Academy Elects Cinematographer John Bailey as the New President
By Livia Peterson
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS), the host of the Annual Academy Awards, announced veteran cinematographer John Bailey (“Groundhog Day,” “As Good As It Gets,” “How to Be a Latin Lover”) as its 34th President. Bailey was first elected to the board in 1996. Laura Dern was the frontrunner, but she rejected her nomination due to her busy schedule. Besides David Rubin and a few unknown candidates, Mr. Bailey wound up prevailing in a two-person race.
The 74-year-old Bailey represents the Academy member stereotype: elderly and white. The Academy’s pick may not be controversial; rather, he might prioritize preservation and history efforts such as the library and screening programs.
Former President Cheryl Boone Isaacs (the first black woman to hold the office) pushed for inclusion on all fronts, including implementing new membership rules that excluded retired filmmakers from voting. It appears as if the Academy may be taking the conservative approach with this election and hence, may signal a reverse course on the Academy's policies of inclusion and diversity. Then again, Bailey could also defy or exceed expectations. In the current climate, there's simply no way to tell.