Robert Redford, 75, has been slated to star in All Is Lost, the story of an old man fighting to survive in open sea. To be directed by J.C. Chandor, All Is Lost won’t be exactly an ensemble piece along the lines of Chandor’s Margin Call (which featured Jeremy Irons, Kevin Spacey, Mary McDonnell, Demi Moore, Penn Badgley, and Zachary Quinto, among others). After all, Redford will be the film’s sole cast member.
Shooting of the adventure drama should begin this summer at Mexico’s Baja Studios in Rosarita Beach, where Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio loved and suffered while James Cameron’s Titanic sank into the tank. Lionsgate will release All Is Lost in the U.S.
Now, let’s get Oscar 2014 (or whereabouts) buzz going: does All Is Lost mean a potential Oscar nomination for Redford? Well, why not? If you have fewer actors on screen, you can focus your attention on one single performance. James Whitmore was a Best Actor nominee for Steve Binder’s Give ’em Hell, Harry! (1975), a filmization of his one-man show. Spencer Tracy was nominated for John Sturges’ The Old Man and the Sea (1958), in which Tracy is by himself during most of the film’s 86 minutes. The same went for Best Actor nominee Tom Hanks in Robert Zemeckis’ Cast Away (2000). And small casts surely didn’t hinder Best Actor nominees Michael Caine and Laurence Olivier in Joseph L. Mankiewicz’s Sleuth (1972) or the quartet — Richard Burton, Elizabeth Taylor, Sandy Dennis, George Segal — in Mike Nichols’ Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966).
Redford has been nominated for two Best Director Academy Awards: Ordinary People (1980), a family drama starring this year’s SAG Life Achievement Award recipient Mary Tyler Moore, Donald Sutherland, and Timothy Hutton; and Quiz Show (1994), a psychological/social drama with Ralph Fiennes and Paul Scofield. Redford won an Oscar for the former. As an actor, Redford has been shortlisted only once: for George Roy Hill’s The Sting (1973); he lost to Jack Lemmon in Save the Tiger. He also won an Honorary Oscar in 2002.
Among Redford’s other film credits as an actor are Arthur Penn’s costly box office disaster The Chase (1966), with Marlon Brando and Jane Fonda; Hill’s blockbuster Western Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969), with Paul Newman and Katharine Ross; Sydney Pollack’s spy thriller Three Days of the Condor (1973), with Faye Dunaway and Cliff Robertson; and Pollack’s romantic melodrama The Way We Were (1973), with Barbra Streisand.
Also: Pollack’s Best Picture Oscar winner Out of Africa (1985), with Meryl Streep; Adrian Lyne’s sensational sex melo Indecent Proposal (1993), with Woody Harrelson and Demi Moore; the political drama Lions for Lambs (2006), which Redford also directed and co-starred with Tom Cruise and once again Meryl Streep; and the upcoming The Company You Keep (2012), a political thriller that he also directed and stars opposite a big-name cast: Shia LaBeouf, Julie Christie, Sam Elliott, Brendan Gleeson, Brit Marling, Anna Kendrick, Susan Sarandon, Nick Nolte, Jackie Evancho, Terrence Howard, Stanley Tucci, Richard Jenkins, and Chris Cooper.