Ever since I saw “All Is Lost” at Cannes in May, I’ve been looking forward to seeing its star, Robert Redford, take his victory laps on the awards circuit. In J.C. Chandor’s film – a harrowing account of a lone sailor’s efforts to save his own life after his sailboat is swamped in the Indian Ocean – Redford delivers what can only be described as a bravura performance: expressive, physically punishing, and all the more impressive for being almost entirely silent, save for a brief voiceover at the beginning of the film.
The fact that Redford was overlooked in the Screen Actors Guild nominations this morning is alarming: SAG nominations are commonly seen as Academy Awards harbingers, with the Guild and the acting branch of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences enjoying a fair amount of overlap in their membership. (Each branch makes its own respective nominations; the entire Academy votes on the ultimate winners.)
But the snub is infuriating as well, considering that, with the Sundance Film Festival and Sundance Institute, the 77-year-old Redford has almost single-handedly created and preserved the kind of movies that allow SAG members to do the kind of meaty, challenging, risky work they always say they want more of. A tip of the hat to Redford – not of gratitude as much as recognition that he still has the chops after all these years — would have been nice, not to mention well-deserved.
Oddly enough, “All Is Lost” did manage to snag one SAG nomination, for Outstanding Action Performance by a Stunt Ensemble in a Motion Picture. Since Redford reportedly performed many of his own stunts in the film, maybe that means he was nominated after all. If not in so many words.