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Ric Robertson Memo On Academy Exit

By | Friday September 6, 2013 @ 3:51pm PDT

Dear Friends,

After almost 32 years with the Academy, I’ve decided to step down from my position as COO.

I’m going to continue my relationship with the Academy, however, as a consultant focusing on the show, award rules and categories. I’m excited to be on these projects in addition to serving as a resource to our new president, Cheryl Boone Isaacs, CEO Dawn Hudson, and you, the Academy staff.

I arrived at this decision with considerable deliberation and, as many of you know, after a three-month hiatus. The summer off was fantastic; it gave me time to travel, relax and try to find CBS on my television. It also gave me the opportunity to think about how I can more fully realize my goals. This is just the first step on that path.

I’m grateful to have worked with you and look forward to continuing to do so, albeit in a different capacity. Thank you for your support of the Academy and for the kindness you’ve shown me personally.



Academy CEO Dawn Hudson On Ric Robertson Departure
Ric Robertson Exits As Movie Academy COO

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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: After 32 years of dedicated service, and three months of rest and reflection, Ric has decided to transition from COO to a consulting role for the Academy.

In his new role, Ric will focus on our show, and the Academy Awards rules and categories. The existing Academy leadership will continue to absorb Ric’s other responsibilities.

It’s always hard when such a valued colleague takes a step back—especially Ric, who is so much a part of the fabric of this organization, and who helped build the Academy to be the great institution that it is.

Ric has been a wonderful friend and partner to me these last couple of years. I know many of you share my feelings, and so I am delighted that he will continue to be involved day-to-day in a number of key areas.

Please see Ric’s letter below.

All best,


Related: Ric Robertson Memo On Academy Exit

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Ric Robertson Exits As Movie Academy COO

By | Friday September 6, 2013 @ 3:45pm PDT

As Nikki Finke reported first back in May, Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences COO Ric Robertson this summer embarked on a very unusual paid leave from June through August that AMPAS called a “sabbatical”. Robertson has now decided, not surprisingly, that he’s not coming back and today officially stepped down from the post. A 32-year veteran of the Academy, he will transition to a consulting role within the organization. Robertson’s sabbatical prompted AMPAS staff to wonder whether he would be pushed out and/or look for another job. In April 2011, he was passed over for Bruce Davis’ executive directorship and reported to CEO Dawn Hudson, who was brought in over him. Insiders said 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. Sources have been predicting for some time that Robertson would leave AMPAS. He joined the Academy in 1981 and became the organization’s second-in-command in 1989 when he was appointed Executive Administrator. In that position he oversaw the Academy’s public programming, library and film archive as well as its public relations, marketing, legal affairs, and numerous awards-related events and activities. One reason he was passed over for the top job was because AMPAS staff members were so … 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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AMPAS-Funded Projects Include Study On Studio Corporate Mergers

By | Tuesday March 19, 2013 @ 4:38pm PDT
Pete Hammond

With the 85th Oscars in the history books The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences has gotten back to doing what it does the other 364 days of the year. The organization held its annual lunch Monday honoring the $25,000 grant recipients chosen as the 2012 Academy Film Scholars. The 12-year-old program started in 2000 offers the grants to scholars who “stimulate and support the creation of new and significant works of film scholarship about aesthetic, cultural, educational, historical, theoretical or scientific aspects of theatrical motion pictures”. The Academy Grants Committee chaired by PR branch member and marketing exec Buffy Shutt with Set Decorator Rosemary Brandenburg as Vice Chair awarded grants to Dr. Christopher Beach who will write “The  Image On The Screen: Directors, Cinematographers, And The Collaborative Process”  and Dr. Thomas Schatz who will create “Hollywood In The Conglomerate Age” which will look at the effect of corporate mergers in the period  since the 1989 creation of Time Warner and Sony-Columbia. This pair joins 13 other scholars currently working on projects commissioned by the Academy. Shutt said of the 95 proposals assessed by the staff, 12 were forwarded to the committee and these two were chosen.

The program has already produced an impressive array of books which were on display at Preston’s restaurant at Lowe’s Hollywood where the intimate luncheon was held. Among the titles are “Joseph P. Kennedy Presents His Hollywood Years”, ”Twentieth … Read More »

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Oscar Voter Warning: Friday Is Firm And Final Deadline To Request Paper Ballot

By | Thursday January 31, 2013 @ 3:39pm PST
Pete Hammond

OK, Academy members, this is your last chance to switch from online voting to a paper ballot or simply  even request a paper ballot to vote in the finals for the 2012 Oscars. Balloting begins February 8th and runs to 5 PM PT on February 19th, but if you find yourself frustrated by what some members feel is a too-complex online voting experience during nominations, you only have until tomorrow, February 1, to switch to paper by calling 1-800 251-0185 or emailing the membership department at

The Academy Of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences seems to be doing everything it can to avoid some of the problems members had with online voting for noms, mostly just by just trying repeatedly to inform members they do have the option of paper but must make that request by tomorrow. A follow-up to last week’s email informing voters of their options was sent to members by President Hawk Koch earlier this afternoon. It was simply to inform them of tomorrow’s deadline to request paper with a P.S. that all members would be receiving a package of DVD screeners for the nominated Live Action and Animated shorts and Documentary Features by start of voting. Rather than allowing voting for these films only at special screenings, this is the first year the Academy is sending them to the entire membership in order to foster greater participation. Read More »

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Oscar Voting Deadlines Loom – Friday Cutoff For Requesting Paper Ballot; Academy Says New Electronic Voting Registration Process “Going Well”

By | Wednesday November 28, 2012 @ 4:37pm PST
Pete Hammond

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences’ brave new steps into electronic voting for Oscars after 84 years of the snail mail routine is proceeding well. Most members seem to be getting the message that they must register to vote, as well as pay dues, before they will be eligible when balloting officially begins on December 17th and runs through January 3rd. That is 10 days earlier than last year and smack in the middle of the holiday season so naturally the Academy was a little nervous when they decided to launch this process four months ago. But I’m told things are going smoothly and they have their fingers crossed it will continue that way. “The response has been really favorable. We are very encouraged,” Academy COO Ric Robertson told me this afternoon, adding that most members are going for the electronic voting option but that there have been a “small number” of requests so far for the old fashioned paper ballots. One member though who is working on a major Best Picture contender told me they have heard from numerous other members saying they were requesting a paper ballot (“although they were all 60 and above”).  The Academy  will provide paper ballots as long as Oscar voters make that request by this Friday November 30. If members desiring traditional paper ballots have not registered to vote and made their request by Friday, they will not be able to participate using that method. Think of it as registering to vote for President. After the cut-off date you’re out of luck. Electronic voting registration however will remain open throughout the entire process ending on January 3rd so there’s another clear advantage for the onliners. Read More »

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