” he said. “Some years earlier outside the gates of the AFI conservatory there was a protest led by Jane and another Life Achievement recipient, Shirley MacLaine. They were there to draw attention to the lack of women in roles in the AFI Conservatory and they were right. Their effort led to the establishment of the AFI Directing Workshop for women which this year is celebrating its 40th anniversary. And they also helped to ensure women were admitted to the AFI Conservatory where women have flourished over the years.”
But as it became abundantly clear this evening was much more than about Fonda’s well-known activism. It was about a film career that has brought her two Oscars from seven nominations — that started in 1960 with Tall Story and is still going strong all the way up to next September’s This Is Where I Leave You. Both are from Warner Bros and both show the remarkable career journey this daughter of a very famous star, Henry Fonda, and sister of another twice-nominated actor/writer/producer Peter Fonda, has taken. Among studio heads that included 20th’s Jim Gianopulos, Sony’s Amy Pascal and Michael Lynton and Disney’s Alan Horn, Warners’ Kevin Tsujihara was also there.
EMMYS: With Balloting Set To Start Campaign Hits Fever Pitch – But Is It All Worth It? NBC’s Award “Wizard” Richard Licata Says Yes
Emmy balloting starts Monday and continues through June 20, and you would have to be living under a rock — or somewhere other than Los Angeles or New York — not to be aware that we are in the midst of perhaps the most massive, widespread Emmy campaigning ever. Is it me or has this Emmy season even seemed to eclipse the Oscars in terms of the campaign for the golden statuette, even though there is no evidence that winning an Emmy has anywhere near the financial or prestige value of an Oscar.
There are billboards , bus posters, social media, Q&As, online and print ads galore and it doesn’t stop there. On Friday night, FX is throwing a New Orleans-style feast and concert from Stevie Nicks to accompany an episode screening and Q&A of their miniseries hopeful American Horror Story: Coven. It’s just one of many such events Television Academy members have been invited to this season. And this kind of thing just seems to be proliferating year after year. Perhaps it helps that the TV Academy itself plays ball in this game. The group’s official Emmy Magazine, which goes to all 16,000-plus eligible voters, is chock full of ads both inside and outside. Just to get to the actual magazine itself you have to rip off a Good Wife snipe, get past a glossy four-sided fake cover for Big Bang Theory and other Warner Bros shows, and dispense with an elaborate insert and DVD promoting CBS reality shows. Once you hit the “real” cover which features Fox’s Sleepy Hollow, it actually opens immediately into a massive HBO Emmy campaign ad for True Detective followed by nine more pages of ads before even hitting the table of contents. (Oh, and did we mention Sleepy Hollow itself had a big screening event at Hollywood Forever Cemetery on Monday?)
Of course the Academy Of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences does none of that, but doesn’t prevent campaigning to its members during Oscar season. But, while being even-handed and playing no favorites, the TV Academy does realize some income from all those ads and even hired a new head of ad sales this year, Hollywood trade veteran Rose Einstein (it should be noted Deadline is also chock full of Emmy ads).
Miniseries are coming of age again, at least according to the Television Academy, whose Board of Governors voted this year to once again give it a category of its own. This has been done from time to time depending on the health and general welfare of the miniseries format. For example, in 2011, the TV Academy felt longform television was dying on the vine and that there was just not enough entries to meet its “Rule of 14” (the minimum number of possible contenders needed to trigger a category). The networks were downsizing the form and, outside of the BBC and HBO, there wasn’t a whole lot of interest. But now, minis are exploding again and a new golden age seems to be on the horizon.
With minis roaring back on their own—they are still combined with movies in the acting, writing and directing categories—what will the landscape look like when nominees are announced July 10?
