Academy to Members: Let’s Discuss Our Future

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, best known as the association behind the Oscars, is holding a general membership meeting to discuss the group's future. Would you rely on the crowd to make decisions about your future?

Members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences are used to getting invitations to events, but this one might be a bit unusual.

It clearly seems to be a larger part of her strategy in encouraging the rank and file to share ideas.

The Academy, the high-profile organization that puts on the Oscars each year, plans to have its members meet in May for a discussion that the group promised will focus on “the future of our Academy.”

The event is unusual for its size (about 6,000 members will be involved), the composition of the group’s membership (many of those 6,000 are major movie stars, such as Jake Gyllenhaal, Wes Anderson, and Julianne Moore), and the structure of the meeting, which deviates from the group’s traditional governance arrangement and appears to be a forum for a wide-scale discussion about the Academy’s direction.

Normally, the Academy’s governance is handled through a number of branches, led by a group of officers and a Board of Governors. Current board members include actor Tom Hanks and filmmakers Michael Moore and Kathryn Bigelow. The organization’s 15 branches solicit member concerns from the larger group.

One thing that’s definitely traditional, however? The lack of pre-event details. The invite itself, announcing the joint meeting in three separate locations on May 4, offers only a hint of what’s going to happen:


For movie fans who saw this year’s Oscars, you might be asking yourself when you see a message like this: Was Seth MacFarlane’s oft-criticized performance so bad that it required a membership-wide conversation?

The answer appears to be more mundane. Reports from The New York Times and Deadline suggest that the discussion has been long in the works by the group’s two leaders, President Hawk Koch and CEO Dawn Hudson, in an effort to encourage more sharing among members.

Deadline awards columnist Pete Hammond compared the event to the Emmy-producing Academy of Television Arts & Sciences’ smaller-scale mixers. “It clearly seems to be a larger part of [Hudson’s] strategy in encouraging the rank and file to share ideas, and for Koch represents another innovative perk he can point to in his limited one-year term as Academy president,” he wrote. “Think of this as a ‘mixer’ on a much larger scale.”

But even so, some members are curious about what’s going to happen next. Speaking to The Times, film producer Ron Yerxa said, “That would be an odd event if it happened.”

How would you approach larger discussions about the future of your organization with your membership? Let us know your thoughts below.

(photo by Dave_B_/Flickr)

Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is a former senior editor for Associations Now. MORE

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