The Gold Knight: Motion picture academy to elect new presidentWritten by James A. Molnar | The Gold Knight | firstname.lastname@example.org
Before the race to the White House this fall, there is another presidential election. The motion picture academy is looking for a new president.
Current president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, Tom Sherak, is serving his final term for the non-profit organization known for the Oscars. He has served in the unpaid position for three years. The limit is actually four years, but Sherak has served as a governor for nine years now, which is the limit for serving.By the end of Tuesday, July 31, the Academy’s Board of Governors will elect a new president among its members representing all 15 branches of the organization. After multiple round of secret balloting, the first to cross the 50 percent of the vote is elected.
The question remains: Who will be elected president, succeeding Tom Sherak?
What we know
According to Academy bylaws, the president of the Academy is elected from one of the Board of Governors. The 2012-’13 board members were recently announced and from that list the president will be elected.
Sherak, elected in August of 2009, served as the 33rd president for three one-year terms, being reelected each year since. Governors are allowed a maximum of three consecutive three-year terms and officers, four one-year terms. Thus, Sherak can no longer be a member of the board, maxing out at nine years, and a new president must be chosen.
Here is the list of all 43 governors in their corresponding branch:
- Actors: Ed Begley, Jr., Annette Bening* and Tom Hanks (recently reelected)*
- Cinematographers: John Bailey, Richard Crudo and Dante Spinotti (first-time governor)
- Designers: Jim Bissell (reelected), Rosemary Brandenburg and Jeffrey Kurland
- Directors: Kathryn Bigelow, Lisa Cholodenko (first-time governor) and Michael Mann (returning after time away)
- Documentary: Michael Apted, Rob Epstein (reelected) and Michael Moore
- Executives:Dick Cook (first-time governor), Jim Gianopulos and Robert Rehme
- Film Editors:Anne V. Coates, Mark Goldblatt (reelected) and Michael Tronick
- Makeup Artists and Hairstylists: Leonard Engelman (reelected)
- Music: Charles Fox, Arthur Hamilton (returning after time away) and David L. Newman
- Producers: Gale Anne Hurd*, Kathleen Kennedy (returning after time away) and Hawk Koch**
- Public Relations:Cheryl Boone Isaacs (producing Governors Awards)**, Rob Friedman (reelected)* and Marvin Levy
- Short Films and Feature Animation:Jon Bloom, Bill Kroyer (reelected)** and John Lasseter
- Sound: Curt Behlmer, Don Hall and Scott Millan (first-time governor)
- Visual Effects: Craig Barron, Richard Edlund and John Knoll (first-time governor)
- Writers: Bill Condon (first-time governor), Frank Pierson (1925-2012) and Phil Robinson**
*Possible presidents | **Frontrunners
The list above has 35 men and eight women — most in their 50s or 60s. The 34th president could be the first second-generation leader in the Academy’s history, or only the third woman in 85 years, or the first African-American.
Fourteen of the Academy’s 15 branches are represented by three governors, who may serve up to three consecutive three-year terms. Terms are staggered so that each branch elects or reelects one governor each year. The Makeup Artists and Hairstylists Branch is represented by a single governor.
At the end of 2011, Directors Branch governor Paul Mazursky stepped down from his seat on the Board. Lisa Cholodenko was elected to complete the two years remaining on his term and Michael Mann was elected to a new three-year term.
What the experts are saying
It’s a full-time, unpaid job. The president is the face of the Academy — for better or worse. And here is the shortlist of frontrunners, according to some of the Oscar experts:
Koch, 66, co-president of the Producers Guild of America, is the son of Howard W. Koch, a director and producer who was president of the Academy from 1977 to 1979. Koch’s father also produced eight Oscar telecasts.
The only downside to a Koch presidency is that bylaws would limit his one-year term to one since he has served on the Board for eight years already. However, Pond reports, that 10 previous presidents served terms of that length or shorter — three reasons of which include death or resignation.
Koch, part of the producers branch, has most recently served as first vice president of the Board, under Sherak.
“Writer-director Phil Alden Robinson would have substantial support if he were to indicate that he wants the job,” Pond writes.
Robinson produced last year’s Governors Awards and served most recently on the Board as vice president. He also chairs both the Awards Rules Committee and the International Outreach Committee. His chance at presidency could be handicapped, however, by a heavy professional workload.
Animator Bill Kroyer, recently reelected governor in the Short Films and Feature Animation Branch, is another strong possibility for president.
Kroyer “is described as an increasingly active governor whose election would amount to a boardroom rebellion by animators and others who have often taken a back seat at the Academy,” Michael Cieply, of The New York Times, wrote in May.
Cheryl Boone Issacs
Publicity Branch Governor Cheryl Boone Isaacs would be the Academy’s first African-American president and only the third woman. Bette Davis served for two months in 1941 before resigning and Fay Kanin served a full four-term presidency from 1979 to 1983.
Boone Issacs is also producing this year’s Governors Awards.
An actor as president would return the Board to its roots. Douglas Fairbanks was the first president of the Academy in 1927. The most recent was Karl Malden from 1989 to 1992. Actors Branch Governors Tom Hanks or Annette Bening could be elected president, but the job’s heavy workload would be challenging for both of the full-time actors.
From the Board’s eight women, Pond names two clear candidates: Producer Gale Anne Hurd, a second-year governor, with a heavy professional workload, and public relations executive Boone Isaacs.
Public Relations Branch Governor Rob Friedman, co-chairman and CEO of Summit Entertainment, is was also named as a potential candidate.
Some interesting facts from Pond:
In the last 25 years, the job has gone to governors from the Executives Branch twice and the Public Relations, Writers, Directors and Actors Branches once each. All six presidents have been white men, at an average age of 67 when they first assumed office; Bob Rehme was the youngest at 57 the first time he took the job, Frank Pierson the oldest at 76.
The 85th Academy Awards, for outstanding film achievements of 2012, will be presented on Sunday, Feb. 24, 2013, at the Dolby Theatre at Hollywood & Highland Center, and will be televised live on ABC and in more than 225 countries worldwide.
Toledo Free Press Lead Designer and Film Editor James A. Molnar blogs about all things Oscar at TheGoldKnight.com. Watch him discuss movies on “WNWO Today” around 5:50 a.m. on Fridays.