Put yourself, for a moment, in the mind of Harvey Weinstein. Thrilling, right? That power! Now consider the following scenario: You have a new movie coming out about a pair of antihero brothers -- gangsters -- who are fighting to supply customers with an intoxicating illegal substance in a time of great need for such substances. You need a marquee song. Whom do you approach?
The movie in question is set during Prohibition, so you need someone old-timey. Also remember that you love Oscar nominations. Who's old-timey, Oscar-friendly and also pro-intoxicants?
That, at least, is what one might imagine was the mental process that led Weinstein to feature the song "Midnight Run" (hear it in the video above) on the soundtrack of John Hillcoat's "Lawless," out today.
As it turns out, the speculation isn't far off. "When you hear Willie Nelson sing a song like this, it's so iconic," Weinstein told HuffPost Entertainment. "He's a gangster. He's pro-legalization of marijuana, and this is the legalization of booze, at the time. This is a movie about outlaw brothers, and there's no better outlaw than Willie Nelson."
But how, practically, did the song get made?
"Our team suggested it, and I knew that everybody -- our cast, our director, Nick Cave [who wrote the screenplay] -- respects Willie Nelson and thinks he's great," Weinstein said. "So we got the song written for him, and he loved it and recorded it. He loves the movie."
Nelson confirmed as much in a statement to The Huffington Post. "I can't remember the last time I saw a film that was equal parts fun, action-packed and smart," he wrote. "This film goes well beyond the norm in telling one of the greatest Prohibition-era stories of our time."
Weinstein is so enthusiastic about the song and Nelson that he plans to push hard for "Midnight Run" to get a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Original Song, as well as for the Golden Globe Award in the same category. He noted that Nelson, who turned 79 on April 30, has never won an Oscar. (He was nominated once, for 1980's "Honeysuckle Rose.")
"The song's really worthy of it, and I think there's a lot of affection for Willie Nelson," Weinstein explained. "And I think in light of the Academy opening up its doors, the idea of Willie Nelson playing at the Oscars at the age of 80 is just too good to be true."
If anyone can make it come true, it's probably Weinstein. Whether Nelson, should he be nominated, will find a way to indulge his favorite vice inside the newly christened Dolby Theater -- as he did when he visited President Jimmy Carter's White House back in the late '70s -- remains to be seen.
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