Wed. Aug 5th, 2020

Oscars: Academy elects Ava DuVernay to Board of Governors; re-ups Whoopi Goldberg, increases women and people of color numbers

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences today announced its newly elected 2020–2021 Board of Governors.  The governors will take office at the first regularly scheduled board meeting of the new term. 

As a result of this election, the number of female Academy governors increases from 25 to 26, and people of color increases from 11 to 12, including the three Governors-at-Large.

Among the newly elected members is Ava DuVernay to the directors branch. The announcement comes off the heels of the news last week when star David Oyelowo revealed that when members of the cast and crew of her Oscar-winning film Selma wore ‘I Can’t Breathe’ shirts to the 2015 premiere that Academy Award members refused to vote for the movie.

“Six years ago, Selma coincided with Eric Garner being murdered,” Oyelowo said. “That was the last time we were in a place of ‘I Can’t Breathe.’ I remember at the premiere of Selma us wearing ‘I Can’t Breathe’ T-shirts in protest.”

He continued, “Members of the Academy called in to the studio and our producers saying, ‘How dare they do that? Why are they stirring shit?’ and ‘We are not going to vote for that film, because we do not think it is their place to be doing that.’”

On Twitter, DuVernay backed up Oyelowo’s claim. “True story,” she tweeted.

Here is the full list of new and incumbent board seats.

Elected to the Board for the first time:

Debra Zane, Casting Directors Branch
Ava DuVernay, Directors Branch
Stephen Rivkin, Film Editors Branch
Linda Flowers, Makeup Artists and Hairstylists Branch
Lynette Howell Taylor, Producers Branch 
Rob Bredow, Visual Effects Branch

Incumbent governors reelected to the Board:

Whoopi Goldberg, Actors Branch
Mandy Walker, Cinematographers Branch
Isis Mussenden, Costume Designers Branch
Kate Amend, Documentary Branch
David Linde, Executives Branch
Christina Kounelias, Marketing and Public Relations Branch
Charles Bernstein, Music Branch
Wynn P. Thomas, Production Design Branch
Teri E. Dorman, Sound Branch
Larry Karaszewski, Writers Branch

Returning to the Board after a hiatus:

Jon Bloom, Short Films and Feature Animation Branch

The Academy’s 17 branches are each represented by three governors, who may serve up to three consecutive three-year terms.  The Board of Governors sets the Academy’s strategic vision, preserves the organization’s financial health, and assures the fulfillment of its mission. 

For a full list of the current 2019-2020 Academy governors, click here.

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