In a shocking surprise, cinematographer John Bailey was elected president of the Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences late Tuesday night. He succeeds Cheryl Boone Isaacs, only the third woman ever elected to the post and the first person of color. Isaacs leaves behind a legacy that, while at times may have been rocky, also put forth massive pushes for diversity within the voting Academy (including two years in a row of record-setting invitation numbers) and the Best Picture win for Moonlight.
Bailey, a governor of the Cinematography branch, is known for his work on Ordinary People, The Big Chill and Groundhog Day but has never been nominated for an Oscar. His most pressing issues as president will be the Academy’s museum and following through on the diversity pledge to increase numbers of women and minorities to the ranks of the Academy by 2020. Bailey bested casting director Dave Rubin for the post after Academy Award-nominated actress Laura Dern (whom many thought would be the frontrunner) declined the nomination due to her busy working schedule.
Here is the official press release:
LOS ANGELES, CA – John Bailey was elected president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Tuesday night (August 8) by the organization’s Board of Governors.
Also elected to officer positions by the Board:
- 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 is beginning his first term as president and his fourteenth year as a governor representing the Cinematographers Branch. Gianopulos, Kennedy, Rubin, Utley were re-elected to their posts. This will be the first officer stint for Burwell and Tronick.
Bailey’s cinematography 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.
Academy board members may serve up to three consecutive three-year terms, while officers serve one-year terms, with a maximum of four consecutive years in any one office.
For a full listing of the Academy’s 2016-17 Board of Governors, click here.