It’s starting to get serious. This wild ride of an awards season may not be predictable, according to conventional wisdom. But in the end the winner of the Producer Guild’s Best Picture award Saturday night was completely predictable in my opinion. After all, Warner Bros’ Argo features a key role for a Hollywood movie producer who rises to the occasion and helps make a difference in the world, winning the hearts and minds of a group of producers. Imagine that. This is the first guild to weigh in so we have a tentative frontrunner in Argo now for the Academy Awards’ Best Picture. Had producer/director/star Ben Affleck not been snubbed for a Best Director Oscar, the word “tentative” wouldn’t even be used. When I talked to Affleck in the Beverly Hilton ballroom moments after his picture won, he still seemed to be reeling from the roller coaster ride he’s been on, but clearly happy. (Co-producer Grant Heslov suggested they should call their fellow producer George Clooney in Berlin and tell him the good news.) “When I didn’t get the Best Director nomination after everybody told me I would, I was depressed. But then that same day I won at Critics Choice which was really torturous because everyone kept asking me all night how I felt,” Affleck told me. “Then we win at the Globes.” Argo was also named the year’s Best Picture at the Critics Choice Movie Awards. And today it was also recipient of the Golden Tomato as Rotten Tomatoes’ winner for ‘Best Reviewed Film In Wide Release’ with a 96% positive score. And now it has the PGA under its belt.
It was a fun show marked by some terrific speeches, especially from Norman Lear Achievement In Television winner J.J. Abrams and The Weinstein brothers Harvey and Bob who received the guild’s prestigious Milestone Award. The new “p.g.a. mark” on film productions was a source of talk and pride – but the PGA’s “mark” on this awards season could be just as significant. This Guild is an Oscar bellwether that has predicted accurately the last 5 straight years and in 2009 sent The Hurt Locker and in 2010 The King’s Speech on their way to eventual Best Picture Oscar triumphs. Or is this a year when the Guilds may not matter as much? The race does not yet appear out of reach for competitors like The Weinstein Company’s Silver Linings Playbook, Fox’s Life Of Pi, or DreamWorks’ Lincoln. The latter may be feeling a severe case of frontrunner-itis after many pundits had made it the favorite – thus setting it up to fail. It has yet to score a major precursor victory. And, outside of a sure-thing Best Actor win for Daniel Day-Lewis at tomorrow’s next big acid test, the SAG Awards, it is facing an uphill climb to prevail there for Ensemble Cast which is more likely to go to Silver Linings or Les Miserables or Argo with a cast of about 130 parts. Both Silver Linings and Les Mis in particular have been strongly emphasizing their “ensemble” attributes in advertising during the SAG voting period.
An Oscar strategist for another film immediately emailed me in a bit of a panic after the PGA’s Argo win and wrote, “Oh no. Now what?” Actually with a year as fractured as this has been, and with a full month to go before the Oscar telecast, the race may still have a few more surprises in store. At this morning’s lively PGA producers panel at the Landmark Theatre, I talked to a couple of Academy members who said they expected Argo to win PGA but Lincoln to prevail at the Oscars. Of course, that could still happen even though Lincoln’s momentum has slowed. But Oscar often has his own ideas. And, although not unprecedented, a film whose nomination count is consideraby less than the leaders generally cannot be considered the favorite. Lincoln, leading with 12, Life Of Pi with 11, and Silver Linings and Les Mis with 8 apiece, all beat Argo’s 7. And Argo doesn’t have a directing nomination: no film has won Best Picture without a Best Director nomination since Driving Miss Daisy 23 years ago – and that was an abberation even then.
But something’s in the air. Argo could be emerging as a kind of consensus choice in a year of outstanding films, a beneficiary of a severely split vote. It is significant that the PGA uses the same preferential vote counting system as the Academy so there is a high level of correlation between the two groups. Assuming it comes up short at SAG, Argo will be tested next Saturday when Ben Affleck is up for a DGA award. A win there could set up a very interesting Oscar night. A surprise win for Kathryn Bigelow for Zero Dark Thirty (which is also in the Best Pic mix and could still be a factor due to strong boxoffice response and continued off-the-entertainment-pages publicity such as Bigelow’s Time cover) or Tom Hooper would do the same thing. Weird year. DGA ballots aren’t due back until Friday so how this PGA victory affects that vote is anyone’s guess at this point.
