This image was lost some time after publication.

If the plot isn't exactly thickening today around Scott Rudin's exit from The Reader, it's at least sustaining a low, convoluted simmer. Still nobody knows for sure the specific reasons for Rudin's move beyond the obvious, routine desire to gut Harvey Weinstein with a letter opener, but looking forward, a few new clues suggest the Oscar-season bloodbath has a while before it's drained.One awards-season wag points out the notable absence of The Reader from the Weinstein Company Web site, which may not be as insidious as it sounds; a cached version of the site dated Oct. 6 — three days before Rudin's escape — didn't feature the film either (God forbid any marketing resources be expropriated from the Zack and Miri campaign, which isn't faring so well itself). Meanwhile, another report sketches a fraught relationship between Reader director Stephen Daldry and Weinstein's designated Reader go-between Donna Gigliotti: "[T]he entire team 'despise her,' 'won't deal with her' and 'regard her as a [Weinstein] stooge.'" And so soon after Rudin threw in the towel! Are you shocked? OK, us neither. Again, we may never know, but Rudin's motivation is likely twofold: First, cut his losses and save face with Daldry, Kate Winslet (essentially out of the picture now herself) and the survivors of the late co-producers Anthony Minghella and Sydney Pollack. Second, as we noted in our cluttered Rudin/Weinstein scorecard a few weeks back, the principals at Rudin's go-to Oscar-campaign firm once were Harvey's field marshals at Miramax. We're not the only ones skeptical that they would go back into the fire — particularly on this project, with the only despot in town who spends a million dollars to buy bad press. Life — and the turnaround time here — is way, way too short.