Cinematographer John Bailey Elected Film Academy President in Surprise Vote

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Cinematographer John Bailey Elected Film Academy President in Surprise Vote

Despite many rumors suggesting the next president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences could be Rory Kennedy, David Rubin or Laura Dern, in a surprising turn of events, cinematographer John Bailey will take charge for now, per the L.A. Times. Bailey will take over a position that was held most recently by President Cheryl Boone Isaacs who has served four consecutive, one-year stints at the helm. Bailey was elected by the Academy’s 54-person board, which includes Hollywood heavyweights such as Steven Spielberg, Tom Hanks and Whoopi Goldberg.

While the Academy president in the past has been a largely ceremonial role, it has taken on increased importance in the past few years. Isaacs was forced to navigate the recent #OscarsSoWhite controversies, and she successfully strove to ensure greater diversity during the Academy Awards voting process. According to the Times:

In the last two years, the academy has opened its doors to the largest and most diverse classes of new members in its history. In June, a whopping 774 industry professionals were invited to join the organization, 39% of whom were female and 30% of whom were people of color, bringing the overall share of women and minorities among the more than 7,000 members to 28% and 13%, respectively. (In a landmark 2012 analysis, The Times reported that Oscar voters at the time were 23% female and 6% nonwhite.)

Bailey will be expected to continue these efforts and strive to ensure that the Academy becomes less and less exclusive and more diverse. Isaacs believes the transition will be a successful one, stating, “This organization was great before I took this position and it’ll be great after I leave. It’s just an evolution of change, and this is an exciting time.”