Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences
|Formation||May 11, 1927|
|Headquarters||Beverly Hills, California, United States|
|Cheryl Boone Isaacs|
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) is a professional honorary organization dedicated to the advancement of the arts and sciences of motion pictures. The Academy's corporate management and general policies are overseen by a Board of Governors, which includes representatives from each of the craft branches.
The Academy is composed of almost 6,000 motion picture professionals. While the great majority of its members are based in the United States, membership is open to qualified filmmakers around the world.
The Academy is known around the world for its annual Academy Awards, now officially known as The Oscars. In addition, the Academy holds the Governors Awards annually for lifetime achievement in film; gives Student Academy Awards annually to filmmakers at the undergraduate and graduate level; awards up to five Nicholl Fellowships in Screenwriting annually; and operates the Margaret Herrick Library (at the Fairbanks Center for Motion Picture Study) in Beverly Hills, California and the Pickford Center for Motion Picture Study in Hollywood, Los Angeles, California. The Academy plans to open the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures in Los Angeles in 2017.
The notion of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) began with Louis B. Mayer, head of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM). He wanted to create an organization that would mediate labor disputes and improve the industry’s image. So, on a Sunday evening, Mayer and three other studio big-wigs - actor Conrad Nagel, director Fred Niblo, and the head of the Association of Motion Picture Producers, Fred Beetson - sat down and discussed these matters. The idea of this elite club having an annual banquet was tossed around, but there was no mention of awards just yet. They also established that membership into the organization would only be open to people involved in one of the five branches of the industry: actors, directors, writers, technicians, and producers.
After their brief meeting, Mayer gathered up a group of thirty-six people involved in the film industry and invited them to a formal banquet at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles on January 11, 1927. That evening Mayer presented to those guests what he called the International Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, and it was open to those who had contributed to the motion picture industry. Everyone in the room that evening became a founder of the Academy. Between that evening and when the official Articles of Incorporation for the organization were filed on May 4, 1927, the "International" was dropped from the name, becoming the "Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences".
Several organizational meetings were held prior to the first official meeting was held on May 6, 1927. Their first organizational meeting was held less than a week later, on May 11. At that meeting Douglas Fairbanks, Sr. was elected as the first president of the Academy, while Fred Niblo was the first vice-president, and their first roster, composed of 230 members, was printed. That night, the Academy also bestowed its first honorary membership, to Thomas Edison. Initially, the Academy was broken down into five main groups, or branches, although this number of branches has grown over the years. The original five were: Producers, Actors, Directors, Writers and Technicians.
The initial concerns of the group had to do with labor." However, as time went on, the organization moved "further away from involvement in labor-management arbitrations and negotiations.". One of several committees formed in those initial days was for "Awards of Merit", but it was not until a year later, in May 1928, that the committee began to have serious discussions about the structure of the awards and the presentation ceremony. By July 1928, they had presented to, and been approved by, the Board of Directors a list of 12 awards to be presented. During July the voting system for the Awards was established, and the nomination and selection process began. This "award of merit for distinctive achievement" is what we know now as the Academy Award.
The initial location was the organization's temporary offices at 6912 Hollywood Boulevard. In November 1927, the Academy moved to the mezzanine level of the Roosevelt Hotel at 7010 Hollywood Boulevard, which was also the month the Academy's library began compiling a complete collection of books and periodicals dealing with the industry from around the world. The following spring, in May 1928, the Academy authorized the construction of a state of the art screening room, to be located in the Club lounge of the hotel. The screening room was not completed until April 1929.
With the publication of Report on Incandescent Illumination in 1928, the Academy began a long history of publishing books to assist its members. Another early initiative concerned training Army Signal Corps officers.
In 1929 Academy members in a joint venture with the University of Southern California created America's first film school to further the art and science of moving pictures. The school’s founding faculty included Fairbanks (President of the Academy), D. W. Griffith, William C. deMille, Ernst Lubitsch, Irving Thalberg, and Darryl F. Zanuck.
1930 saw another move, to 7046 Hollywood Boulevard, in order to accommodate the enlarging staff, and by December of that year the library was acknowledged as "having one of the most complete collections of information on the motion picture industry anywhere in existence." They would remain at that location until 1935, when further growth would cause them to move once again. This time, the administrative offices would move to one location, to the Taft Building at the corner of Hollywood and Vine, while the library would move to 1455 North Gordon Street.
