Sony Pictures Classics' Michael Barker and Tom Bernard Win First Envision Award

Michael Barker and Tom Bernard
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Sony Pictures Classics' Michael Barker, left, and Tom Bernard

Ordinarily, Michael Barker and Tom Bernard, co-presidents and co-founders of Sony Pictures Classics, win prizes for other people -- more than 100 Oscar nominations and 31 wins. The Hollywood Reporter has dubbed them "Kings of the Art House." But June 11, the Museum of the Moving Image in Astoria, N.Y., will present Barker and Bernard with the first Envision Award for transformational leaders in film.

“Sony Pictures Classics’ films speak to Michael and Tom’s understanding of powerful storytelling and their strong instinct and deep respect for filmmaking talent," said the museum's board chairman, Herbert S. Schlosser, in a statement. "They have also had unprecedented and unparalleled business success as an independent brand within the media giant, Sony."

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The event's co-chairs are illustrious: Jim Berk, CEO of Participant Media; Amblin Entertainment co-founders Kathleen Kennedy and Frank Marshall; Oscar-winning director Ang Lee; Michael Lynton, CEO of Sony Entertainment.; Amy Pascal, co-chairman of Sony Pictures Entertainment; James Schamus, CEO of Focus Features; Robert Shaye, former co-CEO of New Line and co-CEO of Unique Features; Jeff Skoll, founder of Participant Media; and Sony chairman of the board Sir Howard Stringer, who told THR, “When it comes to taste and talent, Michael and Tom are twin legends in the global film industry. They have an unerring eye for the best of world cinema, wherever it comes from, and deliver it to audiences everywhere with extraordinary conviction and enthusiasm. Directors, producers and actors know that their commitment to quality guarantees them the best chance of artistic recognition and satisfaction possible."

Bernard and Barker began working together at United Artists in 1981, where they released François Truffaut’s The Last Metro and Paolo and Vittorio Taviani’s Night of the Shooting Stars. In 1983, they moved to Orion Pictures, where their Orion Classics made Pedro Almodovar, Stephen Frears and Richard Linklater famous and released Wings of Desire, Ran and Babette’s Feast, their first of many foreign language Oscar winners.

Founding SPC in 1992, they have released hits including the Oscar winners Midnight in Paris, Capote, Talk to Her, Howards End, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, The Fog of War, Searching for Sugarman, A Separation and Amour.

The Museum of the Moving Image, with one of the nation’s largest collections of moving image artifacts, celebrates its 25th anniversary this year.