UPDATE, 4:33 PM : Dimension Films acquired the rights for The Man From Nowhere from CJ Entertainment. The deal was negotiated by Ted Kim for CJ Entertainment; Andrew … Read More »
Back by popular demand, Harvey and Bob Weinstein and Ben Silverman will be hosting a big A-list party at the Stein Eriksen Lodge in Deer Valley tomorrow to watch the NFC Championship Game between the New York Giants and the … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Robert Katz is about to begin discussions to exit as president of Dimension Films, a job that is proving tough to fill for the long term. Katz, a well regarded exec who had been Film Department’s president of production … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Cynthia Swartz, who became a partner at PR powerhouse 42West six months after Leslee Dart exited PMK to form her own company in late 2004, is negotiating her exit. Swartz, who spent 13 years working for Harvey and Bob … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: David Cronenberg’s science-fiction horror classic Scanners may be headed to the small screen. The Weinstein Co.’s Dimension Films is developing a drama series adaptation of the movies about a group of people with telepathic and telekinetic abilities, with The … Read More »
Dimension Films exec veep of production Matthew Stein is becoming a nonexclusive producer for the company after 12 years as an exec there. Stein had been exec veep. This comes shortly after Brad Luff left the production president post of Dimension. Bob Weinstein will have a new executive in … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Dimension Films has acquired rights to the French-language horror film Livid, a move that reteams Bob Weinstein’s company with directors Julien Maury and Alexandre Bustillo, who helmed the horror thriller Inside that Dimension released back in 2008. The latest … Read More »
No decision yet on the merits of either side’s legal argument. But Relativity Media prevailed over The Weinstein Company in court today, according to Relativity’s legal representation. “The Court agreed with Relativity that TWC’s lawsuit against Relativity was improper … Read More »
Dimension’s president of production Brad Luff has left the company. He’d been appointed last October after leaving his job as senior vice president of the Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions Group last fall to manage the development slate for Bob Weinstein’s genre label. Sounds like it wasn’t a good fit. … Read More »
In the first of what will be multiple co-productions between The Weinstein Company and Miramax on sequels of films that the Weinsteins produced at their old haunt, Dimension Films and Miramax are teaming on the production of The Amityville Horror: The Lost Tapes. The film is based on a script by Casey La Scala and Daniel Farrands, who will direct a film that will shoot this summer for release Jan. 27, 2012. The deal was announced today by TWC co-chairman Bob Weinstein and Miramax CEO Mike Lang. Read More »
Miramax Films chief Mike Lang came into Cannes determined to dispel the notion that his backers handed $660 million over to Disney simply to manage a film library. Lang met me at the Majestic Friday alongside Rob Lowe, the … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE… UPDATE with Relativity reaction below): My day was just made. Right now, there’s a lawsuit being carried to the courtroom clerk in Los Angeles filed by one of the most controversial indie movie moguls against still another most controversial indie movie mogul. Don’t you just love when this happens? Bert Fields is repping Harvey and Bob’s The Weinstein Co against Ryan Kavanaugh’s Relativity Media seeking injunctive relief and claiming there’s “a written contract signed by everybody” which gives the Weinsteins exclusive worldwide distribution rights on The Crow reboot. The original was distributed by the Weinsteins at Miramax back in 1994 and grossed $50.6M domestic. The Weinsteins and Kavanaugh went back and forth on “a number of issues” before the lawsuit was filed this afternoon. “Mr. Kavanaugh was not going to honor that contract. Apparently, he’s going to sell these rights to others. He made a bunch of threats,” Fields tells me. “Some people may submit to that kind of arrogant conduct, but we’re not going to do it. If anybody tries to buy these distribution rights in The Crow, they are buying nothing but a lawsuit and they will get sued.” (The photo above is from Ryan and Harv in happier days…)
Needless to say, Relativity Media really laid into the Weinsteins in this reaction statement:
“This is yet another typical litigation stunt from the Weinsteins who have a long history of threatening law suits with the sole purpose of intimidation. If served, Relativity will seek immediate dismissal. While we expect these types of antics from the Weinsteins, we are shocked that a lawyer of Mr. Fields’ caliber would make such false, reckless and intentionally harmful statements to the press about Relativity and Mr. Kavanaugh. We intend to seek appropriate remedies for this misconduct. Clearly this is a feeble attempt to create a press stir and a malicious effort to interfere with Relativity’s development of the project.”
When I asked Fields why Kavanaugh Read More »
UPDATE: The Weinstein Company has confirmed Deadline’s scoop on Erik Lomis. His hiring gives the company a strong distribution executive who was rusting at MGM. (Release is below)
EXCKUSIVE, 12:20 PM: The Weinstein Company is closing a deal with Erik Lomis … Read More »
Protocol Pictures partners Tony Leech and Brian Inerfeld filed a 60-page legal claim today against The Weinstein Company in New York State Supreme Court. The $50 million suit is over their removal from the animated film Escape From Planet Earth, … Read More »
UPDATE: I’m told that WME client Trevor Caewood is directing Apollo 18, and that 3 Arts/CAA client Brian Miller wrote the script. So Timur Bekmambetov is producing only.
EXCLUSIVE: … Read More »
Reaching into their past to (hopefully) repeat some of their glory, Harvey and Bob Weinstein have tapped a familiar face to be The Weinstein Company’s president of production. Donna Gigliotti was was an executive at Miramax from 1993-1996. She was also one of the Oscar-winning producers on Miramax’s Shakespeare In Love back in 1998 and received an Oscar nomination for TWC’s The Reader in 2008.
New York, NY (October 18, 2010) – Having established a relationship for more than seventeen years, The Weinstein Company (TWC) has hired Oscar-winning producer and former Miramax Films Executive Vice President Donna Gigliotti as president of production. She will work directly with TWC Co-Chairmen Bob and Harvey Weinstein, as well as produce several films for the company. Gigliotti’s first production will be I Don’t Know How She Does It, starring Sarah Jessica Parker, which will begin principal photography January 17. She is currently overseeing My Week With Marilyn, starring Michelle Williams shooting in the UK, and will produce David O. Russell’s Silver Linings Playbook in the latter half of 2011.Gigliotti is one of only five women ever to win a Best Picture Oscar. In her first outing as an independent producer, she received the 1998 Academy Award for producing the seven-time Oscar-winning Miramax film Shakespeare in Love, and was subsequently nominated for a Best Picture Oscar for The Weinstein Company’s 2008 romantic drama The Reader.
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