Academy Gives Details Of Its May Membership Meeting

As reported here Sunday the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences is having an unprecedented membership meeting and sent out a save-the-date notice for Saturday, May 4th for Los Angeles-, New York- and Bay Area-based members to attend, have conversations and ask questions about “The Future Of Our Academy”. Today the official invite goes out (check it out below) and lifts the veil on exactly what topics will be covered and why the organization is attempting to do this. As Academy CEO Dawn Hudson explained to me this morning, it is an idea whose time has come. “It’s an idea that many members have talked about to me and to the board. The board has brought it up too. We just felt the time was right now. We talked about doing it I guess since last fall,” she said, adding that the Academy has been hosting individual branch get-togethers and, because of positive reaction, members told her they would like to do something across all branches. So this larger meeting idea was hatched.

Hudson said they needed to wait until the Oscars were over and that no subject is off the table. But on the invite highlighted topics include the new museum, programming, new collections, new technology and other areas like the controversial introduction to e-voting initiated for the first time this past Oscar season. “E-voting was quite successful and we will do a little recap for our members. But really this is to give an overview of what’s coming up in the future”, she said. “This is my mantra. It is what the Academy is doing the other 364 days of the year, and when you talk about those things directly it is quite impressive. Having a face-to-face conversation about all the programs the Academy is doing, all the institutions we support, all the new designs for the museum, it is an impressive spectrum of activities and support in the middle of our film community”.

It is also about increasing outreach to the New York, Bay Area and International members. The event will be satellited to NY and SF and, if successful, the next time they do it perhaps London too. Whether this indeed becomes an annual thing for the Academy really depends on the reaction of the members and the success of this initial meeting. “If it is something the members want we would love to continue. We will see how it goes. No predictions,” she said.

Asked if she thinks there will be discussion about the Seth MacFarlane-hosted Oscar show that drew mixed reaction but strong ratings, Hudson said she expects that there might be some of that too. “I am sure the subject of the show will come up. But that is not why we called this meeting. There is no agenda for this meeting, other than to make the Academy more open to its members, less opaque and more connected. We want our members to feel connected to the Academy and to each other.”

  1. Hope someone will bring up the subject of the shocking disproportion between male and female Honorary Oscar recipients. In the 87 years of the Academy Awards history only 9 (!) women have been recognized with an Honorary Oscar out of over 100 recipients. The new concept with the Governors Award, that was introduced in 2009 didn’t help, since Lauren Bacall so far is the only female Honorary Oscar recipient out of 13 honorees.

      1. This is a good suggestion.

        Also, branches often regurgitate the same governor and new faces rarely get the opportunity to lead their peers. Same stale ideas are bandied about and those who are “in” with the head honcho, more often than not, have their voices heard above others.

        AMPAS needs to be shaken around and brought into the 21st century.

  2. Here’s a question, when will the Academy smarten up and replace Hudson, a lightweight at best.

  3. 99% of Academy members are white and 77% are male; 64% have never even won an Oscar and 54% are over 60 years old.They should discuss making more general guidelines for membership that apply to all branches, as to be more inclusive of women, minorities and younger votes. One universal rule to make across all branches, which might seem obvious, but why not let all Oscar winners automatically become Academy members (without exception)? They should also consider reapportioning the number of members of each branch so that creative branches are more accurately reflecting Hollywood’s artistic interests (i.e. add more cinematographers, film editors, short filmmakers) and cut back on the non-filmmaker branches (i.e. general membership and/or executives and public relations branch) and trim the overly outsized and over-weighted actors branch.

    1. Well, you kind of kill your breakdown reapportionment when you make the winners automatic members; there are 4 acting awards and only 1 (or 2) of any other type. And many of the actors also appear in other categories (directors, producers, writers – think Clooney / Afflick).

      But reducing the PR / general membership group wouldn’t be a bad thing at all.

  4. Let’s hope this meeting will help get rid of dawn hudson, who’s too controlling and has way too little experience to run an organization like the Academy. They really need to get some young blood in there.

  5. Agree they need to be more inclusive of women overall in membership, as well as Honorary Oscar recipients. And yes, the membership should give an eye to the next generation and not have the average member be 60 years old, that certainly skews voting. This is a business where we all need each other, let’s not forget. Look at any credit sequence of a film and their acknowledgments it takes hundreds to get a movie made. Inclusivity is important at every level in each sector of this business.

  6. Its not fair to negate the general membership, executives, and public relations branches. It takes equal talent to handle talent, finance these films that provide employment opportunities to all these other artists. The financing and talent trigger the go on getting these movies going that provide jobs for cinematographers, costume designers, sound, on down… It takes a village. The executive branch is incredibly necessary so everyone can do what they do best.

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