Watch CBS News

Harvey Weinstein on "Imitation Game," "American Sniper," Selma controversy

Weinstein joins "CBS This Morning" to discuss the movie and smear campaigns during awards season
Harvey Weinstein on Oscars, awards smear campaigns and remastering classics 10:04

Oscar smear campaigns are topping headlines and The Weinstein Company co-chair Harvey Weinstein's name has been associated with the negative press.

As "CBS This Morning" co-host Charlie Rose noted, many in Hollywood believe Weinstein is incredibly effective at securing Oscar wins, and co-host Gayle King said some believe when it comes to smear campaigns, nobody is better at it than Harvey Weinstein.

"People say anybody who wins doesn't win by having great movies. They say they win by some alchemy," Harvey Weinstein said Tuesday on "CBS This Morning."

Keira Knightley on new movie "The Imitation Game" and women in the workplace 05:28

Between Christmas and the start of final Oscar voting on Feb. 6, nominees, especially docudramas, come under fire. It's often rival nominees or those snubbed from even getting that far suspected of orchestrating attacks.

This year, one of those films is The Weinstein Company's "The Imitation Game."

Weinstein said the spark was ignited by a review in the New York Review of Books claiming that Alan Turing, despite the film's portrayal, did not kill himself and the film glorified Turing's death.

But Weinstein said research proved otherwise. He said documents dropped the idea that in 1930, Turing had a conversation expressing his interest with the legend of Snow White and the poisoned cyanide-laced apple.

"So when a biographer drops one of the most important interviews of Turing's life that precedes his suicide because he's accused of -- because he's gay and being castrated, one of our greatest war heroes -- all of this is convenient," he said.

But Weinstein said, noting the criticism of his own film, he's not to blame for the press.

"It's not me, and it's not any other competitors," he said. "It's editors of newspapers who want to have spicy articles written about them. These facts come to surface. There's a kernel on Michael Moore -- it becomes 'American Sniper.'"

Monday, Michael Moore clarified tweets he wrote allegedly slamming Warner Brother Pictures' "American Sniper" for glorifying cowardice.

"It's a great movie and I think Michael Moore may have gotten misquoted," Weinstein said. "Michael's theater, which we book a lot in Michigan, is about the only theater I know that's free to servicemen."

Nevertheless, this attention has been attributed to the Oscar whispering game. Surrounding the film's release, and subsequent announcement of Academy Award nominations, Paramount Pictures' "Selma" was also hit.

On one side, critics spouted disdain for inaccuracies they say plagued the portrayal of Lyndon B. Johnson.

"I think these are people who worked closely with Johnson and want to preserve the memory. I'm just shocked that they didn't hit us earlier, and I'm kind of surprised that they didn't if that's what they meant," Weinstein said. "I don't think anybody really thinks that Lyndon Johnson in 1960 before he became vice president was an ideologue for civil rights. That wasn't exactly the measure of the man."

On the other side, there has been a public outcry against the Academy for what has been called the whitest Oscars since 1998. Even George Lucas shared in the brawl saying on "CBS This Morning," "It's a political campaign that has nothing to do with artistic endeavor."

"When you get a movie late, 'Selma' came out late ... it's hard. So if you didn't get the DVDs out on time, if you didn't get your movie out on time, you paid the price," Weinstein said. "I'm not saying it isn't about diversity or it isn't about anything else, but you paid the price."

Weinstein, a self-proclaimed movie geek, isn't just working on releasing today's biggest blockbusters; he's also recently partnered with DIRECTV to re-release Hollywood's classics.

So far, those re-mastered films include "Circus World," starring John Wayne and "El Cid" starring Charlton Heston.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.