Three-Term President Tom Sherak's Farewell Letter To Motion Picture Academy Members

EXCLUSIVE: Tom Sherak‘s 3-term run as president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences began in 2009 and ends Tuesday night when a new leader is voted for the Oscars organization. Here is the farewell to members that Sherak sent out via email just now:

Dear Academy Members,

I am writing to you as I approach the end of my final term as president of our Academy – a position that I have been honored to hold for three years.

I remember how excited I was when I wrote to you back in 2009, as I neared the end of my first 100 days in office. Now I am humbled – humbled by what we have accomplished, by all that we represent, and by everything that we are.

To much of the world, we are the arbiters of excellence in motion pictures. We are also the guardians of their history, a voice that gives direction and shape to their future, and a global resource for anyone with a passion for movies.

This passion is at the heart of the Academy and of everything that we do – not only our Awards show and our year-round educational and outreach efforts, but also our day-to-day activities. The Academy is an organization that I have been proud to belong to since 1985, but for the last three years it has also been a place where I go to work. This has allowed me to see that passion in our staff members, every day, whether they have been with us for just a few months or for 35 years.

My own love of movies and of our Academy runs deep. Both have been so good to me, my family and our community. I hope that with the last three years, I have given something back.

I often say that being the president of the Academy is the best nonpaying job in Hollywood. But not being paid doesn’t mean that I haven’t been rewarded. The trust and friendship of our members and staff have only deepened my love for the Academy. I have always tried to support and protect our wonderful organization, as I hope you will, too – just as I hope you will always seek out opportunities to get involved. Because there are many. And because you will always get more out of it than you put in.

I leave office confident that the future of our Academy (and of our industry) is bright. Yes, challenges await us – and as leaders in the global film community, we have anticipated and begun to address a number of them. Others are much further ahead; we cannot predict them any more than the first silent film exhibitors could have predicted digital IMAX 3D. But wherever the industry and the art of moviemaking go, the Academy will be there. Our home is secure, our financial house is in order, and we are making the necessary changes that will help the Academy become the more modern, nimble and responsive organization that the future demands it to be – all while maintaining the mission and the high standards that have always defined us.

This is some of what I tried to accomplish in my time as our 31st president. And as I prepare to step away from the helm of our Academy, I keep thinking of a few lines sung by one of my heroes, Frank Sinatra: “I’ve lived a life that’s full…I traveled each and ev’ry highway…And more, much more than this, I did it my way.”

(I’m sure that some of you are thinking of a different part of the song, when Frank sings, “Yes, there were times, I’m sure you knew…When I bit off more than I could chew…” But this is my farewell letter.)

Of course, the truth is that I did not just do it my way. I did it our way: making the advancement of our mission part of every undertaking. This principle helped me stay focused during my tenure, as I know it will help the next president and the many who follow, into perpetuity. By remaining faithful to this idea, we can be as excited about our future as we are proud of our past. Thank you for giving me the privilege of looking after our Academy for three of the most meaningful years of my career.

Sincerely,
Tom Sherak

  1. I’m not going to say “he will be missed”, because Sherak will always be around in one capacity or another, and thank god for that. He’s one of the (few) good guys in the business. Big smile. Big heart. Great man.

  2. Good riddance. He was the worst. His taste in movies – which is bland and down the middle – carried over into his “vision” as President. He wrecked the Oscars.

    Be gone!

  3. Asshole. Clown. Liar. Buffoon. The man who insisted he go on the Oscar show with Anne Sweeney to announce the network pick-up of the Academy’s deal…this while cutting other things off the show to make time. Jerkoff. Good fucking bye.

    1. All that I can say is, consider the level of profane criticism leveled by this Neanderthal “Academy Member”. I have known and worked with Tom for many years, and he has given so much to the industry and continually supports our art form with passion and generosity. What have you, “Academy Member” done for the industry other than show bad manners and ignorance?

  4. To know Tom Sherak is to read in his writing about family and passion and unbridled enthusiasm. But to really know him is to read as he lays in the most lame of FrankSinatra lyrics; cheesy, immature, unsophisticated and self-aggrandizing. It’s why people like him, but his work has not one iota of what is needed to move the Academy into a future where true artistic vision and excellence can be celebrated. 10 Best Picyure nominees will be his legacy!

  5. Now who’s going to protect that nutjob he brought in to take over for Bruce Davis? Hopefully changes will be made to restore the Academy back to when it meant something.

  6. Tom is one of the best executives I ever met in this town, and he was always quick to help you out with whatever he could even though you were just starting out. His Academy artistic vision and contribution of excellence will always be remembered.

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