The real Oscar battle of the year: Scott vs. Harvey

While chatting with Sasha Stone (Awards Daily) and Jeff Wells (Hollywood-Elsewhere) in their Oscar Poker podcast, it occurred to me how much we Oscar gossips aren’t yapping about the juiciest kudos battle of all: the rematch of Scott Rudin vs. Harvey Weinstein.

Not only are the superheroes of indie film production back in the same derby, but they’re chief rivals for best picture: “The Social Network” (Scott’s) vs. “The King’s Speech” (Harvey’s).

It was just two years ago that they clashed over two Kate Winslet films. Early on it looked like Winslet was aiming for her overdue Oscar with “Revolutionary Road,” produced by Scott Rudin, which was presumed to be most dear to her heart because it was directed by her then-hubby Sam Mendes.

But Scott was also a producer, along with Harvey, of “The Reader,” which wasn’t due out until 2009. However, that notoriously headstrong Harvey really, really wanted it in the 2008 derby so he pushed it in over Scott’s protestations. Scott yanked his name from the film credits and thereafter the two Winslet movies battled it out for supremacy.

The cliffhanger: It was clear that Hollywood wanted to give her an Oscar, but would it go to Scott’s Winslet flick or to Harvey’s?

Originally, Harvey tried to get out of Scott’s way by having Winslet compete in supporting for “The Reader,” but her performance was obviously a lead role. The Hollywood Foreign Press Association went along with the charade, giving her Golden Globes in both categories. At the Screen Actors Guild Awards, the stars get to decide what categories to enter. Winslet went along with the charade too and placed herself in lead for “Revolutionary Road” (she lost) and in supporting for “The Reader” (she won).

As awards season progressed, it became clear that “Revolutionary Road” was tanking with critics and movie-goers, who preferred “The Reader” too.

Then Oscar voters piped in and the result was a jaw-dropper. Not only was Winslet not nommed for “Revolutionary Road,” but she was nominated in lead for “The Reader” and — here’s the shockeroo — “The Reader” nabbed a surprise bid for best picture. It was Harvey’s first best-picture nom since splitting with Disney and losing his dear old Miramax. It’s easy to guess what Scott thought about all that.

Photos: Scott Rudin at the 80th Annual Academy Awards (ABC); Harvey Weinstein (TWC)

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