Academy Board of Governors Elects the Most Diverse Leadership in Its History

Academy president David Rubin is reelected with a diverse board that faces a daunting task: Bring the Oscars back to relevance.
David RubinThe Governors Awards, Show, Los Angeles, USA - 12 Nov 2016
David Rubin at The Governors Awards in 2016
Michael Buckner/Variety/Shutterstock

It’s no surprise that popular casting director David Rubin will continue for a third one-year term as president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Also elected by the Board of Governors is the most diverse set of officer positions in the Academy’s history.

Officers include:

DeVon Franklin, Vice President (chair, Equity and Inclusion Committee)
Donna Gigliotti, Vice President/Secretary (chair, Governance Committee)
Larry Karaszewski, Vice President (chair, History and Preservation Committee)
David Linde, Vice President/Treasurer (chair, Finance Committee)
Isis Mussenden, Vice President (chair, Museum Committee)
Wynn P. Thomas, Vice President (chair, Education and Outreach Committee)
Jennifer Todd, Vice President (chair, Awards Committee)
Janet Yang, Vice President (chair, Membership Committee)

As he continues to cast movies, Rubin begins his ninth year as a governor representing the Casting Directors Branch. While he ran unopposed, Board term limits dictate that he has to exit both the presidency and the board next year for a minimum of two years. Then he might be able to come back for one last Board term of three years. So a new president will be elected next year.

The Board re-elected screenwriter Karaszewski, Mussenden, Thomas and Yang, while first-time officers include Franklin, Linde, and former Oscar producers Todd and Gigliotti.

Back in June, the new Board of Governors was elected: seven out of 12 governors elected for the first time were women, as well as four returning governors, with a total of 31; the number of governors from underrepresented racial/ethnic communities increased from 12 to 15.

This past year demanded many adjustments from the Academy, which responded not only to the pandemic — pushing back the global ABC Oscars telecast from February 28 to a safe but low-rated and controversial Oscars held on April 25, 2021 — but the urgency of the Black Lives Matter movement. Having exceeded its 2020 goals, the Academy has shifted to a new diversity initiative for the next five years, Aperture 2025, which will use Oscar eligibility as a wedge to encourage Hollywood producers and executives to follow inclusion standards set by the Academy, or risk not being Oscar eligible, starting with Oscars 2022.

The Academy has the daunting task of bringing the Oscars back to relevance in 2022, after a lackluster 2021. A more robust set of contenders, from “Dune” and “Respect” to “West Side Story” and “The Last Duel,” all vying for one of ten guaranteed Best Picture slots, should help boost interest. But the Academy cannot afford any missteps going forward.

The number of officer positions went up to nine this year. New is the Equity and Inclusion Committee, which is in charge of Aperture 2025. And the Board now separates Membership and Governance into two committees as the Academy pulls back on member invites after actively bringing in globally diverse ranks of new members over the past five years, having met its 2020 goal of doubling the number of women and people of color in its membership. The organization swelled its ranks since 2015 from 6,446 to 9,362 voting members.

Academy board members may serve up to two three-year terms, followed by at least a two-year hiatus, after which they may serve up to two additional three-year terms.  Officers serve one-year terms, with a maximum of four consecutive years in any one office.


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