Bruce Davis and Ron Yerxa to Co-Chair Academy's Foreign Language Executive Committee

They succeed Mark Johnson, who oversaw rule changes in how foreign films are nominated during his 12-year tenure.

Bruce Davis, the former executive director of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, and Ron Yerxa, producer of Little Miss Sunshine and this summer’s Ruby Sparks, are taking over as the new co-chairs of the Academy’s 30-member foreign language executive committee.

They are succeeding Mark Johnson, who chaired the committee for 12 years, the Academy confirmed Thursday.

The committee oversees the nomination process for the best foreign language film Academy Award, and under Johnson’s tenure it instituted several changes to try to ensure that notable films weren’t overlooked as had sometimes were in the past. Under the system currently in place, a general committee of volunteers from across the Academy’s various branches screens and rates the films which each country submits – and that results in a shortlist of six films. The executive committee then meets and adds three more films to the shortlist. And then two more committees, one on each coast, view the nine shortlisted films to come up with the five nominees.

Academy observers don’t expect to see any dramatic changes in how the committee operates: Davis, who retired as executive director in 2011, had a hand in helping Johnson draw up the rules that are currently in place, and Yerxa served as vice-chairman of the committee last year.