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Oscars Academy Elects Casting Director David Rubin as New President

Rubin replaces John Bailey, who had to leave the board after two terms as Academy president because of term limits


David Rubin has been elected president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the Academy announced on Tuesday night.

Rubin, a governor representing the Academy’s Casting Directors Branch, was chosen by the AMPAS Board of Governors to replace cinematographer John Bailey, who had to leave the board due to term limits after serving two years as president.

Academy presidents can serve four consecutive one-year terms — but they must be on the board to serve, and board members can only serve a maximum of three three-year terms. Bailey’s third term ended this month, so he must leave the board for a year before running again.

Rubin was elected to the board when the Casting Directors Branch was created in 2013, and began his third term this year. That means that he can serve a maximum of three years as president before having to step down.

He had been in the running for the office in 2017 but lost to Bailey, and was always considered a leading candidate to succeed the outgoing president. He has recently served as secretary on the board, and has served as casting director on more than 80 films, including “The Talented Mr. Ripley” and “The English Patient.”

Lois Burwell, a governor from the Makeup Artists and Hairstylists Branch who was considered Rubin’s chief competitor for the position, was elected first vice president, the position she has held in recent years.

Sid Ganis, Larry Karaszewski and Nancy Utley were re-elected to their positions as vice presidents, while Mark Johnson and Bonnie Arnold were elected officers for the first time. Johnson will serve as treasurer, while Arnold will be secretary.

The new president, the first ever from his branch, assumes the position at a stormy time for the Academy. In the quest to boost the sagging ratings of the Oscars telecast, the board voted in August of 2018 to give out a new “popular Oscar” award, to move some of the categories into commercial breaks, and to move the show itself up to early February from its typical late-February spot on the calendar.

The first two ideas were tabled after public and industry outcry, while the earlier date appears to be a one-time experiment, with late-February dates in 2021 and 2022 already announced.

The organization may also be on the verge of opening its long-awaited, long-delayed and wildly expensive Academy Museum of Motion Pictures, which was originally set to open in 2017 and now will do so at some point in 2020 — presumably after the Oscars.

The museum has long been a bone of contention on the board, as it caused the Academy to take on more debt to cover its cost of more than $300 million. This week, the museum’s director, Kerry Brougher, stepped down after overseeing the opening.