Oscars: Cheryl Boone Isaacs elected Academy president

Don’t look for any white smoke floating out of the head of a giant Oscar statue, but the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has a new leader.

Veteran marketing executive Cheryl Boone Isaacs was elected Tuesday night by the Academy’s board of governors to head the organization for the next year. Among her first responsibilities as president will be the selection of a host for the March 2 Oscar telecast.

The producing team for the broadcast has already been selected by outgoing Academy president Hawk Koch. Neil Meron and Craig Zadan (Chicago, Hairspray, The Bucket List) have signed on to oversee it again, after the ratings success of their first time running the show last February with Seth MacFarlane as emcee.

Boone Isaacs is currently head of her own CBI Enterprises, Inc. where she has advised on such films as The Artist, The King’s Speech, and Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire.  She previously worked as marketing president for New Line Cinema, and was executive vice president of worldwide publicity for Paramount Pictures before that.

This year she produced the 4th annual Governors Awards for the Academy.

AMPAS is taking strides to expand far beyond the annual Oscars broadcast. Throughout the rest of the year, the Academy hosts events such as the Student Academy Awards, the Nicholl screenwriting fellowship, and the summertime outdoor screening series in Hollywood.

Plans are also underway for an ambitious Hollywood movie museum in the mid-city area of Los Angeles, showcasing tens of thousands of pieces of memorabilia from the Academy’s archives.

The Academy has also been seeking to diversify its ranks. This year, it added 276 new members – about a 100 more than last year – as part of an effort to add more women and film professionals with varying backgrounds.

AMPAS has traditionally only added between 130 and 180 new members each year, replacing those who have quit or passed away. The membership now stands around 6,000.

Boone Isaacs is a pioneering figure in her own right, becoming the first black president of the Academy and the third woman to serve in the position, following Bette Davis (who served for a partial term in 1941) and screenwriter Fay Kanin (who served from 1979 to 1983, and died this year at age 95.)

The other officers elected by the Board of Governors were Disney/Pixar chief John Lasseter, who becomes first vice president; costume designer Jeffrey Kurland and make-up artist Leonard Engelman, who were elected to vice president positions; producer and film executive Dick Cook, who was elected treasurer; and screenwriter Phil Alden Robinson, who was elected secretary.

 


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