Friday, June 21, 2024

Donald Sutherland, 1935-2024

Mary Tyler Moore, Timothy Hutton, and Donald Sutherland in Ordinary People (1980)

Donald Sutherland, who appeared in a host of excellent movies frim the 1960s onward yet somehow never picked up an Oscar nomination, died yesterday, a month before what would have been his 89th birthday.

There are too many good performances to list them all; one of my favorites is as the father in the Best Picture Oscar-winner from 1980, Ordinary People. Co-stars Timothy Hutton and Judd Hirsch both bot nominated in the Supporting category, with Hutton winning; Mary Tyler Moore was nominated for Best Actress. But for Sutherland, sadly nothing even though I think he has a more difficult role than either of the other two men.

Donald Sutherland and Jane Fonda in Klute (1971)

Sutherland also plays the title role in Klute, as the detective who leaves small-town Pennsylvania for New York to investigate the disappearance of one of the locals, only to find prostitute Jane Fonda and some very dark secrets. Once again, Fonda picked up her first Oscar, while Sutherland got nothing.

I think a lot of more casual movie fans will probably remember things like Kelly's Heroes, M*A*S*H, or especially the 1970s version of Invasion of the Body Snatchers. When it comes to more "entertainment" movies than "serious" movies, I think I'd recommend Sutherland opposite Sean Connery in The Great Train Robbery.

Sutherland continued to act on both the big and small screens until very late in life, finally getting an honorary Oscar in 2017, and is of course the father of well-known actor Kiefer Sutherland.

I haven't heard anything about a TCM salute to Sutherland; there are certainly enough movies to do a full-day salute although I don't know how many TCM can easily get the rights to. When to schedule it is another issue as well. There's a lot going on in July, and then August is the annual Summer Under the Stars. But when the salute comes up I'll be doing a full post on it.

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