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Fabled Oscar prognosticator makes his first best picture pick

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It’s no surprise that many critics are swooning over Michael Mann’s new ‘Public Enemies’ thriller (with my colleague Kenny Turan’s rave right up at the front of the pack). But now Mann has a new heavyweight critic in his corner: Harvey Weinstein. In a post on today’s Daily Beast, the man who has masterminded more Oscar campaigns than anyone else on the planet gives the film the ultimate accolade, saying that after seeing the film, ‘I can tell you the Oscar race is officially on.’

What’s especially intriguing about the review, from the vantage point of veteran Harvey watchers, is that Weinstein sees Johnny Depp’s portrayal of John Dillinger through the prism of -- surprise! -- marketing savvy. As Weinstein writes about Depp’s portrayal of Dillinger:

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‘It’s the character actor as the leading man, it’s the awareness, the silences ... but it’s also the flinty, self-aware John Dillinger who knows what good public relations is, who knows what his public persona is, who knows what is characteristic of what he would do and what he wouldn’t do is, and knows whether an action is something ‘that the people would like.’ ‘

Weinstein also compares the film to several other cinema classics, arguing that ‘Public Enemies,’ along with ‘The Godfather,’ ‘Scarface’ and ‘The Good Shepherd,’ are ‘not only biographies of criminals, but in a way a biography of America -- a more overt biography -- where ‘Citizen Kane’ is a biography of the American rogue.... This is Michael Mann at the height of his height.’

I know I should probably be making some sarcastic remark right about now, wondering if this review is Harvey’s audition for a new gig when his company finally runs out of dough. But I think The Big Man actually has a pretty savvy take on one of the film’s most intriguing underlying themes.

Harvey, if you’re reading this, the next time you want you put on your critic’s cap, call us -- we’d be happy to print your reviews right here.


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