What's Behind the Film Academy's Mystery Meeting

Dawn Hudson Hawk Koch - H 2013
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Dawn Hudson Hawk Koch - H 2013

The cryptic weekend email invite for upcoming bi-coastal meetings set tongues wagging.

This story first appeared in the April 12 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine.

Forget Seth MacFarlane.  The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has a whole new controversy on its hands, thanks to an email Academy president Hawk Koch and CEO Dawn Hudson sent to the organization's 6,000 members March 29 that has members buzzing. Recipients were invited to "A Special Event: The Future of Our Academy," to be held simultaneously in Los Angeles, New York and San Francisco on Saturday, May 4.

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Because it lacked specific details, the email triggered lots of speculation. Among a dozen members surveyed, most suspected that a big announcement must be in the offing. One screenwriter tells THR the meeting could be "a cover for people who have specific changes in mind." But an Academy spokesperson denies that there are any new plans to be unveiled during the confab.

The Academy would not comment further. But the tri-city meeting appears to be more in line with smaller meetings that Hudson has been holding since she was named CEO in 2011. Rather than a referendum on the recent Oscars show or a review of voting rules, it likely is designed as an update on the organization's year-round initiatives, including the developing plans for its new museum as well as to encourage dialogue with the leadership. If that is the case, it certainly got everyone talking.