5 Fun Facts About New Academy President Tom Sherak
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences on Tuesday announced the election of Tom Sherak as its new president, replacing the termed-out Sid Ganis. A few other notables settled into new roles behind him -- including Tom Hanks and Kathleen Kennedy as vice presidents and Pixar genius John Lasseter as secretary -- but 40-year Hollywood veteran Sherak is just enough of a behind-the-scenes insider that he requires a proper introduction. Learn a few things and say hi after the jump!
1. Sherak is a visiting assistant professor at UCLA, where he shares his decades of experience in marketing, distribution and production on movies including Romancing the Stone, Aliens, the first three Die Hard films and Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace with rapt undergrads. His more recent work at Revolution Studios, which yielded titles like Daddy Day Care, White Chicks and America's Sweethearts, tends not to be on his syllabus.
2. He was a late adapter to the Internet, actually attempting (and failing) to keep Harry Knowles's moles out of an early, top-secret Titanic test screening in Minneapolis, according to the film's biographer Paula Parisi:
Sherak was appalled that the strictest secrecy tactics didn't keep the cyber spies away. This time it had worked out in their favor but next time they might not be so lucky. The working press were at least governable to some extent because studio execs could always complain to someone's boss on the golf course, but the Internet guys wrote whatever the hell they pleased.
3. Nikki Finke loves him! As evidenced by Tuesday's delightful headline, "WHAAAAAT? Tom Sherak New AMPAS Prez," and her own warm-hearted welcome citing Sherak's failures at Revolution, his championing of prodigious philanthropist (and casual homophobe) Jerry Lewis for this year's Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Oscar, and his support of the expanded Best Picture category at next year's Academy Awards. "What an AWFUL decision. [...] What a tool. What a moronic Board Of Governors." There's a bouquet of flowers in there somewhere.
4. Sherak is a charity devotee himself, having helped raise more than $35 million over 17 years as the chair of the Southern California Multiple Sclerosis Society's Dinner of Champions.
5. He is eminently quotable talking about his successes as well as his missteps -- especially his missteps, according to one Web site that gathered some of his most profound wit and wisdom. Even more fun is linking the comments to their respective subjects, if you even can:
"We expected to play flat. I think this has to do with the huge fan following."
"Any time you have a comedy with Jim Carrey and the Farrelly brothers, you'd love to see it do more."
"The bottom line is, if you don't ask, you are not going to get it. But the one thing about Hollywood is that it is very hard to bully anyone when you are asking for that kind of price."
"Young girls, The audience skewed toward young girls. It's a sappy love story."
Guess away in the comments! And good luck, Tom!
· Tom Sherak Elected Head of Motion Picture Academy [The Wrap]