An Early Frontrunner Has Emerged for the Academy’s Next C.E.O

Bill Kramer and Dawn Hudson
Photo by JC Olivera/Getty Images
Matthew Belloni
October 24, 2021

The Dawn Hudson haters were out in force this week after the motion picture Academy C.E.O. announced that she’ll step down when her contract ends in 2023. Hudson is one of the most controversial figures in town, thanks in part to the outsized role the Academy plays as Hollywood’s de facto town counsel and proprietor of the Oscars. I always equate the Academy to the public servants of Pawnee on Parks & Recreation… if Pawnee hosted the Super Bowl every year.  

I happen to like Dawn personally, and I think she often takes the hits for industry-wide problems like inclusion and the generational divide among members, which can often lead to dumb decision-making (the “Popular” Oscar?), not to mention shouting matches at board of governors meetings. But it doesn’t help that her leadership style can seem scattershot and reactionary, or that she took over in 2011 for Bruce Davis, who held the job for 22 years, during which the Oscars became a cash cow.