The only reason you wouldn't expect "Napoleon" and "Harvey Weinstein" to appear in the same sentence is that Harvey Weinstein isn't short. But last night, at the French Embassy in New York, the two fearsome names were yoked together not as a comment on aggression, but to induct Weinstein into the illustrious Legion D'Honneur, which was founded by the diminutive conqueror in 1802.
Weinstein expressed gratitude to his inspirations, mentors and collaborators in his acceptance speech; he had especially warm words for his 86-year-old mother, Miriam (partial namesake of Miramax Films) and director Quentin Tarantino. He also used the platform to commend France for its stringent anti-piracy legislation and to support anti-bullying legislation, before concluding the speech with an exhortation to "get drunk."
The guests at the Embassy party included New York Times executive editor Jill Abramson, 'Top Chef' host Padma Lakshmi and billionaire investors George Soros, Pete Peterson and Stephen Schwarzman.
The festivities in Weinstein's honor began early in the evening, with a star-packed screening of French movie "The Intouchables," about the jocular relationship between a billionaire quadriplegic and his Senegal-born caretaker. (The Weinstein Co is distributing the movie in the States and is at work on an English-language remake starring Colin Firth.) Miriam, arriving at her assigned section of seats, exclaimed, "Oh my god, look at all the Miriam Weinsteins!"
Weinstein introduced "The Intouchables" as "Not the type of movie we generally get involved in. It's a movie people like." (This was false modesty: last year's eminently likable Oscar winner "The Artist" was a Weinstein Co. movie.) He also noted with glee that Nationalist French politician Jean-Marie Le Pen, whom he called a "fascist," had expressed his displeasure with "The Intouchables" for its positive depiction of an African immigrant.
Napoleon would have been proud, no doubt.
Click through below for pictures from the red carpet of the screening: