Governors Award Honorees: Donald Sutherland, Charles Burnett, Agnes Varda & Owen Roizman

Donald Sutherland Agnes Varda Charles Burnett Owen Roizman
REX/Shutterstock/Douglas Kirkland/IMDb

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced honorees for its 2017 Governors Awards, with actor Donald Sutherland, writer-director Charles Burnett, cinematographer Owen Roizman and director Agnès Varda set to receive Honorary Awards. The gala will take place November 12 at the Ray Dolby Ballroom at Hollywood & Highland.

“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.

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,” AMPAS said.

Two other awards given occasionally were not bestowed this year: the Irving G Thalberg Memorial Award, last given in 2010 to Francis Ford Coppola, and the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award, last given out to Debbie Reynolds in 2015.

Last year, the honorary Oscars were presented to Jackie Chan, editor Anne V. Coates, documentarian Frederick Wiseman, and casting director Lynn Stalmaster.

Here are the bios the Academy provided in its official release today:

Born in Mississippi and raised in the Watts neighborhood of Los Angeles, 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. His other features include My Brother’s Wedding, To Sleep with Anger, The Glass Shield and Namibia: The Struggle for Liberation. Burnett also has made several documentaries including America Becoming and Nat Turner: A Troublesome Property, and such short films as The Horse and When It Rains.

Roizman earned five Oscar nominations for his work on The French Connection (1971), The Exorcist (1973), Network (1976), Tootsie (1982) and Wyatt Earp (1994). He began his career shooting television commercials before making his debut feature film, Stop, in 1970. His other notable credits include The Heartbreak Kid, Three Days of the Condor, Absence of Malice, True Confessions, The Addams Family  and Grand Canyon. Roizman represented the Cinematographers Branch on the Academy’s Board of Governors from 2002 to 2011.

With more than 140 film credits spanning six decades, Canadian-born Sutherland began his career with small roles in British and Italian films before his breakthrough in The Dirty Dozen (1967). Since then he has starred in such varied films as M*A*S*H, Klute, Don’t Look Now, The Day of the Locust, 1900, Invasion of the Body Snatchers, Ordinary People, Cold Mountain, The Italian Job, Pride & Prejudice and The Hunger Games series.

Belgian-born Varda has been called the mother of the French New Wave. Her first feature, La Pointe Courte (1956) – which she wrote and directed with no formal training – is considered to be the film that inspired the movement. Varda has experimented with all forms of filmmaking from shorts to documentaries to narrative feature films during her more than 60-year career, including such works as the New Wave classic Cleo from 5 to 7, Le Bonheur, One Sings, the Other Doesn’t, Vagabond, Jacquot, The Gleaners and I, her autobiographical documentary The Beaches of Agnès, and her most recent work, Faces Places.

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