Harvey Weinstein finally launches Oscar campaign for his estranged child, ‘The Immigrant’

Artful film defenders, nostalgic baby boomers, and Marion Cotillard devotees were up in arms earlier this year when The Weinstein Company picked up James Gray”s “Godfather”-esque “The Immigrant” out of the Cannes Film Festival, only to lock the film in a dungeon, let it suffer in solitary confinement for months, dump it into a few theaters, then quietly hand it off to Netflix where it could fade into obscurity. Don”t try to understand Harvey Weinstein”s logic – he”s the man who beat “Saving Private Ryan” with “Shakespeare in Love,” a campaign we”re still talking about 16 years later. So when word comes in that TWC is finally giving “The Immigrant” an awards push – in the form of an online FYC and a few Academy screenings – we need to accept this is all part of Harvey”s grand plan.

OK, maybe not.

In a new report, Variety shines a light on The Weinstein Company”s last minute decision to include “The Immigrant” in its For Your Consideration package, a move that comes off as a little reckless and confused on Harvey”s part. While no one would argue that “The Imitation Game” and Tim Burton”s “Big Eyes” were the executive”s most formidable champions this season, TWC”s campaigning still included pushes for the little-seen musical drama “Begin Again” and even less impactful “Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby.” So where was “The Immigrant”? 

Nowhere, until it was everywhere. “The Immigrant” surfaced in awards talk when star Marion Cotillard earned props for her work from both the Boston Society of Film Critics and New York Film Critics Circle. With the film popping up on several Top 10 lists, The Weinstein Company realized they had a vehicle with a little more fuel in it than the films they deemed worthy at the beginning of the season. Variety reports that, as of Tuesday, TWC had added “The Immigrant” to its list of guild and Academy screenings, with showings planned for mid-December. The magazine notes that Academy voters have yet to receive physical or online screeners of the film.

Whether Cotillard stands a chance at the Oscars doesn”t seem to be a factor for Weinstein. Despite earning positive reviews, the  “La Vie en Rose” Oscar winner failed to wiggle into the SAG Awards, a typically accurate forecast of the Academy Awards race. Cotillard also contends with herself: Belgium”s “Two Days, One Night” will compete in the Best Foreign Film category. Raves for the performance will likely siphon any momentum Cotillard has gained for “The Immigrant.”

Can Cotillard sneak into the Best Actress top five? Harvey Weinstein seems to think there”s a remote possibility. If only anyone had thought that six months ago.