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PIERS MORGAN TONIGHT

Interview with Newt Gingrich; Interview with Harvey Weinstein.

Aired February 24, 2012 - 21:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


PIERS MORGAN, HOST: Tonight, Newt Gingrich. What he says about the Santorum surge --

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

NEWT GINGRICH (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Santorum did something clever. He campaigned in three states nobody else was in. Now, we'll see how he does in Arizona and Michigan.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MORGAN: Mitt Romney --

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GINGRICH: I had survived Romney paying in some $20 million in negative ads in Florida. I still was in number two.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MORGAN: Why he won't give up this race --

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GINGRICH: I'm focused on Super Tuesday. If you think this race looks wild from your side, you ought to be with us.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MORGAN: Plus --

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HARVEY WEINSTEIN, FILM PRODUCER: I'm not handing predictions. I'm too superstitious.

MORGAN: Would it be --

WEINSTEIN: I'm just looking to have a good time Sunday night.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MORGAN: Nobody knows more about Hollywood than movie mogul Harvey Weinstein.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

WEINSTEIN: People asked me all the time about the secret of the Oscars. I have to tell you, the new secret is coming on your show.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MORGAN: Also one of the best Oscar pundits looks at crystal ball and predicts who will walk away a winner on Sunday night.

And "Only in America" -- why it's an honor just to be nominated for the Oscars?

This is PIERS MORGAN TONIGHT.

(MUSIC)

MORGAN: Good evening.

Our big story tonight, Newt Gingrich taking aim at President Obama on gas prices.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GINGRICH: So, the president uses very strong language. He says that those of us who believe he can get back to $2 gallon of gas -- that it's just politics.

Well, that's baloney. It was $1.13 a gallon when I was speaker. That's a historic fact.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MORGAN: In a moment, I'll ask Newt Gingrich if he can really bring gas prices down to $2.50 a gallon.

Also tonight, Harvey Weinstein on Oscar politics and why he says this about the movie that may win it all, "The Artist."

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

WEINSTEIN: This is against all odd. This is the biggest gamble that the company took. It is most the craziest thing ever.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MORGAN: We begin tonight with Newt Gingrich's campaign that lost some steam since his win in South Carolina last month. But with the Michigan and Arizona primaries looming on Tuesday, the former speaker so far resisted any calls to drop out of the race.

And Newt Gingrich joins me now.

Speaker, how are you?

GINGRICH: I'm doing very well. Glad to talk to you. I'm in Seattle today. MORGAN: Beautiful part of the world. I've been there many times.

Let me start with this big story in Afghanistan where the repercussions of this Koran burning by American forces there continues to cause a lot of bloodshed and loss of life. You've been very strong on President Obama about his apology. You thought it was completely unnecessary.

I want to play you a clip from General Allen in Afghanistan, commanding American troops, which is what he had to say about it.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GEN. JOHN ALLEN, COMMANDER, ISAF: I offer my sincere apologies. As I have this morning in phone calls to a number of the senior Afghans here in Kabul, I offered my sincere apologies to the president, to the government of Afghanistan. But most importantly, to the people, the noble people of Afghanistan.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MORGAN: I suppose the obvious question having heard the general there is whether you've now changed your view about President Obama's apology -- because clearly, he was taking his lead from the generals on the ground. And you've always said if you were president, you would do exactly that.

GINGRICH: Well, you don't know that he's taking his lead from the general or the general took his lead from the president.

I have a very different view of this. First of all, I haven't heard any Afghan apologize for an Afghan killing two American soldiers and wounding four others. I haven't heard the president ask for an apology from Karzai for the killing of two American soldiers and wounding of four others by an Afghan soldier -- an Afghan soldier who was probably paid by the United States, trained by the United States, and equipped by the United States.

What you have is deliberate fomenting of religious extremism, in a situation which wouldn't apply for example in Syria where Assad routinely has bombed anything he needs to bomb. Hasn't happened in other countries in the Middle East as long as it was Muslim against Muslim.

And look around the region -- churches get burned in Nigeria. Does anyone apologize?

Churches get burned in Egypt. Does anyone get apologized?

Of the people who are Christians in Iraq, 1.2 million when we arrived -- 700,000 have fled the country. Has anyone apologized?

In Malaysia, churches are burned. Does anybody apologize?

There is a one sided traffic and outrage which we tolerate and frankly we help enabled.

I'm not saying -- I'm not defending burning the Koran, although the circumstances in which they were being used would strike me as in itself having been blasphemous, because as I understand it, they were being used as part of the process of passing out messages from people who are in prison. But I don't know all the details.

What I do know is we have this one sided game where our troops get killed. Nobody apologizes. And now we're supposed to be the ones on defense.

