Entertainment

TIFF's Cameron Bailey thrilled Donald Sutherland to get honorary Oscar

TORONTO — The Toronto International Film Festival's artistic director says he's thrilled the Oscars will finally honour the work of Donald Sutherland.

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced Wednesday that it will bestow the 82-year-old Canadian acting legend with an honorary award Nov. 11.

Cameron Bailey says it's about time.

"It's amazing that in his long career that Donald Sutherland has never had an Academy Award. I'm glad that they're recognizing him now," Bailey said as the film festival kicked off Thursday.

"He's done such strong work over so many decades, I think all Canadians that know that he's Canadian — because some don't — are proud of him."

Sutherland's long and diverse credit list includes "Ordinary People," "The Dirty Dozen," "M*A*S*H," and "Invasion of the Body Snatchers."

Bailey singled out the Saint John, N.B., native's relatively more obscure work for director Nicolas Roeg, including the 1973 horror "Don't Look Now."

"To see him in everything from a very disturbing '70s art house film like 'Don't Look Now' to the 'Hunger Games' franchise, he can do it all," said Bailey.

"He projects a kind of severe intelligence onscreen but he's also got a great sense of humour and that comes across sometimes in the more comic films that he's done. I think that what he did in 'M*A*S*H' is something I'll always remember. He's got incredible range."

Sutherland's latest film, "The Leisure Seeker," heads to TIFF this weekend. In it, he co-stars with Helen Mirren as a couple of aging adventurers who hit the road in their vintage RV.

Sutherland was in Rome filming a project when word of his Oscar came down and was expected to walk the red carpet at TIFF on Saturday.

Bailey also called Sutherland the patriarch of "a great film dynasty," noting that several of his children followed him into the film business.

They include "24" and "Designated Survivor" star Kiefer Sutherland, "Reign" and "Hyena Road" actor Rossif, and industry player Roeg Sutherland, who works for Creative Artists Agency in the United States and represents many of the films that sell at TIFF.

"He is not just in his own right a remarkable figure but he has actually spawned a whole generation of people who are really instrumental in film," said Bailey.

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

More on Metronews.ca