Well, the film world didn’t exactly see that coming.
Cinematographer John Bailey was unexpectedly named the 36th president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Tuesday night over presumptive favorite Laura Dern. Per Deadline:
“Bailey, a 74-year-old film veteran with a long record of Academy service, had been quietly talking with insiders about the presidency for some time; but he largely evaded public visibility, as speculation locked on the prospects of Laura Dern, an actress who is closely allied with Academy chief executive Dawn Hudson.”
According to the outlet, Bailey most recently served as Academy vice-president and has also been present as a governor for the cinematographer’s branch. In recent years, A-list stars and directors have gained more power in the 7,000-member group, so Bailey’s victory is being seen as a win for members not known as household names.
Bailey will replace marketing executive Cheryl Boone Isaacs, who belongs to the Academy’s publicity branch. Isaacs served the full four-year term of an Academy president. Joining Bailey’s “cabinet” are Louis Burwell as first vice-president, Kathleen Kennedy, Michael Tronick and Nany Utley as vice-presidents, Jim Gianopulos as treasurer and David Rubin as secretary.
Dern and casting director David Rubin were both floated as possible frontrunners for the presidency before Bailey’s surprising win. Dern is known as an active support of the Academy museum and a consistent fund raiser.
Bailey is perhaps best known for his cinematography work on Groundhog Day, American Gigolo, As Good As It Gets and The Kid Stays In The Picture.