In 1934, the Academy began publication of the Screen Achievement Records Bulletin, which today is known as the Motion Picture Credits Database. This is a list of film credits up for an Academy Award, as well as other films released in Los Angeles County, using research materials from the Academy's Margaret Herrick Library. Another publication of the 1930s was the first annual Academy Players Directory in 1937. The Directory was published by the Academy until 2006, when it was sold to a private concern. The Academy had been involved in the technical aspects of film making since its founding in 1927, and by 1938, the Science and Technology Council consisted of 36 technical committees addressing technical issues related to sound recording and reproduction, projection, lighting, film preservation and cinematography.
Galleries and theaters
The Academy’s numerous and diverse operations are housed in three facilities in the Los Angeles area: the headquarters building in Beverly Hills, which was constructed specifically for the Academy, and two Centers for Motion Picture Study – one in Beverly Hills, the other in Hollywood – which were existing structures restored and transformed to contain the Academy’s Library, Film Archive and other departments and programs.
The Academy's main building in Beverly Hills houses two galleries that are open free to the public. The Grand Lobby Gallery and the Fourth Floor Gallery offer changing exhibits related to films, film-making and film personalities.
The Samuel Goldwyn Theater seats 1,012, and was designed to present films at maximum technical accuracy, with state-of-the-art projection equipment and sound system. Located in the headquarters building, the theater is busy year-round with the Academy's public programming, members-only screenings, movie premieres and other special activities (including the live television broadcast of the Academy Awards nominations announcement every January).
The Academy Little Theater is a 67-seat screening facility also located at the Academy's headquarters in Beverly Hills.
The Linwood Dunn Theater is located at the Academy’s Pickford Center for Motion Picture Study in Hollywood and seats 286 people.
The Academy also has a New York-based East Coast showcase theater, the Academy Theater at Lighthouse International. The 220-seat venue was redesigned in 2011 by renowned theater designer Theo Kalomirakis, including an extensive installation of new audio and visual equipment. The theater is in the East 59th Street headquarters of the non-profit vision loss organization, Lighthouse International.
The Academy Museum of Motion Pictures, a Los Angeles museum currently under construction, will be the newest facility associated with the Academy. It is scheduled to open in 2017 and will contain over 290,000 square feet of state-of-the-art galleries, exhibition spaces, movie theaters, educational areas, and special event spaces. The Academy Museum of Motion Pictures will be the world's premier museum devoted to exploring and curating the history and future of the moving image.
Membership in the Academy is by invitation only. Invitation comes from the Board of Governors. Membership eligibility may be achieved by earning a competitive Oscar nomination, or two existing members may sponsor a candidate from the same branch to which the candidate seeks admission.
New membership proposals are considered annually in the spring as of 2015. The Academy does not publicly disclose its full membership, although press releases have announced the names of those who have recently been invited to join. Membership in the Academy does not expire, even if a member struggles later in his or her career.
Academy membership is divided into 17 branches, representing different disciplines in motion pictures. Members may not belong to more than one branch. Members whose work does not fall within one of the branches may belong to a group known as "Members at Large". Members at Large have all the privileges of branch membership except for representation on the Board. Associate members are those closely allied to the industry but not actively engaged in motion picture production. They are not represented on the Board and do not vote on Academy Awards.
According to a February 2012 study conducted by the Los Angeles Times (sampling over 5,000 of its 5,765 members), the Academy is 94% white, 77% male, 86% age 50 or older, and has a median age of 62. In addition, 33% of members are previous winners or nominees of Academy Awards themselves.
The 17 branches of the Academy are:
- Casting Directors (created July 31, 2013)
- Costume Designers (created from former Art Directors Branch)
- Designers (created from former Art Directors Branch)
- Film Editors
- Makeup Artists and Hairstylists
- Public Relations
- Short Films and Feature Animation
- Visual Effects
Board of Governors
As of April 2014, the Board of Governors consists of 51 members (governors), consisting of three governors from each of the 17 Academy branches. The Makeup Artists and Hairstylists Branch, created in 2006, had only one governor until July 2013. The Casting Directors Branch, created in 2013, elected its first three governors in Fall 2013. The Board of Governors is responsible for corporate management, control and general policies. The Board of Governors also appoints a CEO and a COO to supervise the administrative activities of the Academy.
