Fresh from piloting French silent film The Artist to Oscar glory, Harvey Weinstein has cemented the thaw in US-France relations by being the latest Hollywood recipient of the Légion d'honneur.
In the citation letter, Nicolas Sarkozy, the French president, said the award "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".
In a statement, Weinstein reaffirmed his admiration for French cinema: "I am still the young boy who walked two miles to the Mayfair movie theatre in Flushing, NY to see films by the greats – Lelouch, Godard, Renoir and my personal favorite François Truffaut. They inspired me and led me to the place I am in today."
Weinstein will become a Chevalier of the Légion d'honneur – the lowest of the five grades of the order established by Napoleon Bonaparte in 1802. The honour is normally reserved for French nationals, but Sarkozy has used his personal allocation to ennoble Weinstein, who joins other film-makers including David Lynch, Steven Spielberg and Clint Eastwood.
The nomination was originally made in July, but Weinstein apparently asked for it to be kept secret to avoid clashing with the Oscar campaign for The Artist.
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