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Film academy elects first African American president: Cheryl Boone Isaacs

July 31st, 2013 Entertainment

By Nicole Sperling

7:30 PM PDT, July 30, 2013

Veteran Hollywood marketer Cheryl Boone Isaacs has been elected the first African American president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the organization that hands out the Oscars each year.

Isaacs, a longtime academy insider who most recently held the job of first vice president, will serve a one-year term with eligibility to stay in the role for three additional years.

She was elected Tuesday evening over governor Rob Friedman, Lionsgate motion picture group co-chair, by the academy’s 48-member board of governors.

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Isaacs, a marketing and publicity consultant who previously worked at New Line Cinema and Paramount Pictures, has served in every office within the organization except president.

Most recently she produced the 2012 Governors Awards. 

The election of Isaacs comes at a time when the academy is interested in addressing the issue of diversity. A 2012 Los Angeles Times survey found that the academy was overwhelmingly white, male and older. Though outgoing president Hawk Koch and academy chief executive officer Dawn Hudson have made strides to increase the diversity within the organization — eliminating the quota system for electing members, bringing in additional women to the board — the group is still predominantly male and white.

The addition of Isaacs to the top post means the academy will now be run by two women, including Hudson.

The board of governors will elect its other officers during Tuesday evening’s meeting.


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