I forgot earlier today to attend the Sundance Film Festival opening press conference, during which festival founder Robert Redford always talks a bit and answers questions. Today somebody asked his reaction to being excluded in the Best Actor race — a race that many believed early on was Redford’s to lose. The truth is that he threw in the towel early on. After giving a few interviews in September and October, Redford never campaigned. He never stepped up to the plate and worked it like Bruce Dern or Matthew McConaughey, possibly because All Is Lost‘s poor box-office had convinced him that a nomination wasn’t in the cards.
Perhaps Redford sensed this himself or perhaps the All Is Lost p.r. guys (David Pollick, Michael Lawson) told him this. And then he wasn’t nominated by SAG for an acting nomination, and that’s when award-season handicappers went “uh-oh, he’s in trouble.” I’d been hearing all along that Academy members either didn’t want to see All Is Lost or they would watch the DVD screener and then turn it off after 20 or 30 minutes.
Redford said at today’s press conference that it was basically the fault of Lionsgate, the distributor of All Is Lost. “In our case, we suffered from little to no distribution,” he said. “I don’t know what they were afraid of. They didn’t want to spend money or they were incapable. We had no campaign to cross over into the mainstream.”
“I’ve been part of the Hollywood film industry for much of my career,” Redford explained. “I’m very happy about it. Hollywood is what it is. It’s a business. There’s a lot of campaigning going on and it can be very political.” Redford emphasized that he wasn’t bitter or lethargic. “Would it have been wonderful to be nominated?” he asked. “Of course. [But] I’m not disturbed by it or upset by it.”