Producer Janet Yang Was Just Elected President Of The Academy

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has announced its new president today, and the honor goes to Emmy-winning producer Janet Yang. Yang was elected by the Oscar voting organization's Board of Governors, and the exec behind movies like "The Joy Luck Club" and "Over the Moon" is the third woman and second person of color to hold the prestigious title, per The Hollywood Reporter.

Yang has been a part of the producers' branch of the Oscars since 2002, but her career began much earlier. She was a credited project consultant on "Empire of the Sun" in 1987, before moving on to a producer position with films like "The People vs. Larry Flynt," "High Crimes," and "Indictment: The McMartin Trial," an HBO movie about the Satanic Panic that earned Yang a primetime Emmy in 1995. She's currently the head of Janet Yang Productions, which is responsible for films like the animated Netflix Oscar nominee "Over the Moon."

Yang's election makes history for the Academy

Yang previously served as a governor-at-large on the Academy's board, a position designed to advocate for equity and inclusion on the board. These positions, created in the wake of the 2015 outcry about the Oscars' continued lack of diversity, are appointed by the Academy President. Yang was elected for her new position as president, though, in a race against producer DeVon Franklin. Academy CEO Bill Kramer shared a statement about Yang's election, saying:

"Janet is a tremendously dedicated and strategic leader who has an incredible record of service at the Academy. She has been instrumental in launching and elevating several Academy initiatives on membership recruitment, governance, and equity, diversity, and inclusion. I am thrilled that she is taking on the esteemed role of Academy President and look forward to working closely with her on our shared vision to serve our membership, celebrate the collaborative arts and sciences of motion pictures, and inspire the next generation of filmmakers."

Yang will succeed casting director David Rubin in the role and become the first governor-at-large to take on the position. According to THR, Yang has been called "the godmother of Asian-Americans in the industry," and her work to support Asian-American advancement in Hollywood was celebrated with a pillar dedicated in her honor at the new Academy Museum this June.

The change in leadership could be a welcome one for the voting body that's responsible for deciding the results of the industry's biggest award show. This year's Oscar ceremony certainly captured headlines, but saw a continued decline in ratings, with only 13.73 million viewers tuning in as opposed to pre-Covid telecasts, which regularly earned 20+ million viewers.