The Weinstein Company’s co-chariman Harvey Weinstein said today he was so impressed after seeing members of the New Black Panther Party standing outside a Philadelphia polling site on election day to ensure voters weren’t bullied or intimidated while voting for President Barack Obama, that he has hired hundreds of the controversial group’s members to help with his company’s “Silver Linings Playbook” Oscar campaign.
Weinstein believes that because the New Black Panthers were able to prevent conservatives from oppressing Democratic voters, they are now ready to take on the cutthroat world of Hollywood.
“If you think Presidential campaigns can get dirty and ugly, you’ve never been behind the scenes of an Oscar campaign,” Weinstein told Hollywood & Swine. “If I had the New Black Panthers’ help back in 2005, Miramax’s ‘Finding Neverland’ would have beat ‘Million Dollar Baby’ for Best Picture”
Starting today, Academy members will receive a DVD screener of “Silver Linings Playbook” directed by David O. Russell and starring Bradley Cooper, which is an early favorite for Best Picture. According to Weinstein, each screener will be accompanied by a member of the New Black Panther Party who will live with the Academy member until they cast their final Oscar ballot, ensuring they won’t be intimidated into voting for competing studios’ films, including Dreamworks’ “Lincoln,” or Warner Bros.’ “Argo.”
Hollywood insiders say Weinstein’s decision to hire the New Black Panthers is a new low even for a man legendary for his aggressive Oscar campaigning and fear that the Black Panthers will unfairly influence Academy members into voting for “Silver Linings Playbook.” Weinstein, who caused a controversy earlier in the year when he hired a teenage bully to beat up MPAA President Chris Dodd in a desperate attempt to get a PG-13 rating for his studio’s documentary “Bully” (Hollywood & Swine, March 21, 2012), called the allegations ridiculous.
“The Black Panthers are just to there to guarantee every Academy member gets to vote for whatever film they want to without pressure,” Weinstein said. “That’s why I’m confident the only thing that’s going to get hurt is the other studio’s Oscar chances.”