Barbra Streisand, presenting the 42nd Chaplin Award to Robert Redford, her co-star in The Way We Were, recounted a story about a fan screaming "Hello, Gorgeous." She thought it was for her, for Funny Girl. But no, the "gorgeous" was for Robert Redford. Indeed, there was no elephant-in-the-room in the spacious Alice Tully Hall: Every woman presenting, from Jane Fonda to Elisabeth Moss, spoke about Redford's good looks. But clearly, he is much more than eye candy.
Clips shown from his work through the decades -- as an actor as well as sensitive director -- showed that Robert Redford is not just another cookie-cutter pretty face. Fonda spoke about his political commitments as a Democrat, and the land in Utah he dedicated to creating the Sundance Institute in 1981 to foster independent filmmaking. Laura Poitras, Academy Award winner for Citizenfour, spoke about the nurturing of her career in documentary film at the Sundance Institute. John Turturro talked about his work on Quiz Show, and Redford's care in casting. J.C. Chandor, his director on All Is Lost. Last year's one-man tour de force praised Redford's dedication in insisting on doing his own stunts, that is, taking risks on a dangerous jump in rushing waters. At the premiere screening at Cannes, they realized they had the audience of about 2,000 in their grip.
But Streisand stole the show, nailing Redford's magic: "You never really know what he's thinking; that makes you keep watching him." Remembering how they were fascinated by each other back when they made The Way We Were in 1973? She said he wanted to know about Brooklyn. That got a laugh. And she wanted to know what he did in California: Did he fish? Did he surf? Did he swim in the ocean after eating? All the things her mother said were life-threatening.
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