Twenty-seven women (including Lucasfilm’s Kathleen Kennedy and Fox’s Stacey Snider) and seven minorities are among this year’s 67 candidates to head the Oscars organization, which has long faced criticism for being dominated by older white men.
Ava DuVernay, the director of Selma, is facing another vote of the Academy’s directors branch.
When its 382 members failed to nominate her for the best directing Oscar earlier this year, the “snub” prompted cries of outrage both inside and outside of the organization. Now, The Hollywood Reporter has learned, DuVernay will challenge incumbent Michael Mannto become one of the branch’s representatives on the Academy’s board of governors.
DuVernay is one of an unprecedented number of women and minorities in the running this year for seats on the board. Of 67 candidates, 27 are women (spread across across 13 of the Academy’s 17 branches) and seven are minorities (vying for seats in six of the branches). The Academy declined to confirm or comment on the list, which the organization does not make public.
Each of the branches of the Academy’s board is represented by three governors, elected by that particular branch’s members. Every year, one of the three seats allotted to each branch comes up for election. Up to four candidates can run for each open seat.
In one of the branches this year — in a case that may be a first — all four candidates are women: Looking to rep the costume designers are Oscar nominee Deborah Nadoolman Landis (the incumbent), as well as two-time Oscar nominee Ruth E. Carter, who is African-American, Ellen Mirojnick and two-time Oscar nominee Julie Weiss.
Women occupy three of the four spots on the ballots for several of the branches: In the case of the directors branch, DuVernay is joined by Lisa Cholodenko (The Kids Are All Right), an Oscar-nominated screenwriter who previously served on the board from 2012-2014, and Kimberly Peirce (Boys Don’t Cry). Candidates from the film editors branch include Maryanne Brandon, Oscar nominee Carol Littleton and Terilyn A. Shopshire, who is African-American. Over at the producers branch, incumbent and Oscar nominee Kathleen Kennedy of Lucasfilm is facing challengers that include Stephanie Allain, who is African-American, and Jennifer Todd. (Hawk Koch, a former president of the Academy, also is vying for a seat to return to the board.) And in the case of the casting directors branch, Denice Chamian, Nancy Foy and Margery Simkin are taking on incumbent Bernard Telsey (who was elected to a two-year term when his branch was created in 2013).
Two women are seeking election to the documentary branch: 2015 Oscar nominee Rory Kennedy (Last Days in Vietnam) and Oscar winner Karen Goodman (Strangers No More). Another two are on the ballot for the public relations branch: CBS Films’ Terry Press and former DreamWorks Animation exec Dawn Taubin. And in the case of the executives branch, incumbent Dick Cook is facing challenges from Fox’s Jim Gianopulos (a former board member), his fellow Fox exec Stacey Snider and producer Lucy Fisher.
Oscar nominee Amy Madigan is taking on incumbent Tom Hanks in the actors branch contest. And seeking to fill vacated seats are Dana Stevens (writers), Mandy Walker (cinematographers), Oscar winner Lois Burwell (makeup artists/hairstylists) and Theresa Wiseman (short films/feature animation).
The candidates for the cinematography branch are especially diverse: In addition to Walker and former board member Richard Crudo, they include Mexican-born Guillermo Navarro and Asian-American Daryn Okada.
The Academy has long faced criticism for being predominantly comprised of older white men. However, under the leadership of current president Cheryl Boone Isaacs, an African-American woman who has served two one-year terms in the top post, and CEO Dawn Hudson, there have been concerted efforts to diversify the Academy. This year’s roster of newly-invited members, which will be made public on Friday, is expected to reflect these efforts as well.
The board currently includes 14 women: Isaacs; Kathleen Kennedy and Landis; and Kate Amend, Annette Bening, Kathryn Bigelow, Kathryn Blondell, Lora Kennedy, Lynzee Klingman, Judianna Makovsky, Amy Pascal, Jan Pascale, Robin Swicord and Nancy Utley.
This year’s board voting began on June 24 and will continue through July 2, with an announcement of the winners expected within a week after that. For the first time this year, Academy members have the option of casting their votes for these elections online using the same system that is now used for Oscar voting; in both cases, though, paper ballots are still available to them.
What follows is a listing of all of this year’s candidates for the Academy’s board of governors. Board members are elected for three-year terms, and, if re-elected, can serve up to three, successive three-year terms before they are considered “termed-out” for at least one election cycle:
Actors — Tom Hanks (incumbent), Amy Madigan and Edward James Olmos
Casting Directors — Denice Chamian, Nancy Foy, Margery Simkin and Bernard Telsey (incumbent)
Cinematographers (Dante Spinotti, the incumbant, is not seeking re-election) — Richard Crudo (a former board member seeking to return to the board), Guillermo Navarro, Daryn Okada and Mandy Walker
Costume Designers — Ruth Carter, Deborah Nadoolman Landis (incumbent), Ellen Mirojnick and Julie Weiss
Designers — Jim Bissell (incumbent), Nathan Crowley, Tom Dussield and Ed Veloreaux
Directors — Ava DuVernay, Michael Mann (incumbent), Kimberly Peirce and Lisa Cholodenko
Documentary (Rob Epstein, the incumbent, has termed out) — Orlando Bagwell, Karen Goodman, Davis Guggenheim, Rory Kennedy
Executives — Dick Cook (incumbent and current Academy treasurer), Jim Gianopulos (a former board member looking to return after terming out in 2013), Lucy Fisher, Stacey Snider
Film Editors (Mark Goldblatt, the incumbent, has termed out) — Maryanne Brandon, Carol Littleton, Stephen Rivkin and Terilyn A. Shropshire
Makeup Artists/Hairstylists (Leonard Engelman, the incumbent, has termed out) — Howard Berger, Lois Burwell, Donald Mowat and Robert Ryan
Music — Marco Beltrami, Michael Giacchino, Arthur Hamilton (incumbent) and Patrick Williams
Producers — Stephanie Allain, Kathleen Kennedy (incumbent), Hawk Koch (a past Academy president seeking to return to the board) and Jennifer Todd
Public Relations — Rob Friedman (incumbent), Marvin Levy, Terry Press and Dawn Taubin
Short Films/Feature Animation — Eric Goldberg, Bill Kroyer (incumbent), Bob Kurtz and Theresa Wiseman
Sound — Paul Massey, Scott Millan (incumbent), Andy Nelson and Gary Rydstrom
Visual Effects — Peter Anderson, Craig Barron, Thaddeus Beier and John Knoll (incumbent),
Writers (Bill Condon, the incumbent, is not seeking re-election) — Larry Karaszewski, Billy Ray, James Schamus and Dana Stevens