When Kate Winslet took the stage to accept the Academy Award for Best Actress in 2009, for her performance in “The Reader,” there was one name she conspicuously didn’t mention in her acceptance speech: Harvey Weinstein.
The producer is one of the most thanked people in Oscar history, but despite financing and distributing the movie, Winslet refused to add his name to her long list of thank yous ― 19 in total ― due to her negative experience working with him.
“That was deliberate. That was absolutely deliberate,” Winslet told The Los Angeles Times in an interview on Saturday, while promoting her upcoming Woody Allen movie, “Wonder Wheel.”
“I remember being told, ‘Make sure you thank Harvey if you win.’ And I remember turning around and saying, ‘No, I won’t. No, I won’t,’” she continued. “And it was nothing to do with not being grateful. If people aren’t well-behaved, why would I thank him?”
After dozens of women accused the producer of sexual harassment and assault, Weinstein was fired from his company and expelled from the Academy earlier this month. While he denies that any of sexual encounters weren’t consensual, damning reports by The New York Times and The New Yorker paint a picture of a serial abuser who exerted undue power over women for personal gain since the 1980s.
“The fact that I’m never going to have to deal with Harvey Weinstein again as long as I live is one of the best things that’s ever happened, and I’m sure the feeling is universal,” Winslet said.
“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,” she continued. “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.’”
Winslet stressed that her objections to Weinstein, at the time, were based solely on her dealings with him as a businessman.
“He was bullying and nasty. Going on a business level, he was always very, very hard to deal with ― he was rude,” she said. “He used to call my female agent a [vulgar name for a woman] every time he spoke to her on the telephone.”
Weinstein routinely interfered with production on “The Reader,” clashing with director Stephen Daldry over the shooting and editing schedule. The producer apparently pulled the plug on the project with no warning four days before the film was intended to wrap .
“I can’t even begin to describe the disgraceful behavior that went on — and I’m actually not going to because it’s a can of worms that I’m not prepared to publicly open — nothing to do with sexual harassment, thankfully, lucky me,” Winslet explained. “My god. I somehow dodged that bullet.”
“And again, this is just on the business side of things, but he was always, always very, very, very unpleasant to deal with. Very,” she clarified.
While Winslet certainly didn’t mince words in regards to Weinstein, she has taken a softer stance about working with another alleged abuser, director Woody Allen. The actress never collaborated with Weinstein again after “The Reader,” but says she can separate the art from the artist when it comes to Allen, who stands accused of sexually abusing his adopted daughter.
“Of course one thinks about it. But at the same time, I didn’t know Woody and I don’t know anything about that family,” Winslet told The New York Times in a September interview. “As the actor in the film, you just have to step away and say, I don’t know anything, really, and whether any of it is true or false. Having thought it all through, you put it to one side and just work with the person. Woody Allen is an incredible director. So is Roman Polanski. I had an extraordinary working experience with both of those men, and that’s the truth.”
To read Winslet’s full interview on Weinstein and “Wonder Wheel,” head over to The Los Angeles Times.