Not a Shoo-In
Going into the competition, many pundits thought it was all wrapped up. HBO—which has had a streak of miniseries winners with John Adams, The Pacific, Band of Brothers and Angels in America—looked as though it had another slam dunk with its eight-part True Detective, starring Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson. It won near-unanimous raves and appeared unbeatable, particularly since, with the mini/movie split, it would not be competing with …
One of the bigger challenges facing the Television Academy’s Emmy Awards the past few years is keeping up with the constantly shifting TV landscape. In fact, in March the organization announced it was dropping the formal name by which it always has been known, Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. The powers that be chose to unload all that “arts and sciences” stuff and even considered dropping “television” altogether until it was decided the word can be used as a brand name to encompass all the delivery systems that are part of modern entertainment. Change is good and the TV Academy has a primetime awards committee working year round to address the latest needs and trends of the medium it represents.
One of the biggest changes this year is that the miniseries/movie category has been split in two, though the mini/movie acting, writing and directing contests will remain combined. It recognizes the renewed interest in the miniseries format thanks to such hits as History’s juggernauts Hatfields & McCoys and The Bible, among many others. “We had a situation where there was a lack of minis and so we had a consolidation. But then the Board (of Governors) decided there would be a split in 2014 since it looks right now like they are solidly back,” says the TV Academy’s senior vp of awards John Leverence, who adds that this year the number of minis well exceeds the TV Academy’s “Rule of 14” (the number required to trigger a category).
The Television Academy, by splitting miniseries and movies for the 2014 contest, has made it easier this year for the made-for-TV movie to compete. Outside of the occasional HBO film, the genre is usually at a disadvantage at the Emmys. Forced to face off directly with the more lavish miniseries form, these two-hour one-offs have had a difficult time holding their own. (Acting, directing and writing categories are still combined for minis/movies). Occasionally a movie comes along that is so irresistible to TV Academy voters that it can’t be ignored. That was the case last year with HBO’s Behind the Candelabra, which swept both Primetime and Creative Arts Emmy ceremonies. In 2011, another HBO telefilm, Game Change, had similar success against the longform monsters, but it has not always been easy to beat the odds.
With those two wins, TV movies are enjoying a bit of a renaissance—at least at HBO, which once again has the 800-pound gorilla in the race with Ryan Murphy’s adaptation of Larry Kramer’s play, The Normal Heart. The time finally seems right for this drama set in the early days of the AIDS crisis. Written 30 years ago and long in development as a feature film and then TV movie, this provocative and moving study about the human and political consequences of the HIV/AIDS outbreak finally found its way in front of the cameras, thanks in large part to Murphy, who promised the 78-year-old Kramer this movie would happen. In the same year that another decades-in-development-hell drama about the early struggle against AIDS, Dallas Buyers Club, won three Academy Awards—including best and supporting actor statuettes—it seems like kismet-style timing for a Normal Heart Emmy run. The fact that the TV movie still remains relevant and timely enhances the chances of a big win, and its backstory of a long and troubled road to the screen will only help it with voters. Kramer’s well-documented journey with the material should make him a frontrunner in the writing category, and Murphy has a good shot in directing. A superb cast also should score major nominations, including Mark Ruffalo for miniseries/movie lead actor, Julia Roberts (as a polio-stricken doctor) in supporting actress, and a plethora of supporting actors, including Jim Parsons, Joe Mantello (both appeared in the 2011 Broadway revival of the play), Taylor Kitsch, Alfred Molina and Matt Bomer, who in particular really socks home the role of The New York Times writer who becomes an early victim of the virus.
As my French fog lifts in the wake of my return from the Cannes Film Festival it’s a good time to look at how it might have impacted the 2014 Oscar race as the calendar turns to June and we have the first big benchmark out of the way. That’s not to say that Cannes is a huge indicator of where this thing will be come Fall when it really heats up, but this is one of the better years I think in terms of Cannes and potential for its ultimate impact on the awards season. Some years are better than others. You might recall in 2011 three films in the official Cannes selection, The Tree Of Life, Midnight In Paris and The Artist all went on to Best Picture nominations with the latter even winning. It’s never too early to speculate.
