Donald Sutherland to get honorary Oscar for lifetime achievement

LOS ANGELES — After a six-decade career in which he’s won two Golden Globes but no Oscar, Canadian actor Donald Sutherland is finally getting the golden statuette.

On Wednesday, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced the 82-year-old Saint John, N.B., native will be among four recipients of an honorary Oscar on Nov. 11.

Writer-director Charles Burnett, cinematographer Owen Roizman and director Agnes Varda will also get the honour at the Governors Awards.

The award honours “extraordinary distinction in lifetime achievement, exceptional contributions to the state of motion picture arts and sciences, or for outstanding service to the academy.”

“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,” academy president John Bailey said in a statement.

Sutherland has brought a towering presence and distinctive baritone voice to more than 140 films, including “The Dirty Dozen,” “M*A*S*H,” “Invasion of the Body Snatchers,” “Cold Mountain” and “The Hunger Games” series.

His other honours include an Emmy Award, a Governor General’s Performing Arts Award and an officer of the Order of Canada distinction.

He was in Rome filming a project and unavailable for comment on Wednesday, but in an email, his publicist said he was aware of the honour and “thrilled.” He is due to attend this year’s Toronto International Film Festival to promote “The Leisure Seeker,” which also features Helen Mirren.

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 for his role in the film.

“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.”

Sutherland, who grew up in Bridgewater, N.S., also has five children who’ve pursued the craft, most notably “24” star Kiefer, who said in a 2016 interview with The Canadian Press that he was his father’s biggest fan.

Both starred in the 2015 film “Forsaken,” which marked the first time they shared the screen together.

“I believe he’s not only one of the most prolific, but I think he’s one of the great important actors in the English language,” he said.

“I was nervous (about working with him). It’s something that I’ve wanted to do since I started work.”

— With files from The Associated Press

The Canadian Press

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