And I understand General Allen's in a difficult situation. But if President Karzai is not prepared to apologize for the killing of two Americans by an Afghan soldier, the wounding of four others, I think this is a two-way street, and we ought to assess deeply and exactly what we think is going on.

MORGAN: So, you think it was wrong of General Allen to issue an apology then before we received an apology or the American forces received an apology for the death of the two soldiers?

GINGRICH: I think -- I think had the general and the president, and President Karzai had a joint appearance and said jointly this is a very unfortunate circumstance. Clearly, the Americans did not intend to cause religious -- violations of religious tenets. And clearly the Afghan government deeply regrets the deaths of Americans. I'd feel dramatically better.

But I think this one sided street which is typical of the Obama administration of going around the world apologizing for America and never demanding respect.

These are troops serving under the commander in chief. And he owes them some protection. And I think that it's very unfortunate that the rules of engagement seem to be entirely one sided.

MORGAN: Is it a given fact, though, given all the controversy of the burning of Korans. We had the crazy American pastor doing it last year and creating huge havoc for American troops on the ground. Given its sensitivity, given how delicate that particular issue is with people in Afghanistan, wasn't it pretty awful that this was allowed to happen in the first place? I mean, the incineration of the Koran --

GINGRICH: It was a mistake. Piers --

(CROSSTALK)

GINGRICH: Piers, you ought to talk to Congressman Allen West who is a lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Army. Ask him how complicated and confused battlefields get, how tired people get, and asked him how one sided the rules of engagement are.

You know, I think we have gotten to a point of bending over backwards where we pretend this is an orderly process. It's not. These folks are engaged in war. And, you know, a lot of young men and women out there are doing the best they can. And there is an unfortunate tendency in this administration to always assume that it's the Americans who made mistakes. It's the Americans that need to be apologized for.

And I'm pretty unrepentant on this. I'm tired of arguing men and women being ambushed, bombed, shot. And then we're being told we have to be sensitive.

Well, I think the other side ought to be a little sensitive, too.

MORGAN: Final question on this point. Given what you've been saying, you're very strong of your rhetoric here. There are many people that agree with you. It's a debate that's been raging all day.

If you were president, are you saying if this had been your situation under your watch, you would not only refuse to apologize before getting an apology from Hamid Karzai for the death of the soldiers, but you would also stop General Allen from making an apology?

GINGRICH: What I would have asked for is a joint appearance. Look, I think we need to have -- look, if we can't be side by side with our Afghan ally. We don't have an ally.

We've just seen in Pakistan this same pattern played out where we learned that for seven years, the Pakistanis had been protecting bin Laden. We learned that he was in a large compound in a military city, less than a mile from their national defense university.

Now, what have we learned since then? Did the Pakistanis go out and find the people who've been protecting him? No. They went out and arrested the person who helped us find him.

Now, I just think across the whole region, we better get a grip on reality and we better reassess how we're doing things in a very profound way because I think the region is spinning out of control. And I think it's getting more dangerous.

MORGAN: Let's turn to gas prices. You come out and said that if you were president, you would get gas prices down to $2.50. You attracted a lot of quizzical eyebrows, Mr. Speaker, let me put it as politely as that.

I suppose my question to you is this: you've been very strong about Iran. And you were again in a debate the other night, along with the other candidates. One of the reasons that gas prices have been surging this week is on the back of an increasing fear around the world, that there would be military action involving Iran and that that will impact on oil prices.

Can you honestly continue to ramp up a rhetoric against Iran and sustain a credible argument that you would at the same time bring gas prices down to $2.50 when everybody knows the two would be inextricably linked?

GINGRICH: Honestly, first of all, that's precisely why we better have an American energy policy. I mean, our strategic goals should be to get the United States producing so much oil and gas that we don't care what happens in the Straits of Hormuz. I think we have a deep strategic interest in becoming once again the largest oil producer in the world. And my guess is we could be the largest oil producer before the end of this decade.

Let me give just you three examples so you would understand that this is a fact-based analysis.

If the president had signed the Keystone pipeline, 700,000 barrels a day of Canadian oil would be flowing to Houston. If the president had reopened the Gulf of Mexico the way he should have, 400,000 additional barrels a day would be under production. If the president would open known areas in Alaska that we already know have oil, there's 1.2 million barrels right there. This is without opening up any place else.

But if the president had prepared to open up a lot of other areas, I think you could see us surge in production pretty dramatically. And if we had a couple of tax changes, including 100 percent expensing so all equipment could be written off in one year, you would see so many independents out there exploring and developing new sources of energy.

Take a look at North Dakota which today has 3.5 percent unemployment and 16,000 unfilled positions in the oil industry because the folks who are unemployed don't have the right skill sets for the jobs available. That is a lot better future for America than the president's policies.