Sony Pictures Classics (which had Midnight In Paris) certainly seems to think 2014 is going to similarly big so they put out a press release earlier this week touting their triumph on the Cote d’Azur . They held the hot hand this year with a flurry of titles they brought and bought to Croisette. They come out of Cannes very strong with contenders of various stripes across several categories including Best Picture for Foxcatcher and Mr. Turner (with an outside shot for Directors Fortnight entry Whiplash which actually …
It’s all over but the re-runs. The 67th Cannes Film Festival unofficially ended Saturday night with the crowning of Nuri Bilge Ceylan’s endless, but admired, Chekovian epic Winter Sleep being crowned with the coveted Palme d’Or. Because French elections fall on Monday the festival decided to end the key competition a day early and leave Sunday to repeats of movies shown earlier, just as they did on Saturday where fortunately I was able to catch up with Winter Sleep just so I would be prepared for its big victory. At 3 hours and 16 minutes it was easily the longest movie in the competition and still managed to prove, just as the three-hour Blue Is The Warmest Color did last year, that length doesn’t matter when it comes to impressing juries. At the post – press conference Jury President Jane Campion said she was worried initially. “I was scared when I looked at the running time and it said three hours and fifteen minutes. I thought I might need a toilet break. But it had such a beautiful rhythm and it just took me in. Actually I could have sit there for another two hours. It was all very Chekhovian. I could see myself in all of the characters,” she said. Another two hours? Don’t encourage him, Jane. Turkish arthouse fave Ceylan has been coming to Cannes for an ego boost for years and …
Cannes: AMFAR’s 21st Cinema Against Aids Event Brings In Record $35 Million Along with Leo, Bieber, Fonda And An Executive Producer Credit For Sale To Highest Bidder
The wine and the money were flowing at Cinema Against AIDS 21, the annual fundraising event for amFAR timed to the Cannes Film Festival and largely hosted by Harvey Weinstein who announced a record-smashing take of $35 million this year. That’s far and away higher than the astronomical $25 million earned last year. Weinstein told me he was just hoping to make a dollar more than last year, but really had no idea the total could go this big. High rollers from all over Europe made up much of the packed crowd that also included celebrities like Adrien Brody, Adrian Grenier, Carla Bruni Sarkozy, Marion Cotillard, Michelle Rodiguez, Rosario Dawnson, John Travolta, Kelly Preston, Jane Fonda, Justin Bieber, Kellan Lutz, Jessica Chastain and Leonardo DiCaprio. The latter was part of the action as, just like last year, a seat for a trip to space on Virgin Galactic in 2015 with DiCaprio was being auctioned off and actually went for $700,000. Last year two others won the auction, but DiCaprio told me tonight that due to technical problems there has been a 16-month delay in getting it space-bound. He seemed a little nervous about the whole idea but was game to play for the cause. Chief celebrity auctioneer and his The Quick And The Dead co-star Sharon Stone (who ran the auction as usual and took no prisoners in getting cash) effusively praised him for his unstinting support of the event and cause over the years. The lowest item to get a bid were the gloves of Karl Lagerfeld which took only $10,000 despite almost desperate pleas for more from Stone. She was really in her comfort zone in keeping this thing going at a fever clip.
In this week’s podcast, Deadline Awards Columnist Pete Hammond and host David Bloom catch up on the latest from the Cannes Film Festival. They discuss Sophia Loren’s new movie, directed by her son; the critical backlash against Ryan Gosling’s directorial debut; the fine performances by Marion Cotillard and Berenice Bejo that humanize their politically minded latest projects; Steve Carell’s “unrecognizable” performance in Bennett Miller’s fine Foxcatcher; Harvey Weinstein’s 2014 slate of would-be Oscar contenders; and Jeffrey Katzenberg’s commanding honor.
Cannes got a dose of REAL movie star glamour over the past two days when the legendary Sophia Loren came to town for a special screening of her new film, The Human Voice Tuesday night at Salle du Soixantieme and a two hour “Master Class” at the Bunuel on Wednesday afternoon. The film, based on the Jean Cocteau play and basically a one woman show finding her running a gamut of emotions while on the phone, is a 25-minute short directed by son Edoardo Ponti that gives the 79-year-old actress one of her meatiest and most emotional roles in years, a real reminder that once a star, always a star. It preceded a stunning 50th anniversary 4K restoration premiere of 1964′s wonderful Marriage Italian Style, one 14 collaborations with director Vittorio De Sica and co-starring 12-time leading man Marcello Mastroianni. The film brought Loren her second (and last) Best Actress Oscar nomination, and it still holds up today. The audience gave her a 5-minute ovation at the end of the short , and again at the end of the feature, moving her, from my vantage point directly across the aisle, to tears. I asked her how she felt about watching the two performances — performed a half-century apart — and she had one word: …
Cannes: Politics Heats Up Competition Films But It’s Berenice Bejo And Marion Cotillard Who Give Them Humanity
Politics came to the Cannes Film Festival (as it often does) in the form of two major movie debuts in the course of 24 hours.
