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Ava DuVernay tops list of female candidates for Oscars' board leadership

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Ava DuVernay
Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP

Though Ava DuVernay’s film Selma was notably snubbed at the Oscars last year, the 42-year-old director might make her way into the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences’ inner circle. According to The Hollywood Reporter, DuVernay is on a list of 67 candidates running for seats on Academy’s board of governors.  

Approximately 27 women—and several diverse candidates—are contenders for positions on the board. Each of the 17 branches of the Academy’s board is lead by three “governors,” who are chosen in an annual election. DuVernay, reports THR, is on a short list of directors to challenge incumbent Michael Mann. She is also up against candidates Kimberly Peirce (Boys Don’t Cry) and Lisa Cholondenko (The Kids Are All Right).

Neither DuVernay or the Academy responded to EW’s request for comment.

The Academy has been the subject of long-running criticism for its overwhelming white, male leadership; a factor which has been blamed for the lack of diversity among Oscars nominees. In January, current Academy president Cheryl Boone Isaacs—who is African American—addressed widespread criticism targeting the organization shortly after the 2015 Oscars nominations were announced.

“In the last two years, we’ve made greater strides than we ever have in the past toward becoming a more diverse and inclusive organization through admitting new members and more inclusive classes of members,” Boone Isaacs said. “And, personally, I would love to see and look forward to see a greater cultural diversity among all our nominees in all of our categories.”

The Academy’s board currently includes 15 women, including former Sony Pictures chief Amy Pascal, actor Annette Bening, and director Kathryn Bigelow.

The voting process for this year’s candidates began on June 24 and ends on July 2. Each year, one seat for each branch is open to new board member candidates, and elected governors serve three-year terms.

News of DuVernay’s candidacy comes on the heels of news that the filmmaker has been in talks with Marvel to possibly direct the studio’s forthcoming Black Panther or Captain Marvel films. DuVernay, who first earned industry notice with the 2012 indie Middle of Nowhere, has entertained the possibility, telling EW in a recent interview: “Is it a huge goal that I’m thinking about and striving for? No. But if there was the right story, absolutely. I think it’s important that our heroes reflect more than one kind of person.”

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