The kid from Queens is now the toast of France.
Harvey Weinstein, who turned “The Artist,” a French-made film, into an Oscar-winning best picture, said on Friday that he would be decorated with a chevalier’s rank in the Legion of Honor at a ceremony in Paris likely to be held on Wednesday.
“I’m just really thrilled,” Mr. Weinstein said in a phone interview on Friday, noting that he was just a “kid from Flushing.” Sounding like a movie star on Oscar night, he added, “It’s the biggest honor I could ever dream of.”
Mr. Weinstein being Mr. Weinstein, however, there is a back story.
French officials, Mr. Weinstein said, had advised him last June that he was in line for the honor, which has been given to many other American film industry figures. They include Steven Spielberg and Robert De Niro, who both keep offices in the TriBeCa complex in Manhattan that houses the Weinstein Company.
In July the French president, Nicolas Sarkozy, even sent a letter, making it official. But Mr. Weinstein begged the French to hold off: He feared that basking in glory for having distributed French films like “Édith et Marcel” and “Indigènes,” as well as American-made French favorites like “Pulp Fiction,” might detract from his awards campaign for “The Artist.”
Mr. Weinstein said he then hoped to accept the legion honor during the Cannes film festival in May, when he will have new movies to promote (though, he said, he is not yet sure which ones).
But the French government, caught up in a post-Oscar frenzy after the victory on Sunday night by “The Artist,” drew the line. Mr. Weinstein is now under orders to appear for a luncheon ceremony in Paris next week. Celebrations will also be held in New York and Washington.
Asked whether he planned actually to wear the chevalier’s medal, he said, “You can, but I don’t know.” He said he might ask some advice from friends like Martin Scorsese, who received the honor in 1998.
In 2004 Mr. Weinstein was named a Commander of the Order of the British Empire, in recognition for his contributions to British film. In the Legion of Honor Mr. Weinstein will be outranked by Jerry Lewis, who was promoted to “commandeur” status in 2006. Mr. Lewis also holds a populist honor that has so far eluded Mr. Weinstein: a star on Hollywood’s Walk of Fame.
But after spending the awards season with Uggie, the Jack Russell terrier who performed in “The Artist,” Mr. Weinstein figures he might have a shot at sidewalk honors.
“If I do, it’s going to be with Uggie,” he said.
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