This morning one of the most-awaited films in the Official Competition unspooled for critics at 8:30 AM, and 2 1/2 hours after its start the verdict appeared to be critically mixed for Oscar winner Michel Hazanavicious’ The Search, first feature film since he won Best Director for his 2011 Best Picture winner The Artist. From my vantage point, his new film works on many levels — most importantly, a human one. There was applause at the end but some noticeable boos and I wouldn’t have been surprised if they came from the Russians. They don’t come off well in this story set in the second Chechen War in 1999 as Russians invade, and a young boy and his new baby brother are separated from their family after his parents are killed. Thus begins an incredible journey — and this film hooked me right in – in this contemporary remake of the post-World War II Fred Zinnemann film The Search (1948), in which a young boy is separated from his parents in a concentration camp and taken in by a caring soldier played by Montgomery Clift (Berenice Bejo has the Clift role this time, a gender change in which she plays a European Union delegation head).
The original Search won a Motion Picture Story Oscar and a special juvenile statuette for its young star, Ivan Jandl. It was also nominated for lead actor, director and screenplay. And deservedly so. Perhaps it is never a good idea to tackle a remake of such an honored film, but in this case using the basic premise to shine a larger light on a forgotten cause seems smart. And the boy’s plight is just one strand here, as there’s also the corresponding story focusing on a tough Russian street kid who is slowly turned into a killing machine when drafted into the army. It’s harrowing stuff to watch, but all of a sudden relevant again, coinciding with another Russian invasion of sorts currently happening in Ukraine.
There was such interest in the first screening for Ryan Gosling‘s directorial debut, Lost River, in the Un Certain Regard section of the Cannes Film Festival that people began lining up Tuesday afternoon much earlier than usual and the Debussy theater was full 15 minutes before showtime for one of the most anticipated films — and directorial debuts — of this year’s lineup in any section. Running at top speed down the Croisette after a Foxcatcher lunch at the Carlton (see below), I raced over there but could only find a fold-out seat in the front row. Worse than that, an equally tardy — and loudly complaining — Un Certain Regard juror almost got tossed out by an overzealous usher until she was saved by two more savvy ushers as the lights were going down and given a seat on the other side of the theater where someone (another juror?) was saving a single spot for her.
But after seeing the film, I don’t think this juror would have had much to worry about in missing this thing even if she were thrown out. I have more than a Certain Regard for Gosling’s talent and smart sensibilities as an actor. He’s easily one of the best and biggest risk takers of his generation. The filmography speaks for itself, including his Oscar-nominated turn in Half-Nelson, the inventive Lars And The Real Girl, Blue Valentine, (the wildly underrated) The Place Beyond The Pines and on and on. As a director, however — well, I guess I still admire him as an actor. Here he seems to be just imitating stuff he’s seen on the screen, not in life.
Cannes: Hollywood Arrives In Force As American Films And Stars Crash The Competition And Stir Awards Buzz
The Hollywood invasion of Cannes began in earnest this weekend and continues big time as the U.S.-set movies get their day in the sun on the Croisette — even as a little rain begins to fall for the first time since this movie smorgasboard got rolling last week. Yesterday, Tommy Lee Jones and Hilary Swank hit the fest with a female-centric Western, The Homesman, that is looking for distribution and should find it with no problem. In fact, I just heard they have had at least three offers and a deal could be imminent. Stay tuned. Despite a mixed bag of reviews (but generally upbeat), there’s awards potential there, believe me (more on that one later).
