The word “snub” is overused when people talk about the Oscars, but clearly the acting division of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences sent a message to Robert Redford this morning — We don’t like you!
One of the biggest stars in the history of movies takes a huge chance in a one-man survival story — “All is Lost” — wins a key critics prize (the New York Film Critics Circle), campaigns his butt off, and then is shown the door by his fellow thespians.
Some of the folks who were not nominated this morning — Tom Hanks and Emma Thompson, among them — have been shown a lot of Oscar love in years past, so it is easy to assume they came within a few votes of making the lists of acting nominees.
But Redford has never won an acting Oscar and has only been nominated once — back at the dawn of time for “The Sting” — so one can assume he is not a favorite of his peers. Is it jealousy? The very low-key acting style? Your guess is as good as mine.
The peerless Oscar forecaster Mark Harris made a good point in a recent Grantland column about “All is Lost” and Redford’s performance possibly not grabbing Oscar voters who watched DVD screeners. With no dialogue and deliberately slow pacing, “All is Lost” does not hook a viewer immediatelty, and if, as Harris wrote you “only half watch it on DVD” what Redford does might not seem so special.
The strange lack of Oscar love for Redford is not unique in the acting division.
Mia Farrow has never been nominated, even when actors around her scored nominations and then wins (Ruth Gordon in “Rosemary’s Baby” and Michael Caine and Dianne Wiest in “Hannah and Her Sisters”). Farrow gave a performance in “Broadway Danny Rose” that had Oscar written all over it and was not nominated.
Donald Sutherland must have felt a strange, Redford-like chill in 1980 when his three co-stars in “Ordinary People” — Mary Tyler Moore, Judd Hirsch and Timothy Hutton — were all nominated and he was not.
A decade later, Sutherland helped boost Stockard Channing to a nomination for best actress for “Six Degrees of Separation” but was left off the best actor list.
Sutherland has yet to be nominated despite a movie career spanning 50 years.