MORGAN: I mean, the president said yesterday that anybody who tells you we can drill our way out of this problem doesn't know what we're talking about or just isn't telling the truth. So, basically, he's saying -- Speaker Gingrich, you're either lying or don't know what you're talking about.

GINGRICH: Look, the president is a left wing radical who appointed as secretary of anti-energy, Dr. Chu, who has said publicly that he wants all American oil and gasoline prices to reach European levels.

Now, to have a secretary of energy who wants us to pay $9 or $10 a gallon strike me as the exact opposite of what most people want as a secretary of energy. I mean, I don't know if you've actually read the president's speech, but it could be on "Saturday Night Live."

One of the president's solutions, I just gave you three factual things he could do today, just the signing of the pen, no change of law from Congress, build the pipeline, reopen the Gulf, open up the areas in Alaska. You can do it today.

What does he have? He talks about algae. Now, I think biofuels are important. I've supported biofuels.

I think in the long run, algae's important. But the idea that he thinks drilling won't work so he's advocating algae? I mean, it really is very close to a "Saturday Night Live" skit.

MORGAN: Let's take a little break, Mr. Speaker. When we come back, I want to talk about the primary in Michigan and the auto bailout issue which continues to rage and polarize opinion.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MORGAN: Right now, my special guest, former Speaker Newt Gingrich.

Speaker Gingrich, let's talk about the auto bailout issue. Where exactly do you stand out on the validity of that bailout?

GINGRICH: Well, I think it would have been much better to have gone through a bankruptcy proceeding. I think they probably needed some kind of a bridge loan for a very short period of time, but had they gone through a regular bankruptcy that it would have all worked out better. They would have had a greater level of change than they finally got.

And I think the Obama administration's interventions tended to prop up the United Auto Workers union at the expense of everybody else.

You know, the problem that people have to recognize is, overall, the American auto industry wasn't in trouble. Honda wasn't in trouble. BMW wasn't in trouble. Mercedes wasn't in trouble.

The folks who were in trouble were United Auto Workers, and the companies United Auto Workers dominated, and the companies where the United Auto Workers refused to make changes in work procedures and changes in costs and where the management went along with them.

And I think that that was exactly the kind of problem that was best solved in a bankruptcy proceeding, where the reality of the law forced them into a level of change they needed.

They got less change this way. They still have a higher cost structure. And I think, in that sense, this was not as good an approach.

And I think it was also, frankly, a very bad example of the Obama administration intervening to pick winners and losers. They picked the United Auto Workers to win. They picked all of the bondholders to lose.

I think that's very dangerous. I think you -- you want the legal process to go forward, not a political process.

MORGAN: The problem, according to those that were involved in this process very closely, with this idea of a managed bankruptcy, is that, actually, nobody was prepared to put any money up for this. There was no private equity money available. They tried everywhere.

And in the end, if the government hadn't intervened, you could easily have seen Chrysler and GM go under. And the impact of that on the industry, leading, potentially, to even Ford hitting big trouble and maybe going under.

And no government in America could allow that to happen.

So, isn't this a slight mythology about the managed bankruptcy, because the reality was the private equity money simply wasn't there to do it anyway?

GINGRICH: No, the -- what you had was an opportunity for the federal government to make a narrowly designed bridge loan just to get through the initial process and then allow the bankruptcy judge to implement the rules. What you had was political appointees in the Obama administration basically micromanaging it. I mean, you had an auto czar, somebody picked by Obama, basically carrying out the president's wishes.

And I think that's very dangerous for the U.S. economy. You don't want American presidents intervening to micromanage, as they just did with Solyndra, where they picked a winner who turned out to be a loser. They put up over a half billion dollars in guarantees. And we now discover, by the way, that the guys who were managing the bankruptcy are getting bonuses.

So, I think it's very dangerous to politicize investment policy and to end up with the president choosing winners and losers. And, clearly, what they did in terms of his appointee going into the Chrysler/General Motors bailout was specifically pick the president's political allies to win and other people to lose.

MORGAN: But here's the problem for all the Republican candidates, as the Michigan primary comes along, is that if you're in Michigan, in the car industry, you're saying, right, there was this huge financial crisis, we were all facing kind of financial Armageddon.

Now, the industry is booming, you know, Chrysler and GM recording great new profits and loads of jobs have poured back into Michigan, and unemployment is now coming down.

So they're saying, well, hang on, how big a disaster could this have been?

Isn't the reality that, whether you liked it or not, the bailout has worked?

GINGRICH: Well, the reality is that the bailout has worked to some extent. It's also left the union dramatically stronger than it would have been. It has shifted the balance of power inside the companies decisively.

And remember, Chrysler's now -- is now Fiat. So you saved the American company by making it not an American company. That wasn't exactly precisely what Obama was campaigning on.

