0821 GMT February 21, 2018
Stars donned black tie and formal gowns to walk the red carpet of the glamorous Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences event honoring writer-director Charles Burnett, cinematographer Owen Roizman, actor Donald Sutherland and director Agnes Varda, usatoday.com wrote.
Each received Oscar statuettes for their distinguished careers in the annual ceremony, which signals the celebratory opening to the awards race that ends with the Oscars (March 4).
"The good news is that tonight it's about celebrating these four people," actor Andrew Garfield told USA Today on the red carpet, praising the Oscar honorees.
Jennifer Lawrence presented the Oscar to her Hunger Games co-star Donald Sutherland, who she says 'took me under his wing' as a newbie actress.
"For someone as generous and talented it's odd to think that Donald Sutherland has never won an Oscar before tonight," said Lawrence. Mentioning some of the actor's 'iconic roles' ('Ordinary People', 'MASH', 'The Dirty Dozen', 'Klute'). "His work is movie magic at its best."
Holding his Oscar, Sutherland, 82, admitted he had been "beset by my mind's unrelenting interrogation of me demanding to know if I deserve this". But he found awards solace and justification in the words of the great comedian Jack Benny.
"(Benny) said, as I say to you now, 'I don't deserve this. But I have arthritis. And I don't deserve that either'," said Sutherland, exiting to rousing cheers.
Jessica Chastain and Angelina Jolie were part of a group of prominent Hollywood women who praised honoree Agnes Varda, the pioneer of the French New Wave filmmaking movement. Varda, 89, called them "my feminist guardian angels".
Ava DuVernay brought director Charles Burnett ('Killer of Sheep', 'To Sleep with Anger') onto the stage saying the African-American trailblazer was "a giant, a legend to us, an icon long before today".
Burnett, 73, told of a teacher who pointed a finger at him as a young student saying, "You're not going to be anything." The award definitively proved the teacher wrong.
"I don’t know if he's still around," said Burnett. "If he is, I do hope he reads the trades."