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Amy Pascal, Alex Gibney Elected to Academy Board of Governors

10 first-time governors help bring the total of female governors to 14, the largest number ever


Alex Gibney, Amy Pascal and Nancy Utley have been elected to the Board of Governors of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, AMPAS announced on Monday.

Those first-time governors are part of an unusually large group of 10 first-time governors who join the board, which has expanded by five members to 48, its largest number ever.

Getty ImagesSony Pictures' co-chairman Pascal (left) was elected by the Executives Branch, while Utley, who currently serves as the president of Fox Searchlight, was elected by the Public Relations Branch.

Gibney was elected by the Documentary Branch. He defeated Michael Moore, the doc governor who pushed for significant changes in the doc process and who came under fire from the producer of “2016: Obama’s America."

Other first-time governors are Judianna Makovsky and Deborah Nadoolman from the new Costume Designers Branch; Rick Carter and Jan Pascale in the Designers Branch; Lynzee Klingman in the Film Editors Branch; Kathryn Blondell and Bill Corso in the expanded Makeup Artists and Hairstylists Branch; and Nancy Utley in the Public Relations Branch.

Producer Mark Johnson, the architect of the Academy's controversial foreign-language process, was re-elected to the board after a one-year hiatus, taking the seat formerly occupied by AMPAS president Hawk Koch, who had to leave the board because of term limits.

Eight sitting governors were re-elected to new three-year terms: Ed Begley, Jr. in the Actors Branch, John Bailey in the Cinematographers Branch, Kathryn Bigelow in the Directors Branch, Charles Fox in the Music Branch, Jon Bloom in the Short Films and Feature Animation Branch, Curt Behlmer in the Sound Branch, Richard Edlund in the Visual Effects Branch and Robin Swicord in the Writers Branch.

Academy president Hawk Koch told TheWrap on Monday that voter turnout for the governors election was the highest ever.

"This is a very engaged, accomplished board, with a lot of Academy Award winners," Koch said. "I think that this board will continue to move forward the way the last board did, and the way [AMPAS CEO] Dawn [Hudson] and I have been pushing to move us into this decade."

The Board of Governors is a real seat of power at AMPAS, choosing the Academy president from among its ranks and overseeing the Academy Awards and all other operations of the 6,000-member organization.

Each of the organizations's 16 brances are represented by three governors, who serve staggered three-year terms so that one seat from each branch  is up for re-election each year.

The election gives the board 14 female members, an increase of five over the previous high of nine. Typically, four-to-six first-time governors are elected, making this year's crop of 10 newcomers the biggest influx of new blood on the board in many years.

The 19 newly elected governors each faced three other candidates for their seats. While the Academy announces the winners, it does not reveal the names of the other candidates, or disclose the identities of the committee members from each branch who choose those candidates.

The Academy also does not reveal whether any sitting members of the board ran for re-election and lost, though it is known that Michael Moore did run.

Koch said that he supports the current system of keeping the executive committee members secret, because he does not want those members to be lobbied.

Typically, 15 or 16 seats are up for election, one from each branch. Since the last election, though, the former Art Directors branch was split into separate Designers and Costume Designers branches, creating three new seats. In addition, the Makeup Artists and Hairstylists Branch was brought in line with all other branches and given a full complement of three governors, after being represented by a single governor in the past.

The new additions bring the total number of governors to 48, up from 43 in recent years.

The new board’s first order of business will be to elect a new Academy president to replace Koch, who loses his position after one year because he must leave the board. Any member of the board is eligible to serve as president, although the number of likely candidates is small.

Koch said he was open to returning to the board after an enforced one-year hiatus "if the Producers Branch thinks that they'd like me to come back." He would not address the idea of returning to the job of president.

The following governors were not up for re-election and remain on the board:

Annette Bening and Tom Hanks, Actors Branch; Jim Bissell, Designers; Richard P. Crudo and Dante Spinotti, Cinematographers; Jeffrey Kurland, Costume Designers; Lisa Cholodenko and Michael Mann, Directors; Michael Apted and Rob Epstein, Documentary; Dick Cook and Robert Rehme, Executives; Mark L. Goldblatt and Michael Tronick, Film Editors; Leonard Engelman, Makeup Artists and Hairstylists; Arthur Hamilton and David L. Newman, Music; Gale Anne Hurd and Kathleen Kennedy, Producers; Cheryl Boone Isaacs and Rob Friedman, Public Relations; Bill Kroyer and John Lasseter, Short Films and Feature Animation; Don Hall and Scott Millan, Sound; Craig Barron and John Knoll, Visual Effects; and Bill Condon and Phil Robinson, Writers.