On the eve of the Golden Globes last year, there were already definitive battle lines drawn between "The Social Network" (a Sony release) and "The King's Speech" (which was distributed by The Weinstein Company). The knock-down-drag-out clash between the two films is still going on -- just this week, "Social Network" producer Scott Rudin said the Best Picture-winning "King's Speech" was "less complex" than his 2010 Oscar also-ran -- but that didn't stop Sony chief executive Howard Stringer from praising Harvey Weinstein's latest Oscar frontrunner: "The Artist"

"I was here once before, last year when AFI honored 'The Social Network,'" Stringer said at the AFI awards luncheon on Friday. "Harvey, if you're here, you remember 'The Social Network.'" Weinstein was in attendance.

"But I'm not bitter," Stringer said, before adding in jest, "Beaten by the royal family, give me a break!"

Per the New York Times awards blog The Carpetbagger, things quickly thawed from there. "No one loves movies more than you Harvey, we know that," Stringer said. "But I can obviously say, since the ballots for the Oscar nomination are due moments from now, I love 'The Artist.' Congratulations."

Even the competition loves "The Artist"! It's doubtful, however, that Rudin -- who produced the fast-moving awards-riser "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo" with "Social Network" director David Fincher for Sony -- will be pleased to read about Stringer's endorsement.

"The Artist" is poised to dominate the Golden Globes on Sunday; unfortunately, despite a torrent of guild honors over the last two weeks, "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo" was mostly snubbed by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association.

[via NYT/Carpetbagger]
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