Biz wonders what Dawn Hudson will do

Over the weekend, Hollywood was freely making predictions about the changes Dawn Hudson may bring to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences, but she told Daily Variety that it’s “way too premature to say what my plans will be.”

That’s including — but not limited to — the Oscarcast.

“When I start, it really will be a lot of information-gathering since I’m not an Academy insider,” she said.

Starting June 1, she will be one of the ultimate Academy insiders. Just before midnight on Thursday, the org sent out a release saying that the Film Independent topper will become CEO, while Ric Robertson has been tapped chief operating officer.

Hudson said that her hiring is a compliment to Film Independent and its work over the years.

Citing scholarships and film programs, she said: “Both organizations provide similar services, and I can imagine there is a lot of crossover in the programs that Film Independent and the Academy supply, and that may have played a part in the decision.”

On Friday, Robertson sounded upbeat, praising Hudson and the concept of mixing his nearly 30 years of experience at the Academy with Hudson’s fresh eyes and energy.

“As a candidate for the top job myself, I was inititally disappointed when I heard the recommendation didn’t go that way. But in speaking with Dawn, Tom (Sherak) and a number of governors, I have grown very excited and enthusiastic about this partnership and think it will prove the right decision as we at the Academy move forward.”

Hudson replaces former exec director Bruce Davis, who announced his retirement last October after 20 years in the post. A hiring committee of about a half-dozen AMPAS governors interviewed the finalists around the time of the Feb. 27 Oscar ceremonies. The committee made their recommendations a few weeks ago, and the board decided Thursday night.

Hudson had been exec director of Film Independent since 1991 and says that as she finishes up her tenure, her focus now is still on Film Independent. There, Hudson earned a reputation as a smart and tough leader.

Robertson brings a deep knowledge of the Academy and Hollywood politics, and sources said the hiring committee, and ultimately the board, liked the yin-yang of their strengths.

The hiring committee included Academy prexy Sherak and governors Annette Bening, James L. Brooks, Sid Ganis, Hawk Koch and Phil Robinson.

Robertson will report to Hudson in these newly created posts. The duo won’t officially begin until June.

Since these are new titles, the org’s bylaws have to be tweaked — Davis’ title was exec director, while Robertson was exec administrator. (He’d joined AMPAS in October 1981 and got the latest title in August 1989.)

Davis is expected to leave on June 30, and Hudson says that she has had discussions with Davis and Robertson and that those talks had gone very well.

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