Oscars: Election of Academy's New Board Members Enters Its Final Phase

Director Steven Spielberg and former Sony chief Amy Pascal are among the finalists for seats on the board.
Courtesy of The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences
The Academy's current board of governors

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, having overhauled the way it elects new members to its Board of Governors, has now entered the second phase of the process and has begun sending out the news of who the four candidates are for each open seat in all of its 17 branches to the members in each branch.

Steven Spielberg (in the directors branch), Amy Pascal (executives), former Academy president Hawk Koch (producers), James L. Brooks and Robin Swicord (writers) and Bruce Feldman and Tony Angellotti (publicists) are among the finalists.

Back in April, the Academy opened up the nomination process for board elections. Governors, who are elected by their respective branches, serve three-year terms, and since terms are staggered, each year, one governor in each branch comes up for election. In the past, incumbents seeking re-election often faced only token opposition, chosen by committees.

But this year, as the Academy made efforts to diversify and become more transparent, the nomination process was opened up so that any branch member interested in a seat on the board could run. Hundreds threw their hat in the ring. Each branch was then asked to vote on the first wave of candidates, and the top four vote-getters in each branch have now been selected as the final candidates. Final voting begins Wednesday, June 29, and ends Tuesday, July 12.

In the first board election since last season's #OscarsSoWhite controversy, there is an unusually strong showing of female candidates (all but three branches have at least one, and all four costume designers and both designers candidates are female). But there are far fewer people of color, among them Hispanic actor Edward James Olmos, Filipino actor Lou Diamond Phillips and black documentarian Roger Ross Williams and producer Stephanie Allain. In part, that reflects the current membership of the Academy, which, though dominated by men, has more women than people of color.

The candidates in the directors' branch, where board member Kathryn Bigelow chose not to run for re-election, consist of Spielberg, John Badham, Thomas Carter and former board member Lisa Cholodenko.

The candidates in other branches are:

Actors: Incumbent Ed Begley, Jr., Laura Dern, Olmos and Phillips.

Casting directors: Deborah Aquila, Kerry Barden, incumbent David Rubin and Ilene Starger.

Cinematographers: Incumbent John Bailey, Michael Goi, Nancy Schreiber and Mandy Walker.

Costume designers: Sharen K. Davis, incumbent Judianna Makovsky, Ellen Mirojnick and Marilyn Vance.

Designers: incumbent Jan Pascale and Jennifer Williams.

Documentary: former board member Michael Apted, former board member Rob Epstein, Liz Garbus and Williams. (Incumbent Alex Gibney chose not to run for re-election.)

Executives: Bill Mechanic, Mike Medavoy, incumbent Pascal and Peter Schlessel.

Film editors: Maryann Brandon, Richard Chew, former board member Mark Goldblatt and Alan Heim. (Incumbent Lynzee Klingman did not advance to the final round.)

Makeup artists and hairstylists: Howard Berger, incumbent Bill Corso, former board member Leonard Engelman and Donald Mowat.

Music: Alan Bergman, Carter Burwell, former board member Arthur Hamilton and Laura Karpman.

Producers: Allain, incumbent Mark Johnson, former president Koch and Paula Wagner.

Public relations: Angellotti, Feldman, former board member Rob Friedman and incumbent Nancy Utley.

Short films and feature animation: Incumbent Jon Bloom, Ron Diamond, Eric Goldberg and Bob Kurtz.

Sound: Richard Branca, Kevin Collier, David W. Gray and Douglas Greenfield.

Visual effects: Former board member Craig Barron, Edwin Catmull, Michael L. Fink and Theresa Ellis Rygiel.

Writers: Former board member Brooks, Larry Karaszweski, James Schamus and incumbent Swicord.