But leading the pack is tonight’s premiere of Bennett Miller’s long-awaited Foxcatcher, which screened for press at 8:30 AM this morning to a wall-to-wall crowd at the Grand Theatre Lumiere (an overflow screening was quickly set up for those who couldn’t get in at the nearby Salle du Soixantieme). And at the press conference that followed, there were loud “bravos” from some journalists as Miller, stars Steve Carell, Channing Tatum and Mark Ruffalo, along with producers Megan Ellison and Jon Kilik, entered the room. That is not usually the case at these things — at least in my experience with the jaded press corps here. The accolades are well-deserved. This is 3-for-3 in the short filmography of Miller, whose two previous films – Capote and Moneyball – went on to Best Picture Oscar nominations. Foxcatcher will make it a third and continues to give distributor Sony Pictures Classics a very good Cannes outing so far following near universal praise for the first film seen in competition, Mr. Turner (it releases December 19). I’m also predicting some sort of prize here at Cannes when the Jury hands them out on Saturday. Certainly Carell is a solid Best Actor contender here for his mind-blowing , slow-burning and completely unexpected turn as wealthy heir John Du Pont, who in 1988 establishes his own stable of world-class American wrestlers at the mammoth DuPont estate engaging in a twisted relationship with two brothers that ended in murder. Sony Classics had intended to release this film last December and even had set an AFI Fest world premiere in early November, but it was abruptly cancelled when Miller decided he needed more time to shape the film, and SPC had to pull it from their 2013 awards-season plans.
Related: Hot Cannes Teaser: ‘Foxcatcher’
Rounding out a successful Cannes launch of How To Train Your Dragon 2, DreamWorks Animation‘s Jeffrey Katzenberg this morning became a Commander of the Order Of Arts And Letters in a Palais ceremony presided over by French Culture Minister Aurelie Filippetti. Cannes Film Festival programming wizard Thierry Fremaux also attended the ceremony and joined in photos with the pair afterwards. The minister lauded the professional and humanitarian achievements of the DWA chief before he accepted the prestigious honor. “I actually have too much to say here but I won’t make it too long. I have found a second home here in France for 40 years. I have so many things to be grateful for the inspiration and the mentorship for so many things that originate here in France, which in many ways not only is the birthplace of cinema, but also culture. I have been blessed to be a part of the Cannes Film Festival which is the greatest platform and home of prestigious cinema anywhere in the world. To be on that red carpet, to be in that Palais I think is really the greatest honor any filmmaker can have.” Katzenberg also acknowledged retiring President Gilles Jacob and Fremaux, who he said has brought “great artistic vision to the festival. His welcoming of animation well over a decade ago made history.”
He also mentioned his own relationship with the incoming president of the festival, Pierre Lescure , who was also in attendance today. “As the next president of the festival, it only insures many more decades of success,” he said. “To receive this is really a great honor and one that I am greatly appreciative of.”
Cannes: Jeffrey Katzenberg Says MPTF Actively Looking For New ‘Night Before’ Home But Beverly Hills Hotel Employees Being Fully Compensated
At the DreamWorks Animation party Friday night in Cannes celebrating 20 years of DWA movies as well as the World Premiere of How To Train Your Dragon 2, Jeffrey Katzenberg told me he and the Motion Picture & Television Fund are actively looking for a new venue for the Night Before Oscar party in February. The Fund announced on May 5 that they were moving the glitzy, star-studded charity event to a new location after the Sultan Of Brunei (who owns the Dorchester Hotel group. which operates the Bev Hills and Bel Air Hotels) instituted harsh new laws against gays and women in his country and sparked a firestorm of protest in Hollywood, prompting lots of events to flee the property. The action forced the MPTF to pull its party, which Katzenberg, who is Chairman of the MPTF, made famous. Conceived 12 years ago, it has been held every year since on Oscar weekend at the Beverly Hills Hotel to benefit the fund. It has earned multi-millions for the MPTF over the years. “It’s very sad,” Katzenberg said. “The Beverly Hills Hotel has been a part of Hollywood iconography for over 100 years, so to leave is sad but absolutely a must. In this day and age, to have that level of intolerance and prejudice is something that none of us in Hollywood can condone. It’s a shame.” He added that the employees of the hotel – innocent victims of all this — won’t suffer.
