Prexy denies Oscar talks

Frank Pierson was re-elected Thursday to his second term as prexy of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences.

Former prexy Robert Rehme was elected first veepee. Roger Mayer, who was first VP last year, joins the re-elected Kathy Bates as a veepee; Cheryl Boone Isaacs was named treasurer; and Don Rogers, who was VP, was voted secretary.

On Friday, Pierson refuted press reports that the Academy had held talks with Gotham honchos about moving this year’s Oscars, or a portion of the show, to New York.

The New York Times ran a front-page story Friday saying that a group of Gothamites was working to persuade the Acad “to move a significant part” of the ceremony to Gotham. The L.A. Times, also on the front page, said the Academy “is considering a proposal by New York political leaders and entertainment executives” to move part of the show. Other publications also published variations on the rumor.

In his statement, Pierson said, “The Academy has received no proposal from any group in New York City regarding moving the Academy Awards telecast, or any portion of it.” He said a discussion could ensue once a producer has been named.

He concluded, “The Academy has no proposal in hand to react to. There have been no internal discussions about any such proposal. There has been no discussion with members of the board of governors prior to these press stories, no discussion with the network, no discussion with members of previous production teams, no discussion with venues here or in New York.”

Acad exec director Bruce Davis similarly pointed out that a decision on such a move was “way premature,” since no discussions had been held (Daily Variety, Aug. 9).

The election of officers took place during the Acad board of governors’ annual August election meeting.

All elected officers are also governors of various branches: Rehme and Mayer, executives; Bates, actors; Boone Isaacs, public relations; and Rogers, sound.

Pierson, an Oscar-winning scribe (“Dog Day Afternoon”), was first tapped to the prexy post last August.

The Academy presidency is a one-year post, with no salary; the job description can vary depending upon the office holder. Among Pierson’s main duties are oversight of the Oscars and shepherding the Acad’s growth plans, which have been under way for the past decade.

Pierson, who has been a member of the board of governors for nearly nine years, assumed the top job during an especially active period of change for the Acad. Among his tasks this past year was overseeing Oscar’s move to the Kodak Theater at Hollywood and Highland, as well as the org’s recent library and film archive expansions.

Board members serve three-year terms, while Academy officers serve one-year terms, with a maximum of four consecutive terms in any one office.

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