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Ava DuVernay Among 6 Others Elected as First-time Academy Board of Governors

Ava DuVernay

Ava DuVernay

The news comes amidst the nationwide Black Lives Matter protests over the custodial killing of George Floyd, a 46-year-old African American man who was suffocated to death by a Minneapolis officer last month.

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has announced its new members of the Board of Governors for the year 2020-21 and filmmaker Ava DuVernay has been elected to represent the director's branch.

As a result of this move, the number of female governors has increased from 25 to 26, and people of colour rose to 12 from 11, including the three Governors-at-Large, the Academy said in a statement on Wednesday.

The news comes amidst the nationwide Black Lives Matter protests over the custodial killing of George Floyd, a 46-year-old African American man who was suffocated to death by a Minneapolis officer last month.

Last week, DuVernay and her "Selma" star David Oyelowo, who played Martin Luther King Jr in her 2014 directorial, revealed that multiple Oscar voters blacklisted the movie from awards consideration after the cast showed up at the film's New York City premiere wearing "I Can't Breathe" T-shirts following the police killing of Eric Garner.

The Academy took to Twitter to condemn the threats: "Ava & David, we hear you. Unacceptable. We're committed to progress."

Now reacting to her first-time election, the filmmaker tweeted, "Thank you to the members of the Directors Branch of @TheAcademy. Life is a funny, fascinating thing. You never know what's around the corner."

Besides DuVernay, five others elected for the first time to the 54-person board are -- Debra Zane (casting directors branch), Lynette Howell Taylor (producers branch) known for "A Star is Born", Stephen Rivkin (film editors branch), Linda Flowers (makeup artists and hairstylists branch), and Rob Bredow (visual effects branch).

The Board of Governors sets the Academy's strategic vision, preserves the organisation's financial health, and assures the fulfilment of its mission.

Incumbent governors who have been re-elected to the board include Whoopi Goldberg (actors branch), "Dolemite Is My Name" scribe Larry Karaszewski (writers branch), Mandy Walker (cinematographers branch), Isis Mussenden (costume designers branch), Kate Amend (documentary branch), Charles Bernstein (music branch), Wynn P Thomas (production design branch), Teri E Dorman (sound branch).

Jon Bloom representing the short films and feature animation branch is returning to the board after a hiatus.

The Academy's 17 branches are each represented by three governors, who may serve up to three consecutive three-year terms.

In April, the Academy announced that it will allow only films streamed online for the forthcoming Oscars in the wake of the industry-wide shutdown caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

For the 93rd awards ceremony only, the films that had a planned theatrical release but are initially made available on a commercial streaming or video on-demand (VOD) service may qualify in the best picture, general entry and specialty categories.

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