Cinematographer John Bailey Elected President of the Academy

Some might say that the rule of the white man has returned again. Before Cheryl Boone Isaacs was elected to lead the Academy in 2013, white men had ruled the Academy for a staggering 30 year streak. Fay Kanin was the previous woman to hold the post from 1979 through 1983. Of the now 36 individuals who’ve led the Academy, Boone Isaacs is the only person of color and she served four terms. Kanin also served 4 terms with the only other woman to hold the position being Bette Davis who served only about two months before resigning in disgust at how intractable the board and the Academy was at the time. After the diversity push Isaacs heralded in, this would seem to be something of a setback (aka bad optics) for the Academy. Below is the press release of the announcement.

One other interesting fact. Other than lyricist Arthur Freed who served four terms from 1963 to 1967 and art director Gene Allen from 1983 to 1985 (two terms), few tradesmen have ever been elected to the office of president. 9 producers (technically 11, see the end of this paragraph) have held the job, 7 actors, 7 directors, 6 writers, 1 public relations officer, and 1 marketing person. Also of note is that two president, Walter Wanger (1939-1940 and 1941-1945, 6 terms) and Robert Rehme (1992-1993 and 1997-2001, 5 terms) are considered presidents 8 and 10, and 28 and 30 respectively as they held the posts on each side of another individual. Wanger returned to fill out Bette Davis’ term, plus 4 more. Arthur Hiller served four terms in between Rehme’s. Thus, the producer count is actually 11.

For a full list, click here.


LOS ANGELES, CA – John Bailey was elected president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Tuesday night (August 8) by the organization’s Board of Governors.

Also elected to officer positions by the Board:

Lois Burwell, First Vice President (chair, Awards and Events Committee)
Kathleen Kennedy, Vice President (chair, Museum Committee)
Michael Tronick, Vice President (chair, Preservation and History Committee)
Nancy Utley, Vice President (chair, Education and Outreach Committee)
Jim Gianopulos, Treasurer (chair, Finance Committee)
David Rubin, Secretary (chair, Membership and Administration Committee)
Bailey is beginning his first term as president and his fourteenth year as a governor representing the Cinematographers Branch. Gianopulos, Kennedy, Rubin, Utley were re-elected to their posts. This will be the first officer stint for Burwell and Tronick.

Bailey’s cinematography credits include “Ordinary People,” “American Gigolo,” “The Big Chill,” “Groundhog Day,” “As Good as It Gets,” “The Anniversary Party,” “The Way Way Back” and “A Walk in the Woods.” In 2014 he received the American Society of Cinematographers Lifetime Achievement Award.

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.

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  1. To be fair, no woman or person of color was interested in the position at this time. Allegedly, the only other nominee was casting director David Rubin. Actress Laura Dern had been urged to run, but with her busy acting career taking up most of her time, she decided not to.

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