Arts & Entertainment

The first Oscars of awards season get handed out today

Canadian actor and member of the Jury Donald Sutherland arrives on May 11, 2016 for the opening ceremony of the 69th Cannes Film Festival in Cannes, southern France.
Canadian actor and member of the Jury Donald Sutherland arrives on May 11, 2016 for the opening ceremony of the 69th Cannes Film Festival in Cannes, southern France.
VALERY HACHE/AFP/Getty Images

As Hollywood continues reeling from the growing sexual harassment scandal, the first Oscars of awards season are being presented to four film-industry veterans.

The film academy's ninth annual Governors Awards ceremony Saturday will celebrate the careers of writer-director Charles Burnett, cinematographer Owen Roizman, actor Donald Sutherland and director Agnes Varda. Each will receive an Oscar statuette.

Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences president John Bailey called the honorary award recipients "very representative of the breadth of filmmaking." None has won an Oscar before, though Roizman was nominated five times.

Governors Awards honorees are chosen by the organization's 54-member leadership board.

"These are our awards," Bailey said. "These are the people that we feel we want to single out."

The private, untelevised dinner gala at the Hollywood & Highland complex is traditionally a who's who of the film industry and forthcoming Oscar season. Highlights from the evening will likely be included in the 90th annual Academy Awards on March 4, 2018.

A look at the four honorees:

Director Charles Burnett attends Day 2 of Ebertfest 2017 on April 20, 2017 in Champaign, Illinois.
Director Charles Burnett attends Day 2 of Ebertfest 2017 on April 20, 2017 in Champaign, Illinois.
Timothy Hiatt/Getty Images for Ebertfest

CHARLES BURNETT: An independent filmmaker, Burnett has devoted his career to telling stories about the experiences of African-Americans frequently avoided in Hollywood fare. His first film, "Killer of Sheep," starred his friends and neighbors from Los Angeles' Watts neighborhood and helped transform what he thought would be a hobby into a career. He's made films like "To Sleep with Anger" but also done shorts and documentaries. Burnett, 73, said the idea of receiving an Oscar was surreal. "You can't wait to have this thing over with to be sure that it's is real, that you aren't still dreaming," he said.

ASC President Richard Crudo, left, and Awards Chairman Owen Roizman pose at the American Society of Cinematographers 17th Annual Outstanding Achievement Awards on February 16, 2003.
ASC President Richard Crudo, left, and Awards Chairman Owen Roizman pose at the American Society of Cinematographers 17th Annual Outstanding Achievement Awards on February 16, 2003.
Kevin Winter/Getty Images

OWEN ROIZMAN: A second-generation cinematographer, Roizman was nominated for five Academy Awards during his career. His work on "The French Connection," which brought his first Oscar nod, established his reputation for realism on camera. Nominations for "The Exorcist," ''Network," ''Tootsie" and "Wyatt Earp" followed. Roizman shot his final frame of film for 1995's "French Kiss." He discovered digital photography once he retired, and made a prolific hobby of it. His portraits have been exhibited at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences' headquarters in Beverly Hills, California.

Jury members Donald Sutherland and Katayoon Shahabi attend the jury press conference during the 69th annual Cannes Film Festival at Palais des Festivals on May 22, 2016 in Cannes, France.
Jury members Donald Sutherland and Katayoon Shahabi attend the jury press conference during the 69th annual Cannes Film Festival at Palais des Festivals on May 22, 2016 in Cannes, France.
Ian Gavan/Getty Images

DONALD SUTHERLAND: Sutherland has appeared in films of every genre, with more than 140 credits over his more than 50 years in Hollywood, but the Canadian actor has never been nominated for an Academy Award. "It had never occurred to me, not even remotely ... that people would think to honor me in such a way," the 82-year-old said in a recent interview. The honorary Oscar doesn't make him any less eager to work, though. He said he hopes his final breaths might come mid-scene on set and become part of his final film.

Director Agnes Varda receives the Donosti Award during the 65th San Sebastian International Film Internacional Festival at the Eugenia Victoria Teather on September 24, 2017 in San Sebastian, Spain.
Director Agnes Varda receives the Donosti Award during the 65th San Sebastian International Film Internacional Festival at the Eugenia Victoria Teather on September 24, 2017 in San Sebastian, Spain.
Carlos Alvarez/Getty Images

AGNES VARDA: A pioneer of the French New Wave filmmaking movement, Varda wrote and directed her first film in 1956. She has made both narratives and documentaries, the most recent being this year's "Faces Places," which she co-directed with the 34-year-old street artist JR. Varda said she set out to make "radical cinema" when she started her career, and that being a woman was never an obstacle. There are more female filmmakers in France than in Hollywood, she said: "France is a country where 25 percent of the filmmakers are women ... because we have pushed the idea that they can do it, that there's no reason they can't do it."