MORGAN: Let's turn to the Republican race. You know, it's been an extraordinary battle to watch, as the leadership keeps changing hands. You've been frontrunner. You've been dead in the water. I can barely keep up with you, Newt.

The reality of where we are now, I think, is post the debate last week, the Santorum surge hit a bit of a breaker. Mitt Romney had an OK night. Ron Paul did a Ron Paul act. And most people seem to think you had a good night.

So does this put you back in the race?

And the reason I ask that is that some people in the party have been saying, by your argument, which was when you won in South Carolina, Rick Santorum should now stand aside, some people say because of the Santorum surge, you should be standing aside.

GINGRICH: Well, I think we have to have this conversation again after we get done with Michigan and Arizona. But the fact is, up until about a week ago, I was clearly in number two spot. I had survived Romney paying some $20 million in negative ads in Florida. I still was in number two. I was in number two in Nevada.

Then Santorum did something very clever. He campaigned in three states nobody else was in. He won them. The media declared him a big winner and he bounced forward. Now we'll see how he does in Arizona and Michigan.

I am focused on Super Tuesday. You know, if you think this race looks wild from your side, you ought to be with us. Callista and I feel like we've been on a roller coaster, sort of -- sort of like Space Mountain in Disney where -- where it's all in the dark and you don't know where you've been, where you're going or where you are.

But I think my mission is to take big ideas like $2.50 a gallon gas and diesel, translate an American energy policy. We have a 30- minute speech outlining it at Newt.org.

And, if you'll remember, by being positive and having big ideas, we actually, in December, were ahead by 15 to 21 points nationally without ever having bought a single ad.

So I'm working back to the same kind of very positive campaign. I think it contrasts very decisively with Romney's remarkably negative campaign. And we'll see, over the next six weeks, how people feel if they're given a choice between a very positive conservative and a very negative moderate.

And I feel like this could turn out to be a very good campaign by the time it's done.

MORGAN: So the Newt Gingrich devil's horn has been put to one side and the halo is back?

GINGRICH: Well, look, I think the -- the so-called devil's horn was largely a media myth. When you get hit with $20 million in negative advertising in three weeks in one state, all sorts of things fall down around you.

I always have believed in very large solutions. I think this country can only actually get back on the right track by very big solutions. As speaker of the House, I helped balance the budget for four straight years. That's a pretty large solution.

We reformed welfare and two out of three people went to work or went to school. That was a large solution.

We had the biggest capital gains tax cut in history and created 11 million new jobs and unemployment dropped to 4.2 percent. Compared to right now, that would be a pretty good world.

So I'm going to keep campaigning on those kind of positive achievements. And here in Washington State, we're getting great reaction. I think we'll do very well in the caucuses here. And I think we'll do very well on Super Tuesday.

MORGAN: Speaker Gingrich, thank you very much.

GINGRICH: Good to be with you.

MORGAN: On Monday, more from my candid interview with candidate Gingrich, including his views on culture wars.

Coming up next: Oscar politics. Harvey Weinstein goes for gold with his biggest gamble ever, "The Artist."

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(MOVIE CLIP PLAYS, 'THE ARTIST" COURTESY BY WEINSTEIN COMPANY)

MORGAN: This Sunday, the world will be watching the 84th Annual Academy Awards. You just saw a moment from the frontrunner, the black and white silent movie "The Artist," with 10 nominations.

And the man behind the film joins me now. Harvey Weinstein has a total 16 nominations this year, making him indisputably Mr. Oscar.

Harvey, welcome back.

WEINSTEIN: Piers --

MORGAN: How many nominations have you had in your history?

WEINSTEIN: Three hundred and three.

MORGAN: Have you really?

WEINSTEIN: Yes.

MORGAN: How many times have you won?

WEINSTEIN: Eighty-two.

MORGAN: That's incredible.

WEINSTEIN: Me, too.

MORGAN: Nobody beat that.

WEINSTEIN: I don't know if they can. But, you know, I'm sure they will.

MORGAN: Can you think of anyone in history who has more nominations?

WEINSTEIN: For the period of time, the amount of best picture nominations we have which is 20, over like 25 years, nobody's come close to that.

MORGAN: How does that make you feel? King of the Oscars.

WEINSTEIN: Pretty good because I think -- I've always thought the Oscars stand for quality. And what they're saying is the movies are great.

And what I'm always proudest is of not what you might think. You know, I'm I like writing nominations because to me, the movies begin with great writing. And when we get those multiple writing nominations, that shows me that production team is doing the right job.

MORGAN: What's interesting about your career path because you had this huge rise to superstardom, then the blip that everybody needs, the pit moment, everybody needs. But then you've come back. Correct me if I'm wrong, but it seems with a much more creatively artistic bent to the stuff you're doing.

