As reported here Sunday the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences is having an unprecedented membership meeting and sent out a save-the-date notice for Saturday, May 4th for Los Angeles-, New York- and Bay Area-based members to attend, have conversations and ask questions about “The Future Of Our Academy”. Today the official invite goes out (check it out below) and lifts the veil on exactly what topics will be covered and why the organization is attempting to do this. As Academy CEO Dawn Hudson explained to me this morning, it is an idea whose time has come. “It’s an idea that many members have talked about to me and to the board. The board has brought it up too. We just felt the time was right now. We talked about doing it I guess since last fall,” she said, adding that the Academy has been hosting individual branch get-togethers and, because of positive reaction, members told her they would like to do something across all branches. So this larger meeting idea was hatched.
Hudson said they needed to wait until the Oscars were over and that no subject is off the table. But on the invite highlighted topics include the new museum, programming, new collections, new technology and other areas like the controversial introduction to e-voting initiated for the first time this past Oscar season. “E-voting was quite successful and we will do a little recap for our members. But really this is to give an overview of what’s coming up in the future”, she said. “This is my mantra. It is what the Academy is doing the other 364 days of the year, and when you talk about those things directly it is quite impressive. Having a face-to-face conversation about all the programs the Academy is doing, all the institutions we support, all the new designs for the museum, it is an impressive spectrum of activities and support in the middle of our film community”.
It is also about increasing outreach to the New York, Bay Area and International members. The event will be satellited to NY and SF and, if successful, the next time they do it perhaps London too. Whether this indeed becomes an annual thing for the Academy really depends on the reaction of the members and the success of this initial meeting. “If it is something the members want we would love to continue. We will see how it goes. No predictions,” she said.
Asked if she thinks there will be discussion about the Seth MacFarlane-hosted Oscar show that drew mixed reaction but strong ratings, Hudson said she expects that there might be some of that too. “I am sure the subject of the show will come up. But that is not why we called this meeting. There is no agenda for this meeting, other than to make the Academy more open to its members, less opaque and more connected. We want our members to feel connected to the Academy and to each other.”