First African-American and third woman in the job will serve a second one-year term
Cheryl Boone Isaacs has been re-elected to a second term as president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the Academy announced on Tuesday night.
Isaacs, a member of the AMPAS Board of Governors representing the Public Relations Branch of the Academy, was elected by the 51 governors at their monthly meeting. Her election was first announced on the Academy’s official Twitter account.
The veteran publicity and marketing executive was re-elected to her seat on the board last month, making her eligible for another term as president. Governors serve three-year terms, while the Academy president can serve four consecutive one-year terms before he or she must leave office.
Isaacs is the third woman to serve as Academy president, and the first African-American to occupy the position. She is one of 14 women on the board, and its only person of color.
Jeffrey Kurland, a governor from the Costume Designers Branch, was elected first vice president. The position was occupied last year by John Lasseter, who had to relinquish his seat on the board because of term limits.
Makeup Artists and Hairstylists Branch governor Leonard Engleman retained his position as a vice president, while Executives Branch member Dick Cook held onto his job as treasurer.
Cinematographer John Bailey was elected to the other vice-president’s office. Short Films and Feature Animation Branch governor Bill Kroyer replaced Phil Robinson as secretary. Both will be serving as officers for the first time.
In recent years, the Academy officers have often included such actors, producers, directors and writers as Annette Bening, Kathleen Kennedy, Lasseter and Robinson. But with the election of Engleman, Bailey and Kroyer (and Cook, an executive generally not included in film credits), the AMPAS officers can be said to be 100 percent below-the-line for the first time in recent memory.
Isaacs’ re-election was expected, because sitting Academy presidents nearly always win new terms for as long as they are eligible. In recent years, every AMPAS president has left office after serving the maximum of four terms (Sid Ganis, Frank Pierson), or being forced out by the nine-consecutive-year term limit for service on the board (Hawk Koch, Tom Sherak).
Isaacs will not be affected by that term limit, and can serve an additional two years as president if re-elected next year and in 2016.
During Isaacs’ first year in office, the Academy made significant progress on the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures, renovated its Beverly Hills headquarters for the first time in decades, and scored strong ratings and respectable reviews for the Academy Awards broadcast in March 2014.
The board’s May decision to extend the contract of CEO Dawn Hudson was a further sign that the governors were not looking to upset the status quo.
Isaacs served in the publicity and theatrical marketing departments of Paramount Pictures and New Line Cinema, and is currently the head of CBI Enterprises, Inc. In the past, she ran publicity campaigns for Best Picture winners “Forrest Gump” and “Braveheart,” while in recent years she has consulted on such films as “The Artist,” “The King’s Speech” and “Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire.” Since she was elected president, she has not worked on any Oscar campaigns.
She has already made some decisions that will affect her next term as president, notably the choice of Neil Meron and Craig Zadan to produce their third consecutive Oscar show.
Isaacs is the 33rd different person to serve as Academy president. The only other women were Bette Davis, who resigned after only two months on the job in 1941, and screenwriter Kay Kanin, who served four terms in the early 1980s.
Douglas Fairbanks was the first president, in 1927. Since then, the job has been occupied by Frank Capra, Jean Hersholt, George Stevens, Gregory Peck, Walter Mirish, Karl Malden, Robert Rehme, Arthur Hiller, Ganis, Pierson, Sherak, Howard W. Koch and his son Hawk Koch, among others.