But the work by Redford and Hanks in these films is much less obvious than, say, Christian Bale’s in “American Hustle,” for which he gained weight and wore a horrid comb-over, or Matthew McConaughey in “Dallas Buyers Club,” for which he lost weight and appeared sickly throughout much of the film. Both actors were good and obviously put aside any vanity about their respective images — but those are also attention-getting techniques of the kind that Oscar voters love to acknowledge.
Another best-actor nominee is Bruce Dern for “Nebraska,” whose performance ranks in the same league as Redford and Hanks’ — human, realistic, subtle, gets under your skin without any tricks. (The other two nominees are Leonardo DiCaprio for “The Wolf of Wall Street” and Chiwetel Ejiofor for “12 Years a Slave.”)
And it’s significant to note that “Nebraska” opened in November, so it was bound to be better remembered by Oscar voters than “Captain Phillips” and “All Is Lost,” both of which opened in October.
If you think that’s merely a finite difference, hey, it happens every year. Movies that open before November are often overlooked.
Consider this: All of the best-actor nominees’ movies opened in November or December. Every one.
And several films that were talked up earlier in the year as featuring Oscar-bait performances were completely shut out — “Rush,” which opened in September; “Lee Daniels’ the Butler,” August; “Fruitvale Station,” July; “Mud,” April you get the idea.
One could make a case for actors in those films being snubbed, too. But in the case of Redford and Hanks, they weren’t just snubbed, they were robbed.
Chris Hicks is the author of "Has Hollywood Lost Its Mind? A Parent’s Guide to Movie Ratings." Website: www.hicksflicks.com
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