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Is Harvey truly crazy about 'Bobby'?

August 11, 2006 |  9:35 am


"Don't worry!" Harvey Weinstein roared to his staffers when he finally stopped obsessing over the loss of Felicity Huffman as best actress in "Transamerica." "Next year we've got 'Bobby'!"

It took Harvey eons to stop obsessing over Huffman's loss. In fact, he's still wringing his polar bear paws over it and pouting to pals, but insiders say that his manic negative fixation is mostly lifted now thanks to his new Oscar faith in "Bobby," Emilio Estevez's drama about the day Robert Kennedy was shot. The $10 million indie focuses on the lives of 22 people who witnessed the assassination, portrayed by a host of superstars, including Anthony Hopkins (as the Ambassador Hotel doorman), Elijah Wood (draft dodger), Lindsay Lohan (Wood's wife), Demi Moore (hotel's lounge singer), Ashton Kutcher (a hippie), Martin Sheen (Democratic financier), Helen Hunt (Sheen's wife) and William H. Macy (hotel manager). Sharon Stone is said to be especially good as Macy's neglected wife, who runs a beauty salon.

For months Harvey's been planting buzz all over Hollyweird, insisting — pssssst! pssssst! — it's a major best pic contender.

Heck, "Bobby" features so many academy members that, if most of them just vote for their own work, that should push it into the top race, eh?

Now that Miramaxless Harvey and brother Bob are out on their own, without the Disney media conglomerate behind them, they're desperate to get back in the Oscar game and relive the thrill they knew when "The English Patient," "Shakespeare in Love" and "Chicago" struck mother lodes of industry gold. This year they have a shot at the best actress trophy again with Renee Zellweger as "Peter Rabbit" author Beatrix Potter in "Miss Potter" plus best actor with Jude Law as a spoiled British architect in "Breaking and Entering," but Harvey has something to prove now that he's ballyhooing his new shingle, the Weinstein Company. He wants to demonstrate that it's a top player by winning the top industry prize again: best picture.

But has he just gone all Harvey on us again? You know, just plain Oscar mad? When that happens, delusions can set in.

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Photo: There are as many Hollywood stars in "Bobby" as you'd see at a real Democratic Convention.
(Weinstein Co.)

Basically — let's be cattily honest — people are hissing behind his massive back: how can a movie written and directed by Emilio Estevez be any good? Emilio not only suffers from the presumption that screen heartthrobs must be shallow, but there's still the lingering stench of "Men at Work," a murder farce about two garbage men that he penned and helmed for himself and brother Charlie Sheen.

Some Hollywood gossipmeisters who've already seen "Bobby" say it's good, but not as great as Harvey thinks it is. Others insist it's a masterpiece that has the Oscar advantage of feeling important, even urgent, because it's about the tragic loss of an American hero. One of Harvey's soldiers told me the other day that there's no question that the next best pic race is a squeaker between "Bobby" and "Flags of Our Fathers."

Ah, don't you just love The Harvey Hype Machine?

Soon we will see for ourselves when "Bobby" finally unspools a few weeks from now at the Venice and Toronto Film Festivals. Stay tuned. The Envelope will be in Toronto, filing constant updates about reactions to all of the Oscar contenders debuting there.