Robert Redford to Receive Chaplin Award, Presented by Barbra Streisand
By: Ellis Nassour
Two-time Oscar and Golden Globe winning actor/director Robert Redford will be honored Monday with the Film Society of Lincoln Ce
nter [FSLC]’s 42nd Chaplin Award. Barbra Streisand [40th recipient], longtime friend and one of the memorable co-stars of the producer, environmentalist, founder of the Sundance Film Festival and Institute, and Kennedy Center honoree, will present the honor at the 7 P.M. gala in Alice Tully Hall.
Guests will include director J.C. Candor, Jane Fonda (recipient of the 28th Chaplin Award), John Turturro, and Elizabeth Moss.
There’ll be numerous film clips from Redford’s storied career. One highlight will be the incredulous love scene from Sydney Pollack’s The Way We Were, written by Broadway’s Arthur Laurent’s – memorable not only for Redford’s good looks as he lies half covered by a sheet but also for Streisand, totally enamored of him, undoing her belt, shedding her dress and slip, and ever-so-discreetly edging into bed with him. As he, half-asleep, embraces her, the camera zooms in for a close-up of doe-eyed and awestruck Barbra.
After university, Redford segued from painting to wanting a career in baseball to New York and the Golden Age of live TV. He made his Broadway debut in 1959 as a replacement in the featured cast of Howard Lindsay and Russel Crouse’s college comedy Tall Story. He alternated between TV, film, and theater.
In 1961, he made a splash onstage in Norman Krasna’s Sunday in New York – receiving the Theatre World Award. Stardom followed in 1963, opposite Elizabeth Ashley, in Neil Simon’s Tony-nominated Barefoot in the Park, directed by Mike Nichols. He left the play about a year later for TV series work.
His first major screen lead was opposite Natalie Wood in 1965’s Hollywood drama Inside Daisy Clover. He appeared opposite Fonda in the 1967 film adaptation of Barefoot. The following year he struck screen gold co-starring with Paul Newman in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. He leapt into the top echelon of actors indigenous to the ‘60s and ‘70s.
Redford was Oscar-nominated for Best Actor only once: opposite Newman in TheSting (1973). He won the Director Oscar for Ordinary People (1980, Best Picture), which co-starred Mary Tyler Moore, Donald Sutherland, Judd Hirsch, and Timothy Hutton. Moore and Hirsch were nominated and Hutton won Supporting.
He was nominated for Director for Best Picture nominee Quiz Show (1994), which he co-produced and which co-starred Turturro. In 2002, introduced by Streisand, he was presented an honorary Oscar for his "inspiration to independent and innovative filmmakers everywhere."
Not only did Redford direct, he also directed himself. "To be director and star," he says, "you have to be schizophrenic and a bit nuts. Schizophrenic in a controlled way. To act and direct isn’t something I’m particularly drawn to. When I act, I like to be free to act; when I direct, I want to be free to look at the situation the way a symphony conductor would: making everything come together to tell a coherent story. Stepping in and out of both roles doesn’t come easy."
Looking back today on its popularity, you might not think that The Way We Were had its share of problems. There were script issues and personality clashes. Streisand had her way of "overthinking a scene and talking it to death" and Redford’s modus operandi was "in the moment" spontaneity. Yet, they shared a deep respect for the other when the dust settled.
"I loved working with Robert," Streisand has stated. "Every day was an exciting adventure. We played well together." Redford has recalled that when they started "Barbra wanted me to be Hubbell. As the shoot went on, she saw I wasn’t him in any way."
From today through Monday, FSLC is screening The Films of Robert Redford —Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, The Candidate, Jeremiah Johnson, Ordinary People, Quiz Show, Three Days of the Condor, and The Way We Were.
Among the FSLC Chaplin honorees are the legendary Chaplin, who returned to the U.S. from self-imposed exile to accept the commendation, Hitchcock, Wilder, Olivier, Fellini, Altman, Scorese, and stars such as Taylor, Davis, Stewart, Keaton, Streep, Hanks, Michael Douglas, Poitier, and Deneuve.
Support for the 42nd Chaplin Award Gala is provided by Royal Bank of Canada and Jaeger-LeCoultre. For screening times, visit www.filmlinc.com and follow @filmlinc on Twitter.