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February 15th, 2013
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Movie mogul Harvey Weinstein takes on animation with 'Escape from Planet Earth,' lists his Oscar picks

The Academy Awards are a little more than a week away. The man who really seems like he's in charge of the Oscars, Harvey Weinstein, has been picking great films for a long, long time and he can promote them and sell them like no one else. After all, he is the force behind two of this year's best picture nominees: "Silver Linings Playbook" and "Django Unchained."

This week, he's out with a new film, his first venture into producing an animated movie. It's a sci-fi adventure featuring funny aliens they are trapped on earth. It's called "Escape from Planet Earth," featuring voices of Brendan Fraser, Ricky Gervais, Sarah Jessica Parker, Jessica Alba, and many, many others.

Weinstein visits the "Starting Point" set this morning to talk about the challenges of making an animated movie, and to talk about the season's Oscar race.

ON THE CHALLENGES OF PRODUCING AN ANIMATED FILM: I've acquired a couple of animated movies like "Hoodwinked", but this is the first that I made from beginning to end, developing the script, working in the studio, you know. And it is - I've got to tell you, it's not easy. This is two and a half years of my life...I did it for the challenge, you know, because I see what John Lasseter and what Jeffrey Katzenberg does. Both of those guys are friends of mine and I have new respect for them.

But I had one great opportunity. The aliens are trapped in this prison. The American general is taking advantage of them, and I just said, guys, why don't we just tweak all these guys and say that the aliens did not - that the aliens invented computer generation and not John Lasseter? It's in there with a grumpy picture of John. Then also we tweaked - we tweaked the guys, Eric Schmidt and Larry and Sergei, my pals from Google, we said they didn't invent that either. And I tweaked Zuckerberg at Facebook, and said that social networking was invented by the aliens. It's probably true.

ON THE OSCAR RACE: I can't have any favorites. But I will say that I think Quentin Tarantino has written the best screenplay of the year; he won the Golden Globe, he won the BAFTA. "Silver Linings" Jen Lawrence - Bob De Niro hasn't won an Oscar in 32 years. So, you know, there are just some great opportunities on our films. But all of the movies are good this year - "Lincoln", "Argo."

ON BEING COMPARED TO GOD: Every year at the Golden Globes, each one of those actors or actresses try to top what they say. So when Meryl Streep said, you know, we were told to thank our agent and God, whatever, which is what they tell them to say at the Golden Globes. She said, "I'd like to thank Kevin Huvane, my agent, and Harvey Weinstein," referencing God.

Four hours later, God - me - was sitting in a morning talk show with the dog from "The Artist" relieving himself on my leg on national television. I don't think I was God and I proved it to the world that I definitely wasn't, but they love it. They have this, you know, each one tops each other and makes these terrible jokes about me. I'm a good sportsman; I don't care.

OSCAR BEST PICTURE PREDICTION: If "Silver Linings" wins this year, it will be a great upset in Oscar history.

Filed under: A little fun • Oscars
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