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Academy Elects Ava DuVernay, Whoopi Goldberg to Board of Governors

The number of female Academy governors increases from 25 to 26, and the number of people of color increases from 11 to 12 and includes the three governors-at-large

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has elected its 2020-2021 Board of Governors, with 10 incumbents returning to positions on the board and six new governors elected for the first time. The elected governors include Ava DuVernay, who is joining the board for the first time after defeating incumbent Kimberly Peirce to represent the Directors Branch, and Whoopi Goldberg, who won her bid for re-election in the Actors Branch against a lineup of candidates that included former governor Ed Begley Jr. as well as Richard Dreyfuss, James and Stacy Keach and Rita Wilson.

As a result of this election, the number of female Academy governors increases from 25 to 26, and people of color increase from 11 to 12, including three governors-at-large appointed by the Academy president.

The 17 branches of AMPAS are each represented by three governors, who serve three-year terms that are staggered so that one seat per branch is up for election each year. Academy rules say that a governor must take a hiatus from the board after serving three consecutive three-year terms, which this year prevented three incumbent governors from seeking re-election.

Of the 13 incumbents who were running, 10 won, a 77% success rate that is about normal for Academy board elections. The three new governors who defeated incumbents are DuVernay, who won in a field that included incumbent Peirce and former governor Michael Mann as well as Jason Reitman, Reginald Hudlin and Brett Ratner; Rob Bredow, who beat veteran board member Richard Edlund for a seat in the Visual Effects Branch; and Jon Bloom, who returned to the board by defeating incumbent Tom Sito in the Short Films and Feature Animation Branch, where Bloom will be the only governor who predominantly works in short films rather than animation.

The other new governors were elected in the Producers Branch, where recent Oscar show producer Lynette Howell Taylor won after incumbent Albert Berger opted not to run for a third term because he believes that governors should be restricted to two three-year terms, not three; and the Casting Directors, Film Editors and Makeup Artists and Hairstylists Branches, where term limits prevented the incumbents from running.

Otherwise, the results were a typical endorsement of the status quo by Academy membership. That might have been expected after the board agreed to rule changes that substituted a single round of ranked-choice voting over the previous two-round system.

The election took place between June 1 and June 5, with 153 different candidates in the 17 branches.

Newly Elected to the Board for the first time:

Debra Zane, Casting Directors Branch
Ava DuVernay, Directors Branch
Stephen Rivkin, Film Editors Branch
Linda Flowers, Makeup Artists and Hairstylists Branch
Lynette Howell Taylor, Producers Branch
Rob Bredow, Visual Effects Branch

Incumbent governors reelected to the Board:
Whoopi Goldberg, Actors Branch
Mandy Walker, Cinematographers Branch
Isis Mussenden, Costume Designers Branch
Kate Amend, Documentary Branch
David Linde, Executives Branch
Christina Kounelias, Marketing and Public Relations Branch
Charles Bernstein, Music Branch
Wynn P. Thomas, Production Design Branch
Teri E. Dorman, Sound Branch
Larry Karaszewski, Writers Branch

Returning to the Board after a hiatus:
Jon Bloom, Short Films and Feature Animation Branch