Honorary Oscars going to Burnett, Sutherland, more
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has once again decided to use its honorary Oscars to emphasize inclusion, announcing that statuettes would go to Agnès Varda, a French New Wave director, and Charles Burnett, an independent filmmaker known for his portrayal of the African American experience. Joining Varda and Burnett at the academy’s Governors Awards on Nov. 11 will be the actor Donald Sutherland and Owen Roizman, a cinematographer whose credits include “The Exorcist” and “Network.” The academy’s 54-member board, which represents about 8,400 members, picked the recipients in a vote this week. John Bailey, the academy’s president, said in a statement that the 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.” The academy chose not to bestow honorary Oscars dedicated to philanthropy and producing, both of which are given intermittently. The Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award was last given to Debbie Reynolds in 2015. The academy’s Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award for producing last went to Francis Ford Coppola in 2010. The Governors Awards, which are not televised, take place over dinner in a ballroom in Los Angeles’ Hollywood & Highland shopping complex. The attire is formal, but the atmosphere is not. Alcohol flows freely. Presenters occasionally use salty language. Dinners go uneaten because attendees are too busy schmoozing. The honorary Oscars are handed out toward the end of the evening. In selecting Burnett for an honorary Oscar, the academy cited films such as “Killer of Sheep,” a 1977 drama that he wrote, directed, produced and edited that tells the story of a Watts slaughterhouse worker. His other films include “To Sleep with Anger,” a 1990 drama starring Danny Glover as a drifter from the South.