Oscars: Charles Burnett, Owen Roizman, Donald Sutherland, Agnes Varda Set for Academy’s Governors Awards

2017 Governors Awards Recipients: Donald Sutherland
Rob Latour/REX Shutterstock

Writer-director Charles Burnett, cinematographer Owen Roizman, actor Donald Sutherland, and director Agnes Varda will receive honorary Oscars this year, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced Wednesday. The prizes will be presented at the annual Governors Awards ceremony on Saturday, Nov. 11.

The Academy’s Board of Governors made the decision at the group’s monthly meeting Tuesday night. It was the first meeting cinematographer John Bailey has overseen as AMPAS president since winning the position last month.

“This year’s Governors Awards reflect the breadth of international, independent and mainstream filmmaking, and are tributes to four great artists whose work embodies the diversity of our shared humanity,” Bailey said.

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

Roizman has been Oscar-nominated five times, for his work on “The French Connection,” “The Exorcist,” “Network,” “Tootsie,” and “Wyatt Earp.”

Sutherland began his career with small roles in British and Italian films before his breakthrough in 1967’s “The Dirty Dozen.” He has never been nominated for an Oscar.

Varda has been called the mother of the French New Wave. Her first film, “La Pointe Courte” (1956), is considered to be the film that inspired the movement. Her most recent work is “Faces Places.”

The Honorary Award, an Oscar statuette, is given “to honor extraordinary distinction in lifetime achievement, exceptional contributions to the state of motion picture arts and sciences, or for outstanding service to the Academy.”

The Governors Awards event was first spun off as a satellite ceremony in 2009. Prior to that, honorary Oscars and other Academy prizes like the Irving G. Thalberg were presented during the annual Oscars telecast.

Recent recipients of the Governors Awards honors have included Jackie Chan, Spike Lee, Debbie Reynolds, Hayao Miyazaki, Steve Martin, D.A. Pennebaker, James Earl Jones, Jean-Luc Godard, and Lauren Bacall.

The 90th annual Academy Awards will be held on Sunday, March 4, 2018.

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  1. Bob says:

    John Boorman?

  2. Noel O'Neill says:

    Donald Sutherland should have received an academy years ago! His performances throughout his career have been ignored. The Academy should be ashamed for ignoring him all these years! So now you throw him the bone?. Who will you play “catch” with next, Nick Nolte? The Awards are given out now like knighthoods from the queen of England, to the biggest money maker, the biggest draw.! You have put true talent on the back burner for too long people!!

    • Prognoz says:

      Well, there are some actors who will never receive award, no matter how talented they are. As with Earl Jones and Bacall, a 100 per cent deserved honorary oscar.I myself anticipated this award, though thought it would happen several years ago and am happy for this tremendous actor.
      I think Nolte(and any other) would not object to award, even if it could be received earlier)

  3. Will says:

    Alejandro Jodorowsky…he’s 88 now, so hurry up!

  4. Joe says:

    David Cronenberg, Jerzy Skolimowski and Raymond Depardon should be considered, too !

    • Beamish13 says:

      Skolimowski is brilliant, but you really think they’ll recognize him when they didn’t even include Nagisa Oshima or Bigas Luna in their “in memoriam” Oscars section?

  5. Kent says:

    These are all deserving artists, but what about these folks ?

    Claude Lanzmann is long overdue for an Honorary Academy Award.
    If the documentary filmmakers Wiseman and Varda got one, Lanzmann must get one, too.
    His groundbreaking work with “Shoah” etc. is unique in cinema.
    It was more influential than anything Varda and Wiseman did.

    Brian de Palma, John Carpenter and Dario Argento are master genre filmmakers.
    Genres like horror, thrillers or fantasy always have a hard time at the Oscars,
    so it would be nice to show some respect.

    And think about auteurs like Peter Weir, Bela Tarr or Edgar Reitz.
    All important for film history.

    And maybe Paul Schrader, who was an even more important screenwriter than director,
    but he also made some classics like “Blue Collar”, “Mishima”, “Affliction” or “American Gigolo”.
    His influence is beyond any doubt.

    All these great people are now at the end of their career or already retired, so it’s about time.

    Please, start with Claude Lanzmann, who is already 91 years old – and still working!
    His new documentary will premiere at this year’s New Yorl Film Festival…
    The man is a force of nature.

  6. KWK says:

    …and once again, Albert Finney and Max von Sydow go unacknowledged for their (considerable) lifetime achievements. But congrats to Roizman and Sutherland!

  7. Daryle Gardner-Bonneau says:

    Hard to believe Donald Sutherland has never been nominated for an Oscar. He has been memorable in many roles over his very long career. Kudos to him!

  8. Robbie says:

    Charles Burnett? Exactly for what?

    • Beamish13 says:

      You’re kidding, right? TO SLEEP WITH ANGER and KILLER OF SHEEP are absolute masterpieces. He wrote BLESS THEIR LITTLE HEARTS, which is another stunner that the National Film Registry has preserved. NAMIBIA: THE STRUGGLE FOR LIBERATION is beautiful. How can you be so ignorant of his accomplishments?

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