The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences on Tuesday named Bill Kramer, the current president of the Academy’s museum in Los Angeles, the new chief executive of the organization that oversees the Oscars. He will replace Dawn Hudson, who will step down next month after 11 years.
Mr. Kramer will assume his new role on July 18.
Mr. Kramer first joined the Academy in 2012 as the managing director of development and external relations, raising the initial funds for the museum. He left in 2016 to become vice president of development for the Brooklyn Academy of Music, and returned to Los Angeles in 2019, taking the top role at the museum. He is credited with completing the $388 million campaign that allowed the museum to finally open in September after a decade of delays and cost overruns.
“I deeply believe in the power and artistry of cinema,” Mr. Kramer said in a statement. “I so look forward to galvanizing the unparalleled assets of the Academy — the Oscars, our global community of more than 10,000 Academy members, and our museum, library and archive — to promote and elevate the arts and sciences of the movies and inspire the next generation of filmmakers.”
Ms. Hudson announced in October that she would not seek another term as chief executive, though she will remain as an adviser while Mr. Kramer transitions into the job. Her tenure has been a turbulent one. The Academy faced withering criticism after nominating only white actors for Oscars in 2015.
Ms. Hudson worked to expand and diversify the group’s membership as a way to combat the predominantly white, male voting body that made up the organization for decades. (When Ms. Hudson came aboard, Oscar voters were 94 percent white and 77 percent male.) Though some older Academy members balked at changing the organization, membership has indeed grown, with more women, people from underrepresented communities and international filmmakers now part of the Academy.
Mr. Kramer will also face a significant challenge when it comes to the Oscars telecast, which has been steadily losing viewership for years. This year’s show on ABC drew 16.6 million viewers. That was up 58 percent from last year, but still the second-smallest viewership on record.
Those who did tune in saw Will Smith slap Chris Rock onstage in a shocking moment that overshadowed the rest of the telecast. Shortly after, Mr. Smith won the best actor award and gave an emotional speech. The Academy later faced criticism for not immediately removing Mr. Smith from the auditorium after the slap. Mr. Smith resigned his membership from the organization, which later banned him from attending any Academy-sponsored event for the next decade.