John Bailey

By Vanessa Obioha with agency reports

There is a high possibility that John Bailey, the veteran cinematographer who was elected president of the Academy for the first time a year ago, will be re-elected by the board on August 7 when the 54 members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ board of governors gather to vote for officers for the coming year.
There’s no official campaigning that precedes the board meeting; instead, individual members rise to nominate prospective officers and a vote then takes place.

Bailey’s chance looks plausible going by previous elections where an incumbent president seeking re-election is almost always granted another term.

Nevertheless, Bailey may face a little hitch on his re-election bid as there is a faction on the board who feel that Bailey has been resistant to change and likely to vote for other candidates bidding for the presidential seats like actress Laura Dern and documentarian Rory Kennedy. While none of these candidates have officially declared their interest in the position, there are speculations that they may contest.

Bailey, whose credits include the best picture Oscar winner Ordinary People and fan favorites like The Big Chill and Groundhog Day, has a long history of service to the board, from whom officers are selected. He was first elected to the board in 1996, and then was re-elected in 1999, serving until 2002. After eight years away, he ran again and won in 2010 and was subsequently re-elected in 2013 and once more in 2016. The board itself is comprised of three governors from each of 17 branches who each serve three-year terms.

While Academy presidents can serve as many as four, successive one-year terms, governors can serve no more than three consecutive terms.

The Hollywood Reporter spoke to several governors who revealed that the board is deeply divided on Bailey’s re-election. About one-third of the governors see themselves as ideologically aligned with him, another one-third do not and the final third are not firmly in one camp or the other.

Bailey’s first term hasn’t transpired without drama. In March, he contended with a complaint of sexual harassment that was lodged against him under procedures that he himself had a role in creating in order to deal with claims against Academy members. That allegation was leaked to the press shortly after it was filed — but before it could be investigated. After that investigation took place, Bailey was publicly cleared by the board.

Other officers who are expected to be re-elected at the upcoming board meeting include first vice president Lois Burwell (of the makeup artists and hairstylists branch), vice president Michael Tronick (film editors), vice president Nancy Utley (public relations), treasurer Jim Gianopulos (executives) and secretary David Rubin (casting directors). The only current slot that will be available is one of the vice president positions. It was held this past year by producer Kathleen Kennedy, but she chose not to seek re-election to the board in June.