Sutherland, Burnett, Roizman, Varda to get honorary Oscars

(AP) — Actor Donald Sutherland, writer-director Charles Burnett, cinematographer Owen Roizman and Belgian director Agnes Varda are getting honorary Oscars this year.

The film academy said Wednesday that the four honorees will receive their Oscar statuettes at the ninth annual Governors Awards ceremony in November.

“I’m just so pleased with these four very different kinds of people, their different crafts and the different kinds of films that they make,” academy president John Bailey said in an interview. “This shows the best of the whole notion of what the academy and the governors of the academy espouse to do, which is honor many different kinds of filmmakers.”

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The board of governors selected the honorees Tuesday night. None has previously won an Oscar, Bailey said.

“One of the things that’s so wonderful about these (recipients) is they can come from anywhere inside the filmmaking community,” he said. “These are our awards. These are the people that we feel we want to single out.”

Burnett is an independent filmmaker whose work has been celebrated for its portrayals of the African-American experience. He wrote, directed, produced, shot and edited his first film, “Killer of Sheep,” in 1977.

Roizman has received five Academy Award nominations for his work on such films as “The French Connection,” ”The Exorcist” and “Network.” He also served as a governor of the academy’s cinematography branch from 2002 to 2011.

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The 89-year-old Varda wrote and directed her first feature film in 1956 and released her latest film this year.

“She made the first truly French new wave film in 1955,” Bailey said. “It’s only been in the last decade that really, internationally, people have understood what an important filmmaker she has been and continues to be.”

Sutherland has appeared in more than 140 films, including “Invasion of the Body Snatchers,” ”Ordinary People” and “The Hunger Games” series.

Bailey was the cinematographer on “Ordinary People,” which went on to win four Academy Awards, including best picture. He said he remembers being surprised Sutherland wasn’t nominated then.

“He’s a man who has an incredibly distinguished body of work of so many different kind of movies and different kinds of directors,” Bailey said, “and incredibly he has never been nominated.”

The private, untelevised Governors Awards gala is set for November 11 at the Ray Dolby Ballroom, just upstairs from the Dolby Theatre, where the 90th Academy Awards will be presented on March 4, 2018.

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