Original 36 founders of the Academy
Presidents of the Academy
Presidents are elected for one-year terms and may not be elected for more than four consecutive terms.
|2||William C. deMille||1929–1931|
|3||M. C. Levee||1931–1932|
|5||J. Theodore Reed||1933–1934|
(resigned after two months)
|15||B. B. Kahane||1959–1960
|22||Howard W. Koch||1977–1979|
|35||Cheryl Boone Isaacs||2013–present|
Current administration of the Academy
This section is outdated.(February 2015)
- President – Cheryl Boone Isaacs
- First Vice President – John Lasseter
- Vice President – Jeffrey Kurland
- Vice President – Leonard Engelman
- Treasurer – Dick Cook
- Secretary – Phil Alden Robinson
|Apted, MichaelMichael Apted||Documentary|
|Bailey, JohnJohn Bailey||Cinematographers|
|Barron, CraigCraig Barron||Visual Effects|
|Begley, Jr., EdEd Begley, Jr.||Actors|
|Behlmer, CurtCurt Behlmer||Sound|
|Bening, AnnetteAnnette Bening||Actors|
|Bigelow, KathrynKathryn Bigelow||Directors|
|Bissell, JimJim Bissell||Designers|
|Blondell, KathrynKathryn Blondell||Makeup Artists and Hairstylists|
|Bloom, JonJon Bloom||Short Films and Feature Animation|
|Boone Isaacs, CherylCheryl Boone Isaacs||Public Relations|
|Carter, RickRick Carter||Designers|
|Cholodenko, LisaLisa Cholodenko||Directors|
|Condon, BillBill Condon||Writers|
|Cook, DickDick Cook||Executives|
|Corso, BillBill Corso||Makeup Artists and Hairstylists|
|Crudo, RichardRichard Crudo||Cinematographers|
|Edlund, RichardRichard Edlund||Visual Effects|
|Engelman, LeonardLeonard Engelman||Makeup Artists and Hairstylists|
|Epstein, RobRob Epstein||Documentary|
|Fox, CharlesCharles Fox||Music|
|Friedman, RobRob Friedman||Public Relations|
|Gibney, AlexAlex Gibney||Documentary|
|Goldblatt, MarkMark Goldblatt||Film Editors|
|Hall, DonDon Hall||Sound|
|Hamilton, ArthurArthur Hamilton||Music|
|Hanks, TomTom Hanks||Actors|
|Hurd, Gale AnneGale Anne Hurd||Producers|
|Johnson, MarkMark Johnson||Producers|
|Kennedy, KathleenKathleen Kennedy||Producers|
|Kennedy, LoraLora Kennedy||Casting Directors|
|Klingman, LynzeeLynzee Klingman||Film Editors|
|Knoll, JohnJohn Knoll||Visual Effects|
|Kroyer, BillBill Kroyer||Short Films and Feature Animation|
|Kurland, JeffreyJeffrey Kurland||Costume Designers|
|Lasseter, JohnJohn Lasseter||Short Films and Feature Animation|
|Makovsky, JudiannaJudianna Makovsky||Costume Designers|
|Mann, MichaelMichael Mann||Directors|
|Millan, ScottScott Millan||Sound|
|Nadoolman, DeborahDeborah Nadoolman||Costume Designers|
|Newman, DavidDavid Newman||Music|
|Pascal, AmyAmy Pascal||Executives|
|Pascale, JanJan Pascale||Designers|
|Rehme, RobertRobert Rehme||Executives|
|Robinson, Phil AldenPhil Alden Robinson||Writers|
|Rubin, DavidDavid Rubin||Casting Directors|
|Spinotti, DanteDante Spinotti||Cinematographers|
|Swicord, RobinRobin Swicord||Writers|
|Telsey, BernardBernard Telsey||Casting Directors|
|Tronick, MichaelMichael Tronick||Film Editors|
|Utley, NancyNancy Utley||Public Relations|
- Academy Awards
- Governors Awards
- Academy Film Archive
- Academy of Television Arts & Sciences
- American Academy of Arts and Sciences
- American Film Institute
- Motion Picture Association of America
- National Film Registry
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|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.|
- Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences
- The Official Academy Awards Database of Winners and Nominees
- Margaret Herrick Library
- Pickford Center for Motion Picture Study - Academy Film Archive
- The Oscars at YouTube (operated by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences)
- Hollywood Is A Union Town, The Nation, April 2, 1938, history of the Academy and Screen Actors Guild