While riding high as king of the world at the 1998 Academy Awards, Titanic director James Cameron nearly came to blows with now-disgraced movie mogul Harvey Weinstein.
In a new interview with Vanity Fair, Cameron recalled “almost getting in a fight” with Weinstein and “hitting him with my Oscar,” but said further escalation was prevented by a return from commercial break.
“The music had started to play to get back in our seats,” Cameron said. “The people around us were saying, ‘Not here! Not here!’ Like it was okay to fight in the parking lot, you know, but it was not okay there when the music was playing, and they were about to go live.”
Cameron said the squabble stemmed from Miramax’s treatment of director and friend Guillermo del Toro on his film Mimic. “Harvey came up glad-handing me, talking about how great they were for the artist, and I just read him chapter and verse about how great I thought he was for the artist based on my friend’s experience, and that led to an altercation,” Cameron said.
In retrospect, given the flood of sexual misconduct allegations that have surfaced against Weinstein, Cameron acknowledged that there are likely many people “that would’ve preferred I had played through on that one.” Weinstein has been accused of sexual harassment and/or assault by more than 50 women and is currently under investigation by multiple police departments. He has denied any allegations of non-consensual sex. Weinstein has since been expelled from the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences.
Read Cameron’s full Vanity Fair interview here.