In a recent HE comment thread Variety editor Steven Gaydos suggested that the big Oscar story of the moment is whether or not All Is Lost‘s Robert Redford and Nebraska‘s Bruce Dern will both be nominated for Best Actor or — this is new — one taking the other down like in a prize fight. I’m not saying this is likely, but it’s starting to seem at least possible. Perhaps the better word is conceivable.
Conventional wisdom has maintained all along that the Academy won’t nominate two septugenarian contenders. Redford most likely but not Redford and Dern. But maybe they will? I’ve been presuming all along that Redford is the lock and Dern might land the fifth slot. The presumed pecking order is 12 years A Slave‘s Chiwetel Ejiofor, Dallas Buyers Club‘s Matthew McConaughey, Redford and Captain Phillips‘ Tom Hanks. If Dern slips in he’ll have to push his way past Wolf of Wall Street‘s Leonardo DiCaprio, The Butler‘s Forrest Whitaker and American Hustle‘s Christian Bale.
But now I’m thinking that Dern might just hustle his way into that fifth slot because he’s working it really hard. Harder than Redford, I mean, for the time being. (Or so it seems from my vantage point in Vietnam.) Reading that Dern has a Career Achievement Award celebration at the 2014 Palm Springs Film Festival indicates that the Paramount team is pushing the Dern candidacy with more of a must-win fervor than the Redford team has managed thus far.
All I know is that suddenly it seems possible that Dern and Redford might both be nominated. If the Dern bandwagon keeps humping along it even seems possible (I can’t believe I’m writing this) that Dern will be nominated and Redford will get nudged out. Could that happen? I’m not saying it’s fire-alarm time in the Redford camp, but if I were them I wouldn’t be blase about things.