Four prestigious, longtime members of the film industry will receive the coveted Governors Award from the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences in a ceremony set for this Saturday, November 11, 2017. The honorary Oscar statuettes honoring lifetime achievement will be given to the esteemed independent director Charles Burnett, iconic French auteur Agnès Varda, celebrated cinematographer Owen Roizman and groundbreaking actor Donald Sutherland.
“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,” said Academy president John Bailey.
Burnett's trailblazing portrayal of the African-American experience can be surveyed in his acclaimed features, such as "Killer of Sheep," "Namibia: The Struggle for Liberation" and last year's Ebertfest selection, "To Sleep With Anger," as well as his documentaries including "America Becoming" and "Nat Turner: A Troublesome Property." The audiences at Ebertfest were enthralled by his presentation of African-American life in "To Sleep With Anger." His films are a treasure of Americana.
Varda is hailed as the mother of the French New Wave, and has never ceased in her tireless artistry, creating such masterworks as "Cleo from 5 to 7," "The Gleaners and I," "The Beaches of Agnès," and most recently, "Faces Places." She received the Golden Thumb at last year's TIFF Ebert Filmmakers Tribute. Roger Ebert said if Varda had been a man her greatness would have been recognized and valued much earlier in her career. This year, she making history as the first female director to receive an honorary Oscar.
Roizman earned five Oscar nominations for his work on "The French Connection," "The Exorcist," "Network," "Tootsie" and "Wyatt Earp," and represented the Cinematographers Branch on the Academy’s Board of Governors from 2002 to 2011. He helped induct Roger Ebert into the Cinematographers Hall of Fame, and participated with him in a shot-by-shot analysis of movies at the Hawaii International Film Festival. "Owen was absolutely adored by the audience during the shot-by-shot analysis because of his enthusiasm and passion for his work," said Chaz Ebert. "And if you go back to look at his cinematography in those films, you see that it stands the test of time."
Sutherland has over 140 film credits to his name, including such classics as "The Dirty Dozen," "M*A*S*H," "Klute," "Don't Look Now" and the Best Picture Oscar-winner "Ordinary People." He is currently starring in "The Leisure Seeker" with Helen Mirren.
The gala ceremony for this year's Governors Award honorees will be held Saturday, November 11th, at the Ray Dolby Ballroom in Los Angeles. Last year's honorary Oscars were presented to actor/martial artist Jackie Chan, editor Anne V. Coates, documentarian Frederick Wiseman and casting director Lynn Stalmaster.