Academy Clamps Down on Campaigning for Board of Governors


As its board election heats up, Academy CEO Dawn Hudson calls any negative campaigning "unacceptable."

With the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences having opened up its annual board of governors election to all its members, CEO Dawn Hudson sent an email today to the Academy’s membership, urging them to avoid “free-for-all campaigning [that] could reflect poorly on the Academy.” She also announced that the Academy is setting up pages on the members-only section of its site, where candidates who wish to do so can post statements about their candidacy.

The Academy’s latest move appears to be a response to the public posting of position statements by several candidates on The Hollywood Reporter's website during the past week.

In her email, Hudson set out general guidelines that she urged prospective candidates to adhere to, saying it is “unacceptable” for members of the Academy to cast each other in “a negative or derogatory light” and telling them not to “apply pressure of any kind in order to solicit votes.”

“It is the Academy’s aim that our board elections be fair and ethical,” Hudson wrote. “Candidates should conduct themselves in a manner that is respectful of their fellow members and of the Academy’s standing in the community. Candidates should refrain from contacting their fellow members (either directly or by proxy) to offer inducements, or apply pressure of any kind in order to solicit votes. And, any member (whether a candidate or not) attempting to cast another member in a negative or derogatory light is unacceptable. Voting for a particular candidate should be based on their qualifications, not on criticism of their competitors.”

Hudson also said that while it was not mandatory for candidates to submit statements, for those who want to do so, the Academy is setting up an area on its members-only site where candidates will be able to post statements. (THR had earlier created a site of its own, where board of governor candidates have been posting statements.)

The Academy’s 51-member board of governors, which is comprised of 17 branches, conducts an annual election each summer, during which one of the governor slots for each branch is subject to election. In past years, the members of each branch nominated one half of a nominating committee that then drew up a list of candidates. Critics complained that that process effectively kept the board seats rotating through a relatively small subsection of members, and Hudson admitted it was “confusing and cumbersome.”

Earlier this month, the Academy announced that this year, any member could nominate themselves or another member to run for the board of governors for their respective branches. April 30 is the deadline for nominations to be submitted. During May, the Academy will submit a list of nominees to each branch, whose members will vote to select four members who will comprise the slate for each branch. Elections among the four finalists in each branch will be held in June, and new governors will be announced In July.