Check Out Our New Look

Academy Blurs The ‘Line’ In This Week’s Historic Election Of Cheryl Boone Isaacs

Pete Hammond

“Below-the-line” trumping “above-the-line”? Was that the real story behind the story in this week’s historic election of Cheryl Boone Isaacs as President of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences, the first African American and only the third woman to win the prestigious post? I heard this theory from a very above-the-line member of the Academy’s Board Of Governors who suggests privately that it was the below-the-line Governors who made it happen. Of course, the Academy doesn’t reveal vote totals for any of their elections (including the Oscars). Nor demographic breakdowns of those votes. However, an electoral triumph powered by the below-the-line members of the Board would not be surprising.

The fact is the Motion Picture Academy’s Board Of Governors, along with the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences’ Board Of Governors, are in terms of sheer numbers dominated by what the industry fondly refers to as below-the-line Governors. Other than the marquee actors, writers, directors, producers and executive branches, the movie academy’s below-the-line representation on the board far outnumbers the above-the-liners by a margin of more than 3-to-1. And that will only increase once the three Governors for the newly approved Casting Directors branch are elected this Fall, bringing the total number of Govs to 51. Actors, directors and powerful executives (i.e. studio heads) may be higher profile, but their branch is given the exact same number of Governors – and votes – as any other. This … Read More »

Comments (7)

Analysis: Amy Pascal Leads “Historic” Day For Women And The Motion Picture Academy

Pete Hammond

Today’s announcement revealing the results of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences‘ annual Board Of Governors election was a historic one, at least as far as women and their power position in the organization is concerned. That is something that makes outgoing President Hawk Koch very happy. He particularly praised the increased numbers of female members when we spoke earlier today. “We have the first female Executive branch Governor since Mary Pickford (a founding member in 1927) in (Sony Co-Chairman) Amy Pascal.  Amy is only the second female executive (branch governor)  in our history  and I want to tell you that we are all excited about that. That’s big. We never had more than 9 women before , now we have 14. 30% of our Board is now women. It really reflects our industry, and I think members have been hearing the mantra that Dawn (CEO Hudson) and I have been talking about. Equal representation. We should be reflecting the industry,” he said adding he thinks the makeup of the new Board is anything but status quo and should continue all the forward movement. Certainly with 14 women on the Board it will be harder for critics to continue calling the Academy “an old white man’s club”. Pascal replaces Fox Chairman Jim Gianopulos, who was termed out after nine years on the Board. One major studio head stepping in for another. Koch said he and Hudson had been talking to Pascal for a long while and she was “very excited to run” but he noted that the Academy leadership does not “recruit”  industry heavyweights. It is up to them to jump into the election. Read More »

Comments (6)