It’s been over a decade, and still the question lingers — what the hell happened, award-season-wise, to J.C. Chandor‘s All Is Lost and particularly to Robert Redford‘s towering performance in that film?

After a stellar and industrious career of 50-plus years Redford had given the finest performance of his career, a performance that seems all the more skillful and affecting because of its deftness and spareness and near-silence. And yet he was blown off by SAG colleagues and Academy members because…okay, because he didn’t campaign that much (certainly not to the extent that Bruce Dern did) but mainly because those wankers couldn’t be bothered to watch All Is Lost.

Why? Because they’re lazy but also, I suspect, because they didn’t want to see a film about a resourceful old guy struggling to survive against nature’s merciless persistence. Nature will get us all sooner or later, and they didn’t to grapple with that — too close to the bone.

In late ’13 a journalist friend told me about speaking to a very well-known actor at a party. He said the actor had told him he’d popped in a screener of All Is Lost and then turned it off after ten minutes or so. The actor’s explanation went something along the lines of ‘I saw what this was going to be…all alone, no dialogue, the threat of death…and I quit.’ Advanced-age ADD is what home screenings are all about. This is why All Is Lost has to be seen in a theatre, why it has to be paid close attention to.