You're taking more risks with stuff that -- I guess, instinctively you're thinking this might not rip up the box office. But this is brilliant movie making. Am I right?

WEINSTEIN: You're 100 percent right. It's how I started in 1989. In 1989, I did "Sex, Lies, and Videotape." No one ever thought that movie could play even in a multiplex in the neighborhood. I had "Cinema Paradiso" that year.

"My Left Foot" -- I had five studio heads who told me that "My Left Foot" was a movie about gimps, and that would bring no money at all. Then Daniel Day-Lewis won for best actor. And that was my first picture nomination, "My Left Foot."

So, I'm going back, you know. I'm revisiting my old self 20 years ago. And over the last four years, each year, we build steady and steady. And the company continues to do better and better and better.

MORGAN: Still today, that the secret of all movies, successful ones, is pretty much the same. You set up the characters. You start to enjoy them, they're doing something good, and then, boom, they have this terrible collapse, and then you have the redemption and glory.

"The Artist" is a bit like that. It is the classic movie template. It's just silent. WEINSTEIN: I think that we like all of those stories because they have reverses and they're unpredictable. I think we don't see these I think these things coming. When they're predictable and you sit there and go, OK, you telegraphed this from 10 miles away, it's boring as can be. The art of a great director is to do that and slip one in on you. It's almost like a Houdini magic trick.

MORGAN: "The Artist," I would say, is your biggest gamble that you have ever taken, to bring back the silent movie genre. I would imagine lots of people around -- I know they did -- were saying, Harvey, you finally lost it. This is hubris out of control. It's all gone to your head.

"The King's Speech" glory, you know think you're ruling the world and you've gone mad.

WEINSTEIN: Piers, you captured it beautifully. Three weeks after we win the Oscar for best picture last year for "The King's Speech," I get this phone call. I mean, I had read the script. I knew the director. I knew the producer. These were people that I knew. I had followed this project personally.

And I just decided to go to Paris from New York on a phone call. I call home and I say guys, I just bought a movie. They said great. Tell us about it. Black and white, OK. It stars Jean Dejardin. Who's he? Well, Harvey, you don't really need that much cap. And Barry (INAUDIBLE). And they said cool, great, fabulous. Half the world, great.

I tell them the price. And then they say anything else? I said, oh, I forgot one thing. It's silent.

And at that point, it was all bedlam in the office. They said to me you have to go before the board of directors. I said I didn't know we had a board of directors of the company. They said we've had one for 25 years. I go really? We really have a board of directors?

I had to go to the board of directors. But we showed the movie.

MORGAN: Did you have any doubt that it would be a success?

WEINSTEIN: Not a one.

MORGAN: Tell me about the Oscar. If you won, would it be the most satisfying victory of your entire career, do you think?

WEINSTEIN: Probably, because this is against all odds. This is the biggest gamble that the company took. It is the most craziest thing ever. I read an article in the "LA Times" where the writer said "The Artist" has only grossed 28 million dollars so far. If he would have sat -- it's only been in 800 theaters.

If he would sat with me in a rough cut in April and said, how much do you think this black and white, silent movie is going to gross --

MORGAN: Starring French actors.

WEINSTEIN: -- starring French actors, he probably would have said two million, or I would have said two million, whatever. The fact that it's at 80 million dollars worldwide, it cost 14 million dollars. The one thing, Piers, that always gives us a huge advantage at my company? Mom made us go to school and they also taught us how to add.

And when 120 million dollar movie, which is what they talked about, grosses 30 million dollars and costs 50 to market, that's 170 million dollar movie. When a 14 million movie grosses 28 million dollars and 80 worldwide, that's good numbers.

MORGAN: So you've made good money on this?

WEINSTEIN: You know what? This is the point on a going forward basis that for the producer, us and everybody else, this could become extremely profitable. I didn't do it for the money, but it's been the ride of a lifetime.

MORGAN: You didn't do it for the money?

WEINSTEIN: A black and white film; I've done plenty of movies for money. This wasn't one of them, Piers. Trust me.

MORGAN: What's the most shameless movie for money you have ever made?

WEINSTEIN: I lost a movie that I wanted to distribute -- that I wanted to buy the script called "Cruel Intentions." I was so angry that I called the producer and director and said, I'm going to make a teen movie. I'd never made a teen comedy in my life.

They go Harvey Weinstein, you're incapable of making a teen movie. I'm going to make this movie so cheap, cheaper than you, and I'm going to out-gross you. And I made "She's All That." God bless Freddie Prinz. He was in the movie. I made it for nine million dollars and grossed 130 million dollars, and I whipped their butts.

And I haven't made a teen comedy since.

