With the mogul credited by many for earning France this year’s best picture Oscar for The Artist, the French seem to be repaying the favor, awarding The Weinstein Company executive with one of the country’s most prestigious honors.
Paris, France – March 2, 2012 – French President Nicolas Sarkozy has named Harvey Weinstein, Co-Chairman of The Weinstein Company (TWC), a recipient of the 2012 Légion d’Honneur, in recognition of Weinstein’s contributions to cinema and his decades of work producing some of the most highly regarded films of our time. Weinstein was nominated personally by President Sarkozy on July 22, 2011 and will receive the award in a ceremony to take place in Paris.
President Sarkozy wrote the following upon nominating Weinstein to the Légion d’Honneur: “This prestigious distinction, which I wanted to come from my personal allocation, is a testimony of the admiration of millions of French citizens for the exceptional quality of the films that you have produced. It also expresses our gratitude to someone who has always shown great friendship towards our country and our cinema which you have enabled so many Americans to discover.”
Said Weinstein, “I am honored and humbled by this recognition from President Sarkozy and the people of France. All my life, I have loved and been inspired by French cinema. I am still the young boy who walked two miles to The Mayfair movie theater in Flushing, NY to see films by the greats – Lelouch, Godard, Renoir and my personal favorite François Truffaut. They inspired me and led me to the place I am in today. I hope to continue my friendship with France and its filmmakers for many years to come.”
France’s oldest and highest distinction, the Légion d’Honneur was created by Napoleon Bonaparte in 1802 and is awarded to outstanding individuals who have contributed to France and to the ideals it upholds. Past recipients include Charlie Chaplin, Marlene Dietrich, Akira Kurosawa, Clint Eastwood, Robert DeNiro, Satyajit Ray, and Steven Spielberg to name just a few. Weinstein requested to keep the honor private until now to avoid any conflict of interest with Academy Award® Best Picture winner THE ARTIST.
Weinstein will enter the Légion d’Honneur with the grade of “Chevalier.” Weinstein has been bringing interesting and cutting edge independent films to audiences for three decades, first as founder and Chairman of Miramax from 1979-2005, and subsequently as founder and Co-Chairman of TWC, launched in 2005. In spring 2011, he acquired Michel Hazanavicius’s THE ARTIST, a French production that went on to win five 2012 Academy Awards®, including Best Picture. Over the years, the cultural impact of some of his most well known films – PULP FICTION, GANGS OF NEW YORK, THE AVIATOR, SHAKESPEARE IN LOVE, THE PIANO, LIFE IS BEAUTIFUL, GOOD WILL HUNTING – has been recognized and awarded on many levels. Weinstein has been responsible for the distribution and promotion of more than 30 French films in the United States, including previously released EDITH AND MARCEL (EDITH ET MARCEL, 1983); DELICATESSEN (1991); THREE COLORS: BLUE (TROIS COULEURS: BLEU, 1993); THREE COLORS: RED (TROIS COULEURS: ROUGE, 1994); THREE COLORS: WHITE (TROIS COULEURS: BIALY, 1994); AMÉLIE (2001); LE CONCERT (2009); SARAH’S KEY (ELLE S’APPELAIT SARAH, 2010); and upcoming releases including box office sensation THE INTOUCHABLES (UNTOUCHABLES, 2011); A GANG STORY (LES LYONNAIS, 2012); WAR OF THE BUTTONS (LA NOVELLE GUERRE DES BOUTONS, 2012); and PLAYERS (LES INFIDELES, 2012).
LETTER TO HARVEY WEINSTEIN FROM PRESIDENT NICOLAS SARKOZY
July 22, 2011
Dear Mr. Weinstein,
I have great pleasure of informing you that I have signed a decree which nominates you to the order of the Legion D’Honneur.
This prestigious distinction, which I wanted to come from my personal allocation, is a testimony of the admiration of millions of French citizens for the exceptional quality of the films that you have produced. It also expresses our gratitude to someone who has always shown great friendship towards our country and our cinema, which you have enabled so many Americans to discover.
I would like to express my personal congratulations for the well deserved distinction which France has bestowed on you.