Winslet won the award for her performance in The Reader, a post-World War II drama set in Berlin that was distributed by the Weinstein Company. Infamous for being an aggressive and successful Oscar campaigner, Weinstein pushed hard for Winslet, who also won a Golden Globe and a SAG Award for the film. But while Weinstein has typically been thanked when actors and producers emerge victorious and give their speeches, Winslet declined to name him at all, acknowledging 19 others instead.
On Saturday, Winslet told the Los Angeles Times that her decision not to thank Weinstein was “absolutely deliberate,” especially when she faced pressure to publicly sing his praises. “I remember being told. ‘Make sure you thank Harvey if you win,’” she said. “And I remember turning around and saying, ‘No I won’t. No I won’t.’ And it was nothing to do with not being grateful. If people aren’t well-behaved, why would I thank him?”
She also elaborated on her difficult relationship with Weinstein, who allegedly exhibited “bullying and nasty” behavior: “For my whole career, Harvey Weinstein, whenever I’ve bumped into him, he’d grab my arm and say, ‘Don’t forget who gave you your first movie.’ Like I owe him everything. Then later, with The Reader, same thing, ‘I’m gonna get you that Oscar nomination, I’m gonna get you a win, I’m gonna win for you.’ “
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Weinstein was reported to have badgered producer Sydney Pollack on his deathbed and the widow of Anthony Minghella after Reader director Stephen Daldry said the film wouldn’t be ready for Oscar season. “I can’t even begin to describe the disgraceful behavior that went on,” Winslet said of Weinstein’s actions during the making of the movie.
Last week, Winslet responded in a statement to the dozens of allegations of sexual assault and abuse against Weinstein. (Weinstein has denied any allegation of non-consensual sex.) “The fact that these women are starting to speak out about the gross misconduct of one of our most important and well regarded film producers, is incredibly brave and has been deeply shocking to hear,” she said. “The way Harvey Weinstein has treated these vulnerable, talented young women is NOT the way women should ever EVER deem to be acceptable or commonplace in ANY workplace.”
Winslet is currently receiving Oscar buzz for her performance in Wonder Wheel, Woody Allen’s latest film, which premiered over the weekend. Allen recently cautioned against a “witch hunt” atmosphere forming in response to Weinstein, in which “every guy in an office who winks at a woman is suddenly having to call a lawyer to defend himself.”