Among other things, Cannes this year might as well be called the Jeffrey Katzenberg International Film Festival. He’s had his cast and star dragon from How To Train Your Dragon 2 cruising the Croisette looking for paparazzi — and finding them. He’s had his cast, including new Oscar winner Cate Blanchett, working the press. He’s celebrating in style the 20th anniversary of DreamWorks Animation here with a gala World Premiere screening in a prime Friday night Out Of Competition slot in the Grand Lumiere Theatre, where fest topper Thierry Fremaux broke all precedent at this by-the-book festival and personally introduced the film and its players. DWA threw a big bash at Baoli beach featuring a special exhibit of concept art with more than 100 pieces from the film – and the weather cooperated. Perfect night on the Cote d’Azur. On Saturday at noon at the Palais, Katzenberg will be the recipient of a rare Commander of Arts honor presented by the French Minister Of Culture. And best of all he’s getting tons of worldwide publicity in advance of the June 6 launch of the sequel to one of DWA’s biggest hits, and one I think should be a major Best Animated Feature Oscar contender. It really manages to top the 2010 first film in terms of heart, laughs, action and pure exhilaration. And it won a major ovation at its official screening Friday. On top of all that, Katzenberg’s “date” for Saturday’s Vanity Fair party at Hotel du Cap is Harvey Weinstein. Yes, they are going together. “I told him he will be the missus — Mr. and Mrs. Katzenberg,” he laughed.
Cannes: Weinstein Company Highlights 2014 Slate Including First Extended Footage From ‘Paddington’, ‘Macbeth’ And Tim Burton’s ‘Big Eyes’
Despite the whole Grace Of Monaco controversy that has overwhelmed early coverage of this year’s Cannes Film Festival, The Weinstein Company showed off an impressive slate of their other films tonight. Harvey Weinstein hosted as usual and brought up stars Naomi Watts who co-stars with Bill Murray in the upcoming (and very funny, based on the footage shown) St. Vincent. And also Ryan Reynolds who is co-starring in Woman In Gold, a 2015 title.
He also gave a solo spot to debuting director Ned Benson whose The Disappearance Of Eleanor Rigby premieres in Cannes on Saturday night as a single film. It will be released that way in September after being picked up as “a work in progress” by TWC at last September’s Toronto Film Festival where it was actually shown as two different movies, each from the point of view of one of the main characters played by Jessica Chastain and James McAvoy. All three versions – Him, Her and Them – will be seen in Cannes during the festival, but it’s the new combined and streamlined Them that will get the most commercial play and, in my opinion, real Oscar consideration. In fact, it is one of TWC’s strongest Academy Award prospects and highlights remarkably fine performances across the boar, especially Chastain, McAvoy and William Hurt, and marks the emergence of a real talent in Benson.
Cannes: Harvey Weinstein Defends Actions On Grace Kelly Movie, Says Monaco Royal Family Has A “Legitimate Problem” With The Film
As previously exclusively reported on Deadline, The Weinstein Company had its annual product preview session for press and buyers tonight at the Majestic Hotel, and the packed crowd got first looks at several films including Paddington, Macbeth, Imitation Game, Big Eyes, Suite Francaise, St. Vincent, and the in-production-phase Jake Gyllenhaal boxing film Southpaw. Harvey Weinstein presided over the presentation, but only after the highlights reel ended was there even a mention from him of the controversy over Grace Of Monaco, the movie TWC (which has U.S. distribution rights ) reportedly threatened to back away from if director Olivier Dahan did not make desired changes to his cut. The director’s cut, and the version that opened Cannes to some derision from critics (to say the least), is being released this week in France by Gaumont. Just before its official press conference Wednesday, it was announced that TWC and Dahan had come to an agreement and TWC would be releasing the film after all. Weinstein, in Jordan for a “long-planned” humanitarian mission, missed the opening-night screening and still hasn’t seen the version shown here. At least that’s what he told reporters who cornered him after tonight’s presentation.