THR's Women in Entertainment 2011: Power 100
Hudson describes her introduction to her new job as CEO of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences -- she stepped into the newly created post in June after 20 years with the much smaller Film Independent -- as "awe-inspring." She's referring specifically to her first visit to the Academy's Margaret Herrick Library, where she thumbed through Gregory Peck's script for To Kill a Mockingbird and a letter from Billy Wilder to Arthur Miller complaining about Marilyn Monroe.
But beyond coming face-to-face with the Academy's storied past, she's also gotten her first taste of what it takes to steer the tradition-bound organization into the future. One of her first initiatives -- striking an agreement in principle with the Los Angeles County Museum of Art to open an Academy museum in the old May Co. building on Wilshire -- won the board of governors' approval. "It's the right dream at the right time," Hudson, 55, says.
But when she and Academy president Tom Sherak decided to entrust Brett Ratner with producing the 84th Academy Awards, their unexpected choice proved embarrassing when Ratner dropped a few homophobic and sexist remarks before bowing out. "Brett immediately took responsibility for what he said, and he's making repairs," she comments diplomatically. "Everyone rallied and called to help, and when we changed producer and host [bringing in Brian Grazer and Billy Crystal], it took just 24 hours."
Moving forward -- what free time she has often turns into a busman's holiday since she enjoys taking her 12-year old son, Sam, to the movies -- she hopes to highlight the Academy's myriad activities that are usually eclipsed by the show itself. "What I would wish for," she says, "is an awareness of the year-round work this organization does -- in preserving our history, helping young artists and leading the industry in positive ways."
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