It was quite the week for Harvey Weinstein. On Sunday night, he guided "The Artist" to five Academy Awards (including Best Picture) and helped get Meryl Streep her first Oscar in 29 years; on Tuesday, he was still fighting with the MPAA over the R-rating given to the documentary "Bully," a move which may push Weinstein to take a "leave of absence from the MPAA for the foreseeable future"; and on Friday, he was awarded the Legion d'Honneur, France's highest honor. Not bad for a guy who grew up in Flushing.
"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," French president Nicholas Sarkozy wrote in a letter to Weinstein. "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."
Weinstein acquired "The Artist," a French film made in America, following its debut at the Cannes Film Festival last May, and was bowled over by this honor.
"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."
Weinstein isn't the first filmmaker to receive the Legion d'Honneur: Charlie Chaplin, Marlene Dietrich, Clint Eastwood, Robert De Niro and Steven Spielberg have also earned the award.
[via Press Release]