Academy Re-Elects John Bailey as President

The veteran cinematographer, who was first elected president a year ago, becoming the 34th person to hold the position, will serve for one more year before terming out as a member of the board of governors.
Photographed by Michele Thomas
John Bailey

John Bailey, the veteran cinematographer who was elected president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for the first time a year ago, becoming the 34th person to hold the position, has been re-elected by the organization's board of governors, which met Tuesday night. 

No official campaigning precedes this annual board meeting on the seventh floor of the Academy's Wilshire Boulevard headquarters in Beverly Hills. Instead, as always, the governors — there are 54, three representing each of 17 branches, plus three representing the interest of diversity — nominated colleagues for the Academy's various officer posts, and a vote took place under the oversight of their general counsel, Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan.

Past presidents of the Academy include Douglas Fairbanks, Frank Capra, Bette Davis, George Stevens, Arthur Freed, Gregory Peck, Robert Wise, Karl Malden and, more recently, Sid Ganis, the late Tom Sherak, Hawk Koch and, immediately preceding Bailey, Cheryl Boone Isaacs. Incumbent presidents of the Academy are almost always granted another one-year term until they max out at four consecutive terms at the top of Hollywood's most elite club.

But while Academy presidents can serve up to four successive one-year terms, governors can serve no more than three consecutive terms, so Bailey will have to step away from the board and the presidency next year.

The other officers elected this evening include Lois Burwell, first vice president (chair, Awards and Events Committee); Ganis, vice president (chair, Museum Committee); Larry Karaszewski, vice president (chair, Preservation and History Committee); Nancy Utley, vice president (chair, Education and Outreach Committee); Jim Gianopulos, treasurer (chair, Finance Committee); and David Rubin, secretary (chair, Membership and Administration Committee). Burwell, Utley, Gianopulos and Rubin were all re-elected to posts that they had been serving in. Past president Ganis will step into a vp slot that opened up when Kathleen Kennedy chose not to seek re-election to the board in June. It is the first officer stint for Karaszewki, a governor representing the writers branch.

Bailey, whose credits include the best picture Oscar winner Ordinary People and fan favorites like The Big Chill and Groundhog Day, has a long history of service to the board, on which his wife, Carol Littleton, also currently serves as a governor of the film editors branch. He was first elected to the board in 1996, and then was re-elected in 1999, serving until 2002. After eight years away, he ran again and won in 2010 and was subsequently re-elected in 2013 and once more in 2016.

Bailey has not generally sought out the spotlight during his first year in office — for example, he did not make an appearance onstage at the most recent Oscar telecast. The Academy's biggest move during his tenure has been further growing the organization by inviting a record 928 new members to join. It also has established a new code of conduct and disciplinary procedures, expelling from its ranks Harvey Weinstein, Bill Cosby and Roman Polanski. A complaint of sexual harassment was lodged against Bailey under the new procedures, but following an investigation, he was publicly cleared by the board.