When charges of child-labor exploitation were first leveled at Slumdog Millionaire right around the time when Oscar ballots arrived in Academy members’ mailboxes, we quite naturally assumed that Harvey Weinstein — whose The Reader is also nominated for Best Picture — was somehow behind the whole thing (though we were afraid to say something, lest we, too, be accused in the press of exploiting child labor). In this week’s EW, in a story on Reader’s Oscar odds, Harvey is asked if he was responsible and he doesn’t, technically, deny it.
”What can I say?” Weinstein says, on the phone from Rome. ”When you’re Billy the Kid and people around you die of natural causes, everyone thinks you shot them.”
Obviously not the most categorical denial we’ve ever heard. Also, what was he doing in Rome? Seeking a papal condemnation of Benjamin Button’s three-hour running time?