Academy Thanks Members For “Record” Oscar Voting Turnout

By | Friday January 10, 2014 @ 11:40am PST
Pete Hammond

Just as the final phase of Oscar voting begins today with specially selected uber committees in Los Angeles andOscars 2014 New York picking the five nominees for Best Foreign Language Film (out of 9 finalists), Academy CEO Dawn HudsonRead More »

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Academy CEO Dawn Hudson On Ric Robertson Departure

By | Friday September 6, 2013 @ 3:48pm PDT

Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences CEO Dawn Hudson sent this letter to staff today informing them that Ric Robertson has stepped down as COO.

Dear Staff,

Many of you have asked me about Ric and what’s happening after his time off, and now I have your answer:

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New Academy President Cheryl Boone Isaacs: “We Are Moving Forward And Evolving” – First Interview

Pete Hammond

In the end it probably was not too surprising that Cheryl Boone Isaacs was elected President of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences at last night’s Board of Governors meeting. As I pointed out in my election preview last week, she is the only one in Academy history to have served in every elected office the Academy has – VP, Treasurer, Secretary, Academy Foundation President, First Vice President most recently, and even produced last year’s Governors Awards. That the Board essentially elevated her up one notch to President after her 21 years of service seems a natural. Then again it doesn’t always go down the “natural” way in show business.

Related: Cheryl Boone Isaacs Elected Academy President

But of course her election is historic for another reason. She becomes only the third woman (after Fay Kanin and a combative two-week stint in 1941 for Bette Davis) and first African-American to become Academy President. Much is being made in the media  of the latter distinction, but Boone Isaacs just shrugs it off. With Dawn Hudson as CEO and now Boone Isaacs as President, plus a record 14 women on the Board Of Governors and a meaningful drive toward diversity in the overall membership, it is going to be harder than ever for critics to haul out the usual ‘It’s just an old white man’s club’ description when talking about this new age Academy, even though it is a long way from completely changing its image. But I think more than anything Boone Isaac’s election is a vote for stability in an organization trying to come to grips with a changing business and world. She’s a familiar face, and well-liked within the Academy and that goes a long way in this prestigious position she has now inherited from outgoing one-term President Hawk Koch. When I spoke to Boone Isaacs this morning she was basking in the glory of her election, but definitely looking to the future. Read More »

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Ric Robertson Taking Paid Summer Hiatus From Movie Academy In Financial Crunch

EXCLUSIVE: Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences COO Ric Robertson is  taking what’s being internally Ric Robertson paid leave AMPAScalled a “sabbatical” from June through August. I have learned this is an unusual paid leave even though the Academy is complaining about a financial crunch. Normally, its staff are restricted to 30 days of unpaid leave (and then only with approval). “He has worked here for 31 years. Doesn’t he deserve it?” an insider told me. “He didn’t tell us what he’ll do. Maybe work on his golf game.” Robertson’s upcoming sabbatical has prompted AMPAS staff to wonder whether he will be pushed out and/or look for another job. In April 2011, he was passed over for Bruce Davis’ executive directorship and now reports to AMPAS CEO Dawn Hudson, who was brought in over him. Insiders tell me that Robertson was primarily responsible for this year’s online voting debacle, which Hudson dumped in his lap when the Academy finally decided to implement Oscar balloting electronically — something Robertson and Davis resisted for prior years. (Grumbles one insider: “Dawn gives him anything messy that she doesn’t want to deal with or anything that means a lot of real work or anything that has a potential for failure, like the electronic voting.”) Read More »

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Motion Picture Academy Email To Members: ‘We Want You To Be Advocates And Evangelists’

By | Wednesday May 8, 2013 @ 12:07am PDT
Pete Hammond

The Academy Of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences is still basking in the glow of its successful Academy general membership meeting on Saturday in LA and NY. So Academy President Hawk Koch and CEO Dawn Hudson sent out a letter summarizing the event to the Acad’s nearly 6,000-person membership Tuesday night. … Read More »

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Academy Meeting A Hit Say Hudson, Hawk – But What Did Members Think?

