Harvey's stealth Oscar contender: 'The Concert'
Publicly, the movie that the Weinstein Co. is pushing hard for the best picture Oscar is "The King's Speech," which stars Colin Firth as Britain's King George VI trying to overcome a nervous stammer. But that notoriously sneaky Harvey Weinstein has a stealth contender aiming for the same top Academy Award — "The Concert," about a conductor of the Bolshoi orchestra who was fired 30 years ago for hiring Jewish musicians. Now a janitor, he plots to replace the Bolshoi with his ragtag musical team that includes a virtuoso violinist (Melanie Laurent, who would probably have been nominated for supporting actress at the Oscars for "Inglourious Basterds" if she hadn't been campaigned too ambitiously in lead).
"The Concert" opens today in Los Angeles and New York theaters where Oscar voters will be admitted free by showing their academy membership card.
One glitch: "The Concert" is in French, but Harvey has put foreign-language fare in the best-picture race in the past — "Il Postino" (1994) and "Life Is Beautiful" (1997). Now that there are double the number of nominee slots, it may be easier for one to squeeze in. The last foreign-lingo flick to bag a bid for best pic was "Letters From Iwo Jima" (2006).
"The Concert" is already a proven award winner. At the most recent Cesar Awards, it was nominated for six prizes, including best picture and director. It lost to "A Prophet" in those races, but triumphed in two crafts contests (music, sound).
Photo: Weinstein Co.