MORGAN: Talking of teens, let's come back after break. There's a big story breaking at the moment which is about this movie you made about bullying. Another brave movie which has now been given an adult rating, thereby stopping all the people who should be seeing it from seeing it.

I know you're steaming mad. Let's get a bit of the anger after the break and why.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You're my buddy, OK.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm not your buddy. I will (EXPLETIVE DELETED)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'll cut your face off. I'll bring a knife tomorrow. You know what I'm saying?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yeah, I know what you're saying.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MORGAN: That's a clip from this movie called "Bully," Harvey. Now, you wanted passionately to make this movie because you feel that bullying is getting out of control up and down this country's schools. Now we've just heard that the rating will be an adult rating, an R rating, which means most of the kids that ought to see this, either the perpetrators of the victims, are not going to be allowed to see it legally.

What do you think about it?

WEINSTEIN: First of all, this is a movie that we found at the Tribeca Film Festival. The director called me at 1:00 in the morning and said I have to know that you're serious. My team had saw it that night. I was in Connecticut.

I said I'm getting in my car and driving down there now. I went and saw the movie. I cried at the end of the film, and I said this is a mission for me, and especially for somebody who's known 10 years ago to have a bad temper. It's almost an act of redemption to do this movie on a personal basis.

But more importantly, as a father of four girls, you know, as a father, period, I wanted to do this film. The moronic decision today -- and I don't use words like that lightly. And I've never said anything even close to that on television.

To not allow young people to watch this movie -- they want parents to take their kids. When I was 13 years old, the idea of me going with my mother and father to see any movie sounded like medicine. I want every 13 and 14-year-old to be able to go to this movie by themselves, watch the effects of these kids who bully other kids and make their own minds up that that's just uncool.

You don't win this by mom and dad taking their kids to the movie. Let mom and dad see the movie on their own and talk to their kids about it. But this is not -- this again, this is nothing about money. This movie -- I have plenty of movies. I have a movie with Quentin Tarentino next year. We have a movie right now called -- there's plenty

MORGAN: This is important to you.

WEINSTEIN: This is important to me because I've heard too many stories about cyber-bullies from my daughters. You know, the Duchess of Cambridge went to a school that Georgina, my wife, knows very well because they ended up going to the same school. She was bullied there.

Michelle Obama has reached out to us on this. Lady Gaga has reached out to us. There -- Johnny Depp.

MORGAN: Do you have any right of appeal? How does this work?

WEINSTEIN: This was the appeal.

MORGAN: So that's it.

WEINSTEIN: We lost. The only thing I can do is leave the MPAA, which I've already served notice that I'm going to do. Either I'll take a leave of absence and they can welcome me back or I'm out of it. For me, that has great financial repercussions. But I'm -- you know, we better find another solution. This doesn't work.

MORGAN: There's an element of hypocrisy, because they're using the reason of bad language in the movie. Yet other movies have been given a PG-13 with very similar bad language.

WEINSTEIN: There are so many movies that are PG-13, including some of my own, with sex, decapitation, you know, tons of the S word instead of the F word. The only thing about this movie is the F word is used six time, like kids at 13 years old don't do it. Two times you can hear it, and four times you barely can. You're only allowed to use it once.

It's such a realistic movie. We have cameras of this kids on the bus beating this boy up. This boy, Alex Libby, comes today. He's 14 years old. He's been bullied, beat up in this school, a school that ignores, a school that says to the kids -- instead of disciplining, they said, you know, don't worry, Alex, everybody's going to grow up. It's a phase you're going through.

It's not a phase to the two kids in this movie who hung themselves.

MORGAN: If it comes to it, could you not just edit out some of the offending F word parts of the movie?

WEINSTEIN: I don't think we should. Whatever. I think this is realistic. I think it's authentic. And I think we should win this battle rather than start editing the movie. I mean, I -- you know, the director, the people behind it -- the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, the School Board of Cincinnati saw the film. The people there were arranging for 40,000 people to see the film if it got rated PG-13.

Now those 40,000 kids can't go to see the movie. They can't go without their parents.

MORGAN: It's utterly ridiculous. I'm totally with you. They just see sense, because this is a powerful movie. I think it should be seen. Young people should see it, exactly without their parents. Who wants to go and see a movie like this with their mom or dad? Nobody. I've got four kids. I'm with you, Harvey.

WEINSTEIN: Thank you, Piers. I want to tell you one thing. Just people ask me all the time what the secret of the Oscar is. How do you win with those nominations and victories. I have to tell you, the new secret is coming on your show.

MORGAN: I was about to say, last year "King's Speech," they came on, you won. This year, "The Artist" favorite because they came on the show.

WEINSTEIN: And some of the people with me didn't come on the show.

MORGAN: Meryl Streep has got to be kicking herself.

WEINSTEIN: I think she is.

