After helping to turn Frenchmen Jean Dujardin and Michel Hazanavicius into Oscar winners last weekend for their work in “The Artist,” Harvey Weinstein will receive one of the country’s highest honors.
The Weinstein Company co-chairman will receive the 2012 Légion d’Honneur, after being personally nominated by President Nicolas Sarkozy.
He will receive the award in a ceremony to take place in Paris. Weinstein will enter the Légion d’Honneur with the grade of “Chevalier.”
The news comes a day after Weinstein made headlines for slamming Jean-Marie Le Pen over comments made about his company’s film “The Intouchables.”
Weinstein lashed out at the former president of France’s right-wing National Front party, calling his criticism of the film’s message about immigration, “repulsive” and “bigoted.”
As for the new honor, Weinstein requested to keep it private until now to avoid any conflict of interest with Academy Award campaign for “The Artist.”
In a statement Weinstein said he was humbled by the honor and paid tribute to some of the great French film directors such as François Truffaut and Jean Renoir.
“All my life, I have loved and been inspired by French cinema,” Weinstein said.
“This prestigious distinction, which I wanted to come from my personal allocation, is a testimony of the admiration of millions of French citizens for the exceptional quality of the films that you have produced,” Sarkozy wrote to Weinstein, telling him about nomination. “It also expresses our gratitude to someone who has always shown great friendship towards our country and our cinema which you have enabled so many Americans to discover.”
Past Hollywood recipients of the honor include Charlie Chaplin, Marlene Dietrich, Clint Eastwood, Robert De Niro, and Steven Spielberg.