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The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences: Major Changes Ahead

Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) is seeing major changes. Announced at Tuesday evening’s board meeting, AMPAS elected a new President. The news broke via Twitter that Cheryl Boone Isaacs will be the new president for The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

Boone Isaacs is the first African-American to head the 86-year-old Academy and only the third woman to serve as President. Screenwriter Fay Kanin served as president for four years from 1979-1983 and actress Bette Davis held the position for just two months in 1941. Boone Isaacs comes from a background in marketing. She has worked for Paramount and New Line Cinema, currently heads CBI Enterprises, and she consulted on films such as The Artist, The King’s Speech, and Precious.

Boone Isaacs succeeds Hawk Koch who served as Academy president for only a single year. Koch might have continued as President longer but he reached certain term limits after completing nine successive years on the organization’s board of governors. Koch is also the president of the Producer’s Guild of America.

John Lasseter was elected first vice president; Jeffrey Kurland and Leonard Engelman were elected to vice president posts; Dick Cook was elected treasurer; and Phil Robinson was elected secretary.

Lasseter is the chief creative officer at Pixar Animation Studios and Walt Disney Animation Studios. He is also a governor for the short films and feature animation branch. Lasseter previously served one-year terms as treasurer and as secretary. Engelman (from the makeup and hairstylists branch), Kurland (costume designers) and Cook (the former Disney Studios chairman who reps the executive branch) are all first-time offers. Director and Screenwriter Robinson, governor from the writers’ branch, has served as Vice President for four consecutive years.

Also announced at the Tuesday night Academy’s board of governors meeting was the creation of a new branch. This branch, for casting directors, means to bring proper recognition to a department that previously admitted individuals as “members-at-large.” Boone Isaacs is quoted saying, “”Casting directors play an essential role in the filmmaking process. Their inclusion on our board will only broaden our perspective and help ensure that the Academy continues to accurately reflect the state of filmmaking today.”

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Source: Hollywood Reporter (1, 2)

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Kimberly Behzadi

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