Will Robert Redford Finally Win Best Actor?

Slate's Culture Blog
Aug. 1 2013 4:52 PM

Will Robert Redford Finally Win Best Actor?

all_is_lost
Robert Redford weathers a storm in the forthcoming All is Lost.

Lionsgate

There have been several phases in Robert Redford’s career. In the beginning, he was hunky, All-American—a heartthrob with flashing blue eyes and killer charisma. Then he was the Sundance Kid, a star-making role he ably followed with strong performances in classic movies like The Sting and All the President’s Men. Next, he tried his hand behind the camera, which worked out well—he won Best Director for his debut film Ordinary People, and was nominated again for 1994’s Quiz Show. Now, after two hit-and-miss decades, it seems he’s after one last hurrah: clasping an Oscar for Best Actor after five decades of being a film icon.

Which just might work out. J.C. Chandor’s new film, All is Lost, features Redford as a man lost at sea after his boat is sunk by a collision with a shipping container. The trailer and film are mostly wordless, but you can almost hear Redford’s inner monologue upon accepting the role. One man lost at sea? I’m the only cast member? I can get a last stab at this thing! It worked for Tom Hanks! Hanks’ Cast Away turn lost out to a certain gladiator that year, but Redford’s take should give him a shot, at least, if the new trailer is any indication.

Advertisement

Redford did win an Oscar for Lifetime Achievement in 2002, but publicly admitted the award felt a bit condescending in its assumption that his career was winding down. The gripe was fair: The next year they gave the same honor to Peter O’Toole, who, at 70 years old, had been nominated for Best Actor seven times without winning. (A few years later he was nominated again, and lost again.)  

Awards aside, the movie looks like a transfixing account of one man’s struggle for survival. Reception at Cannes was effusive, and Chandor’s first effort, the Oscar-nominated Margin Call, was an incisive, insulated thriller that examined the latest Wall Street crisis from the inside out. All is Lost—which is largely silent and outside the realm of current events—presents a sharp contrast to that film, and it’s heartening to see both Chandor and Redford test their range. Despite the lost-at-sea trope being a tad overdone—that overhead shot in the trailer brings to mind a very similar shot in Life of Pi, albeit with fewer glowing whales—Redford has the gravitas and presence to imbue this narrative with something new, jarring, and yes, Oscar-worthy.

Sharan Shetty is a writer for Brow Beat. You can follow him on Twitter

TODAY IN SLATE

Foreigners

The World’s Politest Protesters

The Occupy Central demonstrators are courteous. That’s actually what makes them so dangerous.

The Religious Right Is Not Happy With Republicans  

The XX Factor
Oct. 1 2014 4:58 PM The Religious Right Is Not Happy With Republicans  

The Feds Have Declared War on Encryption—and the New Privacy Measures From Apple and Google

You Might Not Be Crazy if You Think You Can Hear the Earth Humming

These “Dark” Lego Masterpieces Are Delightful and Evocative

Crime

Operation Backbone

How White Boy Rick, a legendary Detroit cocaine dealer, helped the FBI uncover brazen police corruption.

Politics

Talking White

Black people’s disdain for “proper English” and academic achievement is a myth.

Activists Are Trying to Save an Iranian Woman Sentenced to Death for Killing Her Alleged Rapist

Piper Kerman on Why She Dressed Like a Hitchcock Heroine for Her Prison Sentencing

  News & Politics
Politics
Oct. 1 2014 7:26 PM Talking White Black people’s disdain for “proper English” and academic achievement is a myth.
  Business
Moneybox
Oct. 1 2014 2:16 PM Wall Street Tackles Chat Services, Shies Away From Diversity Issues 
  Life
Outward
Oct. 1 2014 6:02 PM Facebook Relaxes Its “Real Name” Policy; Drag Queens Celebrate
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 1 2014 5:11 PM Celebrity Feminist Identification Has Reached Peak Meaninglessness
  Slate Plus
Behind the Scenes
Oct. 1 2014 3:24 PM Revelry (and Business) at Mohonk Photos and highlights from Slate’s annual retreat.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Oct. 1 2014 6:39 PM Spoiler Special: Transparent
  Technology
Future Tense
Oct. 1 2014 6:59 PM EU’s Next Digital Commissioner Thinks Keeping Nude Celeb Photos in the Cloud Is “Stupid”
  Health & Science
Science
Oct. 1 2014 4:03 PM Does the Earth Really Have a “Hum”? Yes, but probably not the one you’re thinking.
  Sports
Sports Nut
Oct. 1 2014 5:19 PM Bunt-a-Palooza! How bad was the Kansas City Royals’ bunt-all-the-time strategy in the American League wild-card game?