Sony Pictures Classics is having a banner year. Cofounders and co-presidents Michael Barker and Mr. Tom Bernard, who are also major pioneers of French cinema, will receive France’s highest honor — the Legion of Honor — in a triple ceremony on September 22 in New York.
SPC has impressed this year with a terrific slate of films that have not only reached audiences in Cannes, Telluride and Toronto, but are en route to release and likely Oscar contention. Highlights include Cannes Best Actor winner “Mr. Turner,” Best Director winner “Foxcatcher” — which wowed Telluride and Toronto and will be up for Academy Awards — the hockey documentary “Red Army,” likely Argentine Oscar submission “Wild Tales” and Cannes fave and likely Russian submission “Leviathan.”
Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Development Laurent Fabius will award Bernard and Barker the honors. Fabius stated, “These individuals are breaking down the barriers of national borders and creating bridges between intellectual and cultural spheres while also enriching a trans-continental cultural dialogue.”
Past recipients from the world of film include Walt Disney, David Lynch, Bob Dylan and Arnold Schwarzenegger. This year, Professor Mamadou Diouf of Columbia University’s Institute for African Studies will also be honored.