Oscars add director Ava DuVernay, casting director Debra Zane and more to board of governors as diversity ticks up a notch

On June 10 the motion picture academy announced six new members who have just been elected to the board of governors: Rob Bredow (visual effects branch), Ava DuVernay (directors branch), Linda Flowers (makeup artists and hairstylists branch), Lynette Howell Taylor (producers branch) Stephen Rivkin (film editors branch) and Debra Zane (casting directors branch). These additions slightly improve the diversity of the board, increasing the number of women and people of color.

The 17 branches of the academy are each represented by three governors each, plus three more governors-at-large, which brings the organization’s total to 54. These additions to the academy increase the number of women from 25 to 26 (48% of the board) and increase the number of people of color from 11 to 12 (22%). The announcement comes after DuVernay and her “Selma” star David Oyelowo reported that academy members rejected their film due to their activism against police brutality.

The Martin Luther King docudrama “Selma” was nominated for Best Picture, but didn’t receive any other nominations except Best Original Song (“Glory” by John Legend and Common), which it won. DuVernay was snubbed for Best Director, though she did earn a nomination two years later for Best Documentary Feature for “13th,” which explored the history of mass incarceration for the Black community stemming from the passage of the 13th Amendment to the US Constitution.

In addition to those six new members, 10 other incumbent governors were reelected to the board: Kate Amend (documentary branch), Charles Bernstein (music branch), Teri E. Dorman (sound branch), Whoopi Goldberg (actors branch), Larry Karaszewski (writers branch), Christina Kounelias (marketing and public relations branch), David Linde (executives branch), Isis Mussenden (costume designers branch), Wynn P. Thomas (production design branch) and Mandy Walker (cinematographers branch).  Jon Bloom (short films and feature animation branch) returns to the board after a hiatus.

The board “sets the academy’s strategic vision, preserves the organization’s financial health, and assures the fulfillment of its mission.”

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