MORGAN: If she doesn't win best actress, we'll all know why, right, Harvey?

WEINSTEIN: But the thing about Meryl Streep is she's such a sweetheart and she's loves Viola Davis. She'll probably be the one --

MORGAN: She won't mind losing.

WEINSTEIN: If she does, and lord I hope not -- I mean, she's such a great person. She really is magnanimous.

MORGAN: They could be an even bigger shock --.

WEINSTEIN: This show, this show. next Year, please ask me back.

MORGAN: I've got more news for you. Because I yesterday recorded my first movie role in this studio. I play myself in the next Denzel Washington thriller. And he put the offer in before you did, Harvey. So I might be up against you next year.

WEINSTEIN: Piers, I was thinking more like a "King's Speech" kind of role for you.

MORGAN: I like this, Harvey. Best of luck on Sunday. I will be partying with you either way. So win or lose, but I know you want to win.

WEINSTEIN: Thank you. I really appreciate it. Thank you.

MORGAN: Harvey Weinstein says he'll resign from the Motion Picture Association of America over the R Rating given to his movie "Bully." The MPAA released this statement in response, saying "bullying is a serious issue and a subject that parents should discuss with their children. The MPAA agrees with the Weinstein Company that "Bully" can serve as a vehicle for such important discussions. The rating and rating descriptor of some language indicate to parents that this movie contains certain language.

"With that, some parents may choose to take their kids to this movie. Others may not. But it's their choice and not ours to make it for them."

Coming up, one of Hollywood's best Oscar predictors; his picks for Sunday's winners. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MORGAN: There they are, rolling out the red carpet for Hollywood's biggest night, the Oscars. And here with me now, the go- to guy for all things Oscar, Dave Karger of "Entertainment Weekly." He joins me to break down Sunday's show.

Dave, I'm told that you have a 90 percent success rate in predicting Oscar winners. Is that true?

DAVE KARGER, "ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY": It is true.

MORGAN: For the big awards, right.

KARGER: No, for all the awards.

MORGAN: Really?

KARGER: All 24.

MORGAN: Ninety percent?

KARGER: That's right.

MORGAN: Wow.

KARGER: But we'll see what happens this year.

MORGAN: Let's just see how good you are. So best actor? Jean Dejardin --

KARGER: Well pronounced.

MORGAN: -- or George Clooney?

KARGER: I'm going against the grain on this one and saying George Clooney. Jean Dejardin won the Screen Actors Guild Award and the British Academy Award, which are the two awards that have overlapped between their voting bodies and the Oscars? So statistics are on Jean Dejardin's side.

But I still have talked to a lot of voters who are going with George Clooney. He has a supporting actor Oscar, but I think they want him to have a best actor one too.

MORGAN: I thought Clooney was brilliant in "Descendants." It was one of the most I thought interesting roles that he's ever taken on. He was superb at it. Having said that, Jean Dejardin is such a wonderful character. And this kind of romantic thing -- I think we're 84, 85 years into the Oscars -- of a silent movie -- you've got to be a pretty good damn actor to be Oscar nominated for a silent movie, right?

KARGER: There's not many people who could have done that role. He likes to joke about how overall expressive his face is. That's cost him roles over the years. There's no one that could have done this role in "The Artist" as well as could have because of that.

MORGAN: Right. George Clooney is your best pick. Best actress, Viola or Meryl?

KARGER: Viola. And I hope Harvey Weinstein's not here listening to me say this, but unfortunately Meryl Streep will not win. Viola Davis will win because the Oscar voters were more moved by her performance in "The Help" than they were by Meryl Streep's admittedly incredible, off the charts Margaret Thatcher.

MORGAN: Here's the thing, I love Meryl Streep, but I agree be you. Because I actually think that her performance was a brilliant impersonation. Everyone has been blown away by the fact she looked and sounded exactly like Margaret Thatcher. And I know because I knew Margaret Thatcher and her many times.

So she was brilliantly, uncannily like her. But I didn't think it was as good a movie.

KARGER: You'll see "The Iron Lady," by the way, win an Oscar on Sunday for best makeup for the amazing job they had done on Meryl Streep.

MORGAN: That would be right. Meryl's going to win millions of Oscars anyway.

Best picture, "The Artist," "Descendants," "Hugo" and "The Help" are deemed to be the top four.

KARGER: It's not even close. This is "The Artist's" award. "Artist" will win best director, best picture. And I think it will win somewhere between five and eight Oscars, depending on what kind of a sweep you have going on.

MORGAN: Here is the thing I asked Harvey, which is it's all very well having a movie that wins all these awards. But it hasn't done great at the box office.

KARGER: No.

MORGAN: Why are they all going down this road of artsy movies which nobody really goes to watch in big numbers?

