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Academy Governors Choose Cheryl Boone Isaacs, the First African-American AMPAS President

Photo of Anne Thompson By Anne Thompson | Thompson on Hollywood July 31, 2013 at 3:35AM

Tuesday night the newly elected board of governors of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences voted for a new president to replace outgoing Hawk Koch, who had come to the end of his one-year term. The race was between two members of the Academy Public Relations Branch, Lionsgate motion picture chief Rob Friedman, who has a demanding full-time job, and Cheryl Boone Isaacs, a former Paramount and Lionsgate marketing and publicity executive whose firm CBI Enterprises, Inc. consults on such film campaigns as “The Call,” “The Artist,” “The King’s Speech,” “Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire,” “Spider-Man 2” and “Tupac: Resurrection.”
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Cheryl Boone-Isaacs
Cheryl Boone-Isaacs

Tuesday night the newly elected board of governors of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences voted for a new president to replace outgoing Hawk Koch, who had come to the end of his one-year term. The race was between two members of the Academy Public Relations Branch, Lionsgate motion picture chief Rob Friedman, who has a demanding full-time job, and Cheryl Boone Isaacs, a former Paramount and Lionsgate marketing and publicity executive whose firm CBI Enterprises, Inc. consults on such film campaigns as “The Call,” “The Artist,” “The King’s Speech,” “Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire,” “Spider-Man 2” and “Tupac: Resurrection.”

Boone Isaacs, who is beginning her 21st year as a governor representing the Public Relations Branch, served as Academy first vice president during the past year. She also produced the 2012 Governors Awards. 

In addition, Disney/Pixar animation czar John Lasseter was elected first vice president, after having served one-year terms as treasurer (2011-2012) and secretary (2009-2010). Jeffrey Kurland and Leonard Engelman were elected to vice president posts; Dick Cook was elected treasurer; and Phil Robinson was elected secretary. Robinson served as vice president during the past year, his fourth consecutive term in that office (2009-2013). These will be the first officer stints for Engelman, Kurland and Cook. 

Boone Isaacs' brother Ashley Boone was also a prominent studio executive. Fay Kanin is the only other woman to serve as AMPAS president. Boone Isaacs is the first African American to hold the post in the Academy's 86-year history.

Academy board members may serve up to three consecutive three-year terms, while officers serve one-year terms, with a maximum of four consecutive years in any one office.

This article is related to: Paramount, Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences


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Thompson on Hollywood

Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.