Tom Sherak has been re-elected to a third term as president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, which also chose Tuesday night to honor Oprah Winfrey, James Earl Jones and makeup artist Dick Smith with honorary Oscars.
This would ostensibly be the penultimate term for Sherak — AMPAS presidents are limited to four terms, and are almost never opposed, meaning Sherak will assuredly serve a fourth term should he seek it.
Sherak, who previously served as treasurer and is beginning his ninth year as a governor representing the executives branch, is currently a consultant for Skydance Productions and Relativity Media.
The AMPAS Board of Governors also voted to bestow honorary statuettes on Jones and Smith, and to present the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award — also a statuette-bearing honor — to Winfrey. All three honors will be presented at the Academy’s 3rd Annual Governors Awards dinner on Nov. 12.
Though it had been speculated that the board would also consider more stringent rules governing the parties and screenings that support Oscar campaigns, the issue was not part of the Tuesday night agenda.
The Governors’ Awards, separated from the Oscar telecast two years ago, had been widely considered a hit, and allowed the Academy to broaden its selections with a more international feel. This year’s honorees, however, remained firmly American:
Jones, a Mississippi native, was nominated for an Academy Award in 1970 for his role as boxer Jack Jefferson in “The Great White Hope.” Smith, known as the “godfather of makeup,” was NBC’s first makeup artist in 1945, and is known for his work on “The Godfather,” “The Exorcist” and “Taxi Driver.” The New York State-born Smith won the Oscar in 1984 for his work on “Amadeus,” and was nominated for “Dad” in 1989.
Winfrey, whose reputation as a TV icon precedes her, was nominated for her debut performance in “The Color Purple” in 1985; her honorary award recognizes her work in educational initiatives and raising awareness of issues that affect women and children.
Also Tuesday, producers branch governor Hawk Koch was elected first vice president; executives branch governor Robert Rehme was elected to one vice president post and writers branch governor Phil Robinson was re-elected to the other. (Rehme replaces former AMPAS prexy and first vice-president Sid Ganis, who exited the governors’ board because of AMPAS board term limits.)
John Lasseter, chief creative officer at Pixar and Walt Disney Animation Studios, was elected treasurer. Lasseter is the Academy’s short films and feature animation branch governor.
Actors Branch governor Annette Bening was re-elected secretary.
Sherak’s two-year tenure has seen the Academy expand its Best Picture nominations from 5 to 10, a number that was tweaked this year to flex depending on academy voters’ choices. He’s also presided over the hiring of CEO Dawn Hudson, following the retirement of longtime exec director Bruce Davis.
Sherak was previously a partner at Revolution Studios, where he oversaw the release of more than 30 films including “Black Hawk Down,” “Anger Management,” “Rent,” and “Across the Universe.” Before that, Sherak had a long tenure at Twentieth Century Fox, including positions as chairman of the Domestic Film Group and senior executive vice president of Fox Filmed Entertainment.
Sherak began his career in the industry at Paramount Pictures in 1970.