Redford's LIFE is his Oscar--The Academy can keep theirs


So, no Oscar for Robert Redford this year?

Big deal.

I just saw All Is Lost last night. I don't see movies in theaters too much anymore--yes, I'm one of those people. Now that I'm older, I'm all about the movie itself. And I prefer to be at home where I can watch it deeply, carefully. Think it though.

This one was hard to watch. I was riveted, don't get me wrong. But for the first few minutes, especially when things started to get really dicey on that boat, I was thinking about the actor as much as the acting. And how I really, really, really hope I'm half as strong as he has to be, still, in his 77th year.

Of course, that wasn't the point of the film. The point, or the first one I thought of at the very end, was pretty simple. It wasn't until the protagonist lost all hope that he was rescued--very Zen, really. "Let go, let God." All that.

And Redford was in it--totally there, totally real. So real that after a while I actually did forget it was Redford. I just sat there feeling utterly helpless as if all those awful things were really happening to someone I cared about. I even caught myself yelling, "DAMMIT!" when that first ship passed him by.

I gave up 'way before the character did.

But then, when it was over and I finally exhaled...I thought about the Academy Awards. And I thought about all Redford has done for the film business, and that if anyone deserved to at least be nominated this year, surely Redford did. And though I got pretty angry, I was able to put two and two together pretty quickly.

Robert Redford doesn't need an Oscar. His life is his Oscar. And I bet that just makes some Hollywood "insiders" pretty envious.

They oughta be.

Look at the man. The man, not the movie star. What we know of him anyway--he's done a great job of staying out of the tabloids and such, so we only know him by his work. And good work it has been, from his love of the "craft" of movie making to his tireless campaign to save the whole damned planet, one endangered species and habitat at a time.

So it's not just how hale and hearty he is at 77 that should amaze us. It's also how much he has accomplished with such a sense of purpose, such a clear vision.

He always stood a little apart from the star thing--from the Hollywood "thing," in general. Didn't appeal to him somehow, the sex symbol act. And if anyone could've milked that for all it was worth, Redford could've.

He was almost too beautiful. There's a character in Spike Lee's Jungle Fever who blames Redford for making the local Italian girls prefer hunky blond "WASPs."

I knew men who got pissed off at him, too. Especially because they couldn't just write him off as another Hollywood pretty boy. Even early on, he was busy doing things a so-called "man's man" had to respect.

I think being pretty probably pissed Redford off a little, too, actually. Which may be why he kept his distance. And kept busy buying up the land in Utah that would become the Sundance Institute. And then creating the film festival of the same name. So that future filmmakers would have a serious alternative to Hollywood.

Sure, the festival has become almost mainstream now--maybe he did a little too well. But it is still one of the noblest experiments in the world of film. Its heart is in the right place.

So is Redford's. He steered his course toward a life he could be proud of as deftly as the protagonist in All is Lost steered that raft into the shipping lane with that survival sextant. And his aim is almost always true. Oscar this year?

Oh, I'm sure it smarted a bit--he said as much. At Sundance. That festival he created. To prove there was another way to make movies. A better way.

Which...leads me to my next point. You know that George Herbert saying that goes, "Living well is the best revenge?"

Redford has lived very, very well.

That's his prize. The Academy can keep theirs.

Image credit: Steve Jurvetson (Flickr), via Wikimedia Commons

Views: 97

Comment by Lyle Elmgren on January 24, 2014 at 2:11pm

Good memories. My favorites of Robert Redford have to be Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, and The Sting. Both with Paul Newman. I don't know  the 'politics" of Academy Award selections but I have seen some very questionable choices over the years. This year, I see that a terrific movie, The Book Thief, received none of the nominations for the big five awards. A travesty.

Comment by Keka on January 24, 2014 at 5:17pm

Weird year for the Oscars. I haven't seen so many "What the what?!" articles in a while. I know there were lots of stellar perfomances, Glad you agree!

Comment by JMac1949 Today on January 25, 2014 at 2:59pm

"...So real that after a while I actually did forget it was Redford..."  No better compliment for an actor's skill... R&R ;-)

Comment by Keka on January 25, 2014 at 6:04pm

He just astounded me--I started feeling as if I were watching a good friend caught in that impossible, awful situation. And I grieved for him, and kept thinking, "God, don't let this happen, please? Please?" It was the first time I've done that in ages. I was really "in it" with him.

Comment by Arthur James on January 25, 2014 at 6:20pm
I no comment because
I an ignorant about
these artist. I bet
it's fun to convey
and act on Stage.

Life is a Performance.
Some act` a Roll that
is Fake ` HERE as this
Life. Hypocrites write
books about ` Hypocrites.
Please don't get me going
on and on - Nature will
Expose Life's Fake Actors.
Secrets are Eventually
Revealed. If only Self
Finally Looks Within.
I was in a ` fill in '
Role in the movie
` GODS & Generals
Ted Turner Invested
a Bundle - Was The
Two-Week Filming
Ever Fun - This
Came Up Today.
A Civil War
Re` Enactor
is in Town.
I am a Home
Body. But,
Is A Great
I Love Mereyl
Streep ` etc;,
about ODD Box.
Comment by Keka on January 28, 2014 at 1:15pm

That's okay! This is one of life's "natural" actors...nothing fake, heart on his sleeve when it comes to the earth and its splendors. A splendor himself, Bob. Can't figure out how he managed to do that, but he navigated deftly somehow. I'm in awe of and humbled by it. And the way you express yourself, too!

Comment by Poor Woman on January 30, 2014 at 9:10pm

I've admired his work for most of my life. From the first  time I saw his face as Sundance, right on through Brubaker, Out of Africa, etc. and on into the present, I find his every performance outstanding. he is one dynamic guy. And though I enjoy viewing his looks, they are not quite my style. His looks helped to rocket him to stardom, much as Newman's helped him, yet neither of these world class hunks let hunkiness rule their outlook. Now, that's world class!

R& L


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