Producer Janet Yang has been elected president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the group’s board of directors announced on Tuesday, making her the first Asian American to head the film academy.
Yang, the 66-year-old producer of “The Joy Luck Club” and “The People vs. Larry Flynt,” becomes the fourth woman to lead the organization behind the Oscars. Elected by the academy’s 54-member board, Yang follows outgoing president David Rubin, the veteran casting director, who is stepping down after three years due to term restrictions.
Along with Academy Director Bill Kramer, the former Academy Museum director who was appointed to the position in June, Yang will be tasked with guiding the Academy through continued evolution in the film industry and in stabilizing the Academy Awards, which have been awarded in recent years. have been awarded. ravaged by scandals and declining ratings.
Queens-born Yang, a daughter of Chinese immigrants, has long been an important figure in Hollywood’s Asian-American community. She has served on the academy’s board of directors since 2019 as one of three general governors added after the #OscarsSoWhite scandal to boost film academy admissions.
Yang, an executive producer of the Oscar-nominated 2020 animated film “Over the Moon,” is only the second person of color to serve as president of the academy after Cheryl Boone Isaacs. She is also co-chair of the academy’s Asian Affinity Group.
“Janet is a tremendously committed and strategic leader with an incredible track record at the academy,” Kramer said in a statement. “She has been instrumental in launching and enhancing several academy initiatives in the areas of membership recruitment, governance and equality, diversity and inclusion.”
After several years of declining ratings, the March Oscar broadcast attracted a larger audience than the 2021 show, but its 16.6 million viewers were still the second smallest ever. The broadcast was, of course, marred by Will Smith hitting Chris Rock onstage. Smith has since canceled his membership from the academy and was not allowed to attend an academy event for the next decade.