Weinstein Co. exits Wind River Oscar campaign, Tunica-Biloxi tribe to fund
The Tunica-Biloxi tribe of Louisiana will breathe new life into the Oscar campaign for Taylor Sheridan’s crime thriller Wind River in the wake of the film’s distributor, the Weinstein Company, becoming embroiled in the sexual misconduct scandal surrounding ousted co-founder Harvey Weinstein.
EW has confirmed the film’s awards bid will see the Weinstein label scrubbed from future Wind River release materials, including FYC screeners, home video releases (through Lionsgate), and Netflix streams. Sheridan and his cast lobbied heavily for the move, which Deadline Hollywood first reported Wednesday.
Acacia Entertainment, backed by money from the Tunica-Biloxi tribe, will fully fund the Oscar campaign after putting up most of the film’s $10 million production budget, per Deadline. The publication also reported that discussions are underway to earmark forthcoming profits which would’ve been pocketed by the Weinstein Company for the National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center, a charitable organization for battered Native American women.
Released in August, Wind River stars Elizabeth Olsen and Jeremy Renner as an FBI agent and a wildlife officer seeking justice after the sexual assault and murder of an 18-year-old Native American woman on the titular Wyoming reservation. Sheridan has said he was motivated to write Wind River to highlight the issue of sexual assault on reservations, and Olsen has said the film inspired her to do regular volunteer work with Rape Treatment Center.
Prior to its theatrical release, Wind River garnered strong notices from film critics at Sundance and won Sheridan the Best Director Prize in the Un Certain Regard section at Cannes. The film marks Sheridan’s first major feature as a director, after previously penning the screenplays for Denis Villeneuve’s Sicario and David Mackenzie’s Hell or High Water — the latter of which earned Sheridan his first Oscar nomination earlier this year. Wind River has also been strong at the box office, grossing $33.6 million to date.