KARGER: Back in the day, in the '80s, and early '90s, if I can call that the day, movies like "Raiders of The Lost Ark" and "E.T." and "Ghost" and "The Fugitive" all got nominated for best picture. In the last 15 years, there has been this disconnect, where the movies that the general audience loves don't get nominated.

So Harry Potter and "Bridesmaids" and "Transformers" and things like that. That's fine by me because I love movies like "The Artist" and "The King's Speech" and "The Hurt Locker." But there is a disconnect. And that is one of the reasons why the ratings for the Oscars have gone down over the years.

MORGAN: Yes, I think you're right, but it doesn't necessarily make it wrong. It's just it makes it less popular.

KARGER: Yes, if "Transformers" was a best picture nominee, I would be so bummed out about it.

MORGAN: Let's turn to the host, because your cover is Billy Crystal. Fantastic. He's done -- how many Oscars has he done?

KARGER: Eight or nine.

MORGAN: Something like that. He's one of my favorite comedians ever. But he hasn't done it for a year years. He came in late, replacing Eddie Murphy. And there is a slight sense of trepidation that he can still do it. It's like bringing back Babe Ruth, you know, 10 years after he last pitched.

KARGER: It's true. Billy Crystal did come in for a segment last year at the Oscars though, the one that, of course, Anne Hathaway and James Franco hosted. Everyone hated them. When you saw Billy Crystal, there was this ah feeling.

I was excited for Eddie Murphy. I can't lie. I think Billy Crystal is kind of the equivalent of comfort food. He tastes good, but he's not too spicy. I don't think you're going to see Ricky Gervais moments at the Oscars.

MORGAN: But is that the problem now for any Oscars host, that Ricky Gervais has turned the whole thing on its head and he's made the Globes so watchable because he's so incorrect towards everybody? Now you go back to correctness and formality and everyone's wonderful. It's not quite the same, is it?

KARGER: Yes, it's not quite the same. Also, the Oscars have it in their bylaws that all 24 awards have to be handed out. So unlike the Globes, where there are stars in every category basically, you have all these categories that the Oscars that the regular viewers don't know about it.

MORGAN: And the unknown ones always want to bang on for hours on end, because they're hooches.

KARGER: They do.

MORGAN: It's like they should be banned. I would ban all speeches over 10 seconds. Thank your mother. Thank your agents. And the rest of them, frankly, were the beneficiaries of those two people's work.

KARGER: That would be nice. It's not going to happen. This is their one moment to shine. They want to have their spotlight.

MORGAN: Finally question, within the red carpet, I know, who do you think will be the best dressed of the night?

KARGER: Oh, my God, am I Joan Rivers all of a sudden?

MORGAN: Why not? KARGER: I always like seeing Michelle Williams. I just love her look.

MORGAN: I think if Sophia Vergara shows up, she wins. Thanks a lot, Dave.

KARGER: My pleasure.

MORGAN: We'll test your little predictions on Monday.

Coming up next, Only in America, the best of the Oscars and why it's an honor just to be nominated. Yes, of course.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MORGAN: Tonight, Only in America would a silent Frenchman be waging war with a British battle-ax, a baseball nerd going toe to toe with an English thespian, and a Mississippi maid be preparing to take down a Scandinavian computer hacker.

And Only in America would 1930s Paris be locked in mortal combat with modern day Hawaii, while a horse and dog look on. And Only in America would some 40 million viewers drop everything to watch the most glamorous people on the planet weep, wail and grit their teeth while spending hundreds of millions of dollars in crazed pursuit of a nine inch gold plated bobble, itself worth just 500 dollars.

And still pretend they don't really care if they win or not. Yes, it's Oscar weekend, and what happened in Hollywood will make headlines all over the world. So good luck to every nominee. And remember, it really is just an honor to just be nominated, which is why the studios spend 100 million dollars every Oscar season in a desperate attempt to win.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SACHA BARON COHEN, ACTOR: Good morning great Satan of America. How are you? I am fine. Thank you.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MORGAN: Now, a follow up to last night's Only in America. That was Sacha Baron Cohen, in character as the Dictator. He issued a statement today, throwing down the gauntlet to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Science, which had threatened to ban him from Sunday's Oscars.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

COHEN: I'm outraged at being banned from the Oscars by the Academy of Motion Pictures, Arts, and Zionists. I warn you that if you do not lift your sanctions and give me my tickets back by 12:00 p.m. on Sunday, you will face unimaginable consequences.

(END VIDEO CLIP) MORGAN: Well, now the Academy has caved in. Oscars producer Brian Grazer tells "Extra," we're thrilled to have him. They may not know exactly what they're in for, if this is any indication

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

COHEN: How was that? Did that sound crazy enough?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MORGAN: That's all for us tonight. "AC 360" starts right now.