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Donald Sutherland Discusses How He Found Out About his Honorary Oscar



Donald Sutherland

When someone begins their career it is never guaranteed that they’ll reach the upper echelon of an industry. In 2017, after more than five decades starring in a multitude of films and television shows, Canadian actor Donald Sutherland received an honorary Oscar. In many ways, this certified his place at the summit of acting.
Recently, Sutherland appeared on’s “Ages and Icons” podcast. During his chat with interviewer Mike Crisolago, Sutherland recounted the moment he found out about the Academy’s nod to his exemplary career.

Donald Sutherland

“Francine (Sutherland’s wife) and I were in Rome, because I was shooting [‘Trust’],” began the actor. “We were sitting on a [small] balcony. You have room for yourself, and room for a table. The sun is going down and it’s beautiful. My phone was there, and we have a bottle of Acqua Panna and two plates of spaghetti marinara. The phone rings.
“I answer the phone and say ‘Hello.’ And a voice says it’s John Bailey – I haven’t heard from John Bailey in [more than] 30 years. He photographed ‘Ordinary People’ 37 years ago. I said ‘Hi John,’ and he said ‘I have been made President of The Academy (of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences).’ I said ‘congratulations.’ He said ‘No, no, no, I’m phoning to congratulate you.’”
At this point in the interview, Sutherland paused, feeling the emotional weight of that memory. “It was thrilling,” he continued. “I said ‘speak to Francine.’ Then we hung up and ate spaghetti marinara.”

Donald Sutherland

Despite receiving such a wonderful tribute, Sutherland isn’t resting on his laurels. Rather, he continues to work. When speaking with Crisolago about his role alongside Helen Mirren in “The Leisure Seeker,” Sutherland opened up about how we shouldn’t give up on improving ourselves as we age.
“There is a hopefulness in being old – if you get out there a little bit. If you stick yourself in the corner and don’t move, [and] you stay in a chair, it just gets worse and worse,” said Sutherland. “I’m 83-years-old and I work. I work because it’s a passionate endeavour. Older people [should] do that kind of thing, or some level of passionate work.”
-Adam Grant


Click here to listen to the “Ages and Icons” podcast!

On Wednesday, May 16 (Midnight ET/9pm PT) and Thursday, May 17 (9pm ET/6pm PT), Donald Sutherland and his son Kiefer Sutherland star in “Forsaken.” 


Tormented by a dark secret, John Henry Clayton quits a life of gun-fighting and returns home to Fowler, Wyoming to discover that his mother has died while he was away. His father, Reverend Clayton, is the town preacher who has strongly expressed his disapproval of his son’s violent past, but he is willing to allow John Henry to move back into the family homestead.

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