Robert Redford appeared before the press Thursday to discuss the Sundance Film Festival, but it was impossible to ignore the news that he’d been snubbed by the Academy, which overlooked his acting performance in All is Lost. Speaking at the festival’s Day 1 press conference, Redford insisted he wasn’t disturbed or upset by the slight, but he expressed regret that the film’s distributors, Lionsgate and Roadside Attractions, did not do more to champion the film’s award prospects. “When these films go before to be voted on, usually they’re heavily dependent on campaigns that the distributors provide,” he said. “There’s a lot of campaigning that goes on and it can get very political, but that’s okay. Because it is a business. In our case, I think we suffered from little to no distribution. So as a result, our distributors either — I don’t know why — they didn’t want to spend the money, they were afraid, or they just were incapable. But whatever, we had no campaign to help us cross over into the mainstream. So I suspect that had something to do with it.”
The gathered media sympathetically booed the Academy’s slight when the moderator, Sean Means of the Salt Lake City Tribune, mentioned the morning’s news at the very beginning of the discussion. “Why don’t we let them speak for me?” Redford said with a smile, as a way of his initial answer. “First of all, what I don’t want is for that to get in the way of why we’re here [at Sundance], because this is very important to me and to the staff here,” Redford said. “Let me just speak frankly about how I feel about it. I think that first of all, the film that I made with J.C. Chandor is a film I’m very proud of. It’s independent so it confirms to why we’re here. That gave me great pleasure. … Would it have been wonderful to be nominated? Of course. But I’m not disturbed by it or upset by it, because of what I just said: It is a business and we couldn’t conform to that.”
Redford had become a sentimental favorite for a Best Actor nomination since it had been 40 years since his last and only acting nomination, for 1973’s The Sting. Redford is the only actor in All is Lost, and his stoic, near-silent performance as a sailor battling bad luck and the elements on the high seas had been a strong contender for year-end awards since it received a standing ovation at last spring’s Cannes Film Festival.
You can watch the entire press conference, with Sundance Institute executive director Keri Putnam and Sundance Film Festival director John Cooper, below: