Michael Shannon in The Current War.
Courtesy of The Weinstein Company.
Now that Harvey Weinstein’s fate seems to be sealed in Hollywood, attention has turned toward the Weinstein Company. What will come of the studio worth its weight in Oscar gold? On Friday, Bob Weinstein released a confident statement indicating that T.W.C. will keep forging ahead—with the full support of its banks, partners, and shareholders, he added for good measure. Films like Paddington 2, Polaroid, and The War with Grandpa are still on track for release later this year and next year.
However, the statement conveniently neglects to mention The Current War, the Thomas Edison biopic starring Benedict Cumberbatch that was slated to be T.W.C.’s main awards contender this year. Given the heightened tension around the company, it was unclear how the industry would react to the film now that Harvey Weinstein is a pariah. But a new report makes it clear that, as of now, anyway, the Current War’s Oscar hopes are as good as dead.
Deadline reports that the biopic, scheduled for a November 24 release, has been pulled from the studio’s schedule. In addition, screenwriter Michael Mitnick dropped out of a recent panel event for the New York Film Festival, a sign that the film’s team is lying low as the sexual misconduct allegations against Weinstein continue to fly.
Cumberbatch, who has worked with the Weinstein Company before on films like The Imitation Game (for which he earned his first best actor Oscar nod), previously released a short statement addressing the Weinstein allegations.
“I am utterly disgusted by the continuing revelations of Harvey Weinstein’s horrifying and unforgivable actions,” Cumberbatch said. “We need to collectively stand up and support victims of abuse such as the brave and inspiring women who have spoken out against him and say we hear you and believe you.”
Aside from The Current War, there was also some buzz surrounding The Upside, the Kevin Hart–Bryan Cranston drama that debuted at this year’s Toronto International Film Festival. However, as Deadline points out, that film is scheduled for a 2018 release, which means it likely won’t be eligible this time around and is hedging its bets on next year’s awards race. All things considered, it seems extremely likely that the Weinstein Company is sitting out this upcoming awards season—and really, how could it not? Though Weinstein was previously known best for his skill at finagling film awards, now most of Hollywood’s biggest stars have spoken out against his alleged serial sexual harassment and assault. Former collaborators like Quentin Tarantino have taken a firm stand against Weinstein, exiling him from the gilded circles he used to navigate with ease and making it clear that Weinstein will have very few allies to help him mount some sort of comeback in the near future. In addition, agents and executives are reportedly keeping their clients away from T.W.C., according to Deadline, in order to avoid the hurricane of bad press surrounding the company.
Bob’s statement, carefully eliding any mention of The Current War, is perhaps a silent acknowledgement that the company knows it has little shot at awards-season redemption this year. T.W.C. built its reputation on its ability to spin Oscar nominations out of thin air—and that same power apparently helped Weinstein intimidate the women he allegedly abused silent for decades. But at this point, no amount of spin could keep this particular sinking ship afloat.
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