Considering the New Dawn for Oscar

Oscar-watchers consider new AMPAS chief Dawn Hudson, and what her appointment means for the Academy

An array of Oscar-watchers considers the choice of Film Independent chief Dawn Hudson to come in as AMPAS' top salaried employee, in the newly-created CEO position:

Dawn HudsonNicole Sperling calls it "a sea change" but said it was "unclear" how Hudson would split the duties with new COO (and the Academy's longtime executive administrator) Ric Robertson. (Los Angeles Times)

Anne Thompson figures that Hudson's style will be a refreshing change from the "autocratic leader" that she said Bruce Davis was. "She has a lot to learn, and many politics to navigate. But the Academy has opened itself up to the outside world at last." (Thompson on Hollywood)

Jeff Wells figures that Hudson can thank the "debacle" of the recent Oscar show for her new gig: "Otherwise the change-averse board of governors would have probably given the gig to status-quo functionary Ric Robertson, and the show would have probably continued its gradual slide into cultural irrelevance." And he says he's "somewhat encouraged" by the choice, because "once she gets past the ritual of soothing Academy elders by demonstrating her allegiance to tradition, she may become a force for changing AMPAS into a somewhat less ossified oufit." (Hollywood Elsewhere)

David Poland likes Hudson but points out that the real power at the Academy is exercised by the Board of Governors, not by any salaried employee, and he naturally thinks that the rest of the press is missing the point. "The Oscars are a much bigger (at least 10x bigger), much more complex, much more political, and much more in-demand event than Indie Spirits has ever been … and D-Hud will have to say 'no' a lot more than she ever has in her career. And that will be hard." (The Hot Blog)

Sasha Stone has a succinct comment: "How exciting that a woman has actually risen in the ranks at the AMPAS," she says of the organization that boasts seven females on its 43-member board of governors. Then she returns to her Oscar-season mantra that "The Social Network" deserved to beat "The King's Speech" and voters went for the wrong movie. "The film awards … mean less and less as the decade wears on but never meant so little as they did this past year …  [L]et’s see if Ms. Hudson can shake things up a bit." (Awards Daily)

And Nikki Finke, who used to trash everything the Academy (and especially president Tom Sherak) did, and then laid off for a while and simply ran their press releases without comment, is now back on her hating-AMPAS kick. So bringing in an outsider, she says, is "the first thing they've done right in a long while." (Deadline)