Oscar 2018: Cinematographer John Bailey is the Academy’s 36th President

Cinematographer John Bailey was elected the new 36th president of the Academy  of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS).

The decision was made Tuesday at a monthly meeting of the noard of governors. The new Academy leader succeeds exiting president Cheryl Boone Isaacs, who served the maximum four-year term in the role.

Bailey’s credits include “Ordinary People,” “American Gigolo,” “The Big Chill,” “Groundhog Day,” “As Good as It Gets,”  “The Anniversary Party,” “The Way Way Back” and “A Walk in the Woods.”

In 2014 he received the American Society of Cinematographers Lifetime Achievement Award, but he has never received an Oscar nomination.

Academy members were hoping for another woman or a person of color to follow Isaacs. When Isaacs was first elected in 2013,  she was the third female — and first person of color — to hold the post.

A black woman has served as Academy president for four years, Barry Jenkins’ “Moonlight” was this year’s best-picture Oscar winner (three years after Steve McQueen’s “12 Years a Slave”), and the Academy has received attention for its moves to increase diversity via membership and on the board.

The 54-member panel also elected new officers:

Lois Burwell, First Vice President (chair, Awards and Events Committee)
Kathleen Kennedy, Vice President (chair, Museum Committee)
Michael Tronick, Vice President (chair, Preservation and History Committee)
Nancy Utley, Vice President (chair, Education and Outreach Committee)
Jim Gianopulos, Treasurer (chair, Finance Committee)
David Rubin, Secretary (chair, Membership and Administration Committee)

Bailey will have to deal with the organization’s museum project and the Oscars show amid falling ratings. The new leader also has membership concerns: the Academy will continue increasing numbers for women and minorities by 2020.

Related

The president has the power to nominate three governors-at-large, an innovation as of March 2016. Filmmakers Reginald Hudlin, Gregory Nava and Jennifer Yuh Nelson make up the current trio.

Isaacs and other recent presidents have been involved with Academy business 24/7, but that isn’t necessarily part of the job description. Many past presidents have been more or less figureheads, essentially the public face of the Academy for PR purposes. But that alone presents a lot of time demands, including attending AMPAS functions around the world and, crucially, becoming a lure at events to raise funds for the museum.

Dawn Hudson has ultimate authority over that project, which faces many hurdles including rising costs and the re-channeling of funds from longtime Academy projects (such as scholarships, film preservation and other programs). There is also the question of filmmaker George Lucas’ planned museum, which was announced for Los Angeles long after the Academy project was underway, yet threatens to overshadow its impact.

The president and other AMPAS officers are elected for a one-year term.  Interested parties simply let it be known internally that they are willing and eager to serve, and then proceed to build a base of support among board members.

Return engagements are rare, In the organization’s 90-year history, only Walter Wanger and Robert Rehme have been elected to second tenures.

The president also must be a board member, and can only serve as president for four consecutive years. The vast majority of previous presidents were above-the-line names, including inaugural president Douglas Fairbanks and high-profile talents like Frank Capra, George Stevens, Gregory Peck and Karl Malden. Only three presidents have been women (Bette Davis, Fay Kanin and Isaacs).

Bailey is beginning his first term as president and his 14th year as a governor.  Gianopulos, Kennedy, Rubin and Utley were re-elected to their posts. This will be the first officer stint for Burwell and Tronick.

Despite being eligible to return to the board after her run as president, Isaacs opted out of seeking re-election to the public relations branch in July. She leaves behind a legacy that is and will continue to be thoroughly dissected as the Academy finds itself dragged — sometimes kicking and screaming — into a new era.

Share this:
Share this page via Email Share this page via Stumble Upon Share this page via Digg this Share this page via Facebook Share this page via Twitter

Speak Your Mind

*