Pete Hammond

Today’s first-ever Academy membership meeting was deemed a success by both Acad President Hawk Koch and CEO Dawn Hudson, as well as a random sampling of several members with whom I spoke immediately following. Certainly the turnout was stellar with the Academy’s Samuel Goldwyn Theatre (which has about 1000 seats) nearly full with members only (no guests) which Koch told me was the first time since it was built that the audience was near-SRO with only Academy members. Koch says New York and Bay Area venues were also well-attended which bodes well for continuing this as an annual event. “On a scale from one to ten, I give it a twelve”, said Koch who according to several attendees I talked to got lots of plaudits from those who asked questions in the audience. ”We’ll hear from our members. But in that room there was a lot of love for this event. I don’t think there has ever been an occasion where we just invited members. It was historic in that way. This kind of came out of the branch mixers we have done, and people asked about doing something cross-branches which was sort of the impetus for this meeting”, Hudson told me in a joint call with Koch shortly after the 12:35PM (PT) conclusion of the event. Read More »

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Academy Announces New Rule Changes At Membership Meeting; All Members Can Now Vote On Foreign Language Films

Pete Hammond

The Academy announced rule changes that will allow  all  members for the first time to vote in all 24 categories including Foreign Language and Documentary Shorts, either via theatrical screenings or DVD.  Previously members had to attend special screenings for … Read More »

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Academy Gives Details Of Its May Membership Meeting

By | Thursday April 4, 2013 @ 1:03pm PDT
Pete Hammond

As reported here Sunday the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences is having an unprecedented membership meeting and sent out a save-the-date notice for Saturday, May 4th for Los Angeles-, New York- and Bay Area-based members to attend, have conversations and ask questions about “The Future Of Our Academy”. Today the official invite goes out (check it out below) and lifts the veil on exactly what topics will be covered and why the organization is attempting to do this. As Academy CEO Dawn Hudson explained to me this morning, it is an idea whose time has come. “It’s an idea that many members have talked about to me and to the board. The board has brought it up too. We just felt the time was right now. We talked about doing it I guess since last fall,” she said, adding that the Academy has been hosting individual branch get-togethers and, because of positive reaction, members told her they would like to do something across all branches. So this larger meeting idea was hatched.

Hudson said they needed to wait until the Oscars were over and that no subject is off the table. But on the invite highlighted topics include the new museum, programming, new collections, new technology and other areas like the controversial introduction to e-voting initiated for the first time this past Oscar season. “E-voting was quite successful and we will do a little recap for our members. But really this is to give an overview of what’s coming up in the future”, she said. “This is my mantra. It is what the Academy is doing the other 364 days of the year, and when you talk about those things directly it is quite impressive. Read More »

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Oscars: What Is The Academy’s Unprecedented Membership Meeting Really All About?

Pete Hammond

Speculation has been swirling this Easter holiday weekend in the media and among Academy types just exactly what the Save The Date for the “special event”  the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences just sent out to their members (in an email from … Read More »

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Future Oscar Winners? Academy Celebrates 2012 Nicholl Fellowships In Screenwriting

By | Friday November 9, 2012 @ 5:01pm PST
Pete Hammond

Thursday night one of the Academy Of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences’ most important events, the 27th Annual Academy Nicholl Fellowships in Screenwriting named five 2012 fellows to an impressive honor roll that has included writers who eventually penned such films as Little Miss Sunshine, Children Of Men, Twilight, The Bourne Identity, Butter and many television shows including this year’s Emmy winner Homeland. The ceremony at the Regent Beverly Wilshire was opened by Academy CEO Dawn Hudson who announced that these finalists came from a massive 7,197 submissions. “I hope this is the last time you go up against that many people in your career”, she said before introducing producer Gale Anne Hurd, an Academy Governor who heads the Nicholl selection committee.

When the Nicholl fellowships started in 1986 there were only 99 entries but obviously word has gotten out that it’s a good place to be seen if you want a screenwriting career. Hurd pointed out that some 80 feature films written by these writers the Academy program has discovered over the past 27 years have earned $5.37 billion theatrically. She thanked the 173 volunteers from the Academy membership who judged the scripts. Read More »

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Ruby Slippers Are The “Holy Grail” For Academy’s Planned Museum

By | Thursday February 23, 2012 @ 1:11pm PST

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is banking on ruby-red slipper magic to rally support for its proposed Academy Museum of Motion Pictures — 70 years after the iconic shoes’ debut in The Wizard Of Oz. Dorothy’s vibrant Technicolor … Read More »

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Film Independent Taps Sean McManus And Josh Welsh As Co-Presidents

By | Tuesday January 10, 2012 @ 12:59pm PST

Film Independent said that senior director Sean McManus and director of artist development Josh Welsh have been appointed co-presidents, a new position. That fills the hole left when longtime executive director Dawn Hudson departed in April to take the … Read More »

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