In the midst of an ongoing debate about the lack of minority representation in mainstream media, a monumental appointment at a powerful film institution broadens the sliver of hope for change.
On Tuesday, July 30, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced via Twitter that Cheryl Boone Isaacs would become the next president of the organization. Boone Isaacs is the first African-American and only the third female to earn the title in the 86-year-old Academy, best known for its annual Oscars award show.
Boone Isaacs is a longtime Academy member, and has held various positions within its ruling body for 21 years. Currently, she is the public relations governor on a board of 48 total members who include director and producer Kathryn Bigelow, and actors Tom Hanks and Annette Benning. Prior to that, Boone Isaacs was the head of publicity at Paramount Pictures, and president of New Line Cinema.
She will assume a position currently held by movie producer and music road manager Howard “Hawk” Koch, Jr., who has served as Academy president for the past year. Due to intricate candidacy guidelines, he was not allowed to run for a second term.
The last female president of the Academy was actor Bette Davis, who held the position for a brief two months in 1941. Fay Kanin was elected nearly four decades later in 1979, and remained president for four years.