Although Harvey Weinstein has heavyweight awards contenders under his wing with Todd Haynes’ “Carol” and Quentin Tarantino’s “The Hateful Eight,” the year hasn’t been easy for the veteran indie producer. Amidst boycotts, company layoffs and output reduction and box office disasters, Weinstein has taken to The Hollywood Reporter to pen a guest column in which he criticizes the industry and critics for marginalizing movies outside of awards season. He cited the issue as a “pet peeve,” though the failure of Weinstein Company films like “Woman in Gold” and “Southpaw” to remain in the awards conversation after being released in the spring and summer, respectively, renders the matter closer to home.
“The fall has become so dominated, so top-heavy with adult-driven awards releases that it has made it almost impossible for quality films to reach their full potential unless they dare release at another time of year, where they are quickly forgotten come awards season,” he wrote. “Dozens of adult dramas opened in October, and everybody cannibalized each other. Every distributor — from the big studios to the little independents — has a horse or three in the race, and almost everyone has lost this year. We’re all going for the same audience, trying to grab the attention of both smart adult film lovers and the awards voters, and because of that no one is able to make a huge impression.”
Studios cram the fall with awards titles left and right to get them the proper consideration, leaving “off season” favorites in the dust. Weinstein cited personal favorites from this year, such as Carey Mulligan’s performance in “Far From the Madding Crowd,” Ian McKellen in “Mr. Holmes” and Lily Tomlin in “Grandma” as acclaimed performances that have since been marginalized because of the fall crunch. “Because the film was released over the summer,” he wrote in regards to “Grandma,” “it gets less attention than it would if it were released during awards season.”
But the problem here extends beyond distributors releasing movies in a tight window, according to Weinstein. Referencing well-regarded performances by Jake Gyllenhaal and Helen Mirren in his non-seasonal awards hopefuls “Southpaw” and “Woman in Gold,” Weinstein criticized the press for hailing these films as “awards-worthy” upon their releases, only to leave them behind and focus solely on the fall darlings. “It’s completely puzzling, and I have to say a bit maddening, to read prognosticator lists of performances that ‘may’ get nominated and not see Jake’s name included. These are the same people who wrote only months earlier that he gave an awards-worthy performance and should be recognized come Oscar time! He deserved a nomination last year for Open Road’s ‘Nightcrawler,’ and he deserves one this year.”
Weinstein also weighed in on “Burnt” to further his claims, explaining how he firmly believes Bradley Cooper deserves some Golden Globe recognition despite the less-than-favorable reception to the film. Head over to The Hollywood Reporter for Weinstein’s entire guest column, which also includes the reasoning behind the decision to place Rooney Mara in the Best Supporting Actress race and his thoughts on Quentin Tarantino and the state of film.