Cheryl Boone Isaacs

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Cheryl Boone Isaacs
Boone Isaacs in 2015 at the announcement of nominees for the 87th Academy Awards
Boone Isaacs in 2015 at the announcement of nominees for the 87th Academy Awards
Cheryl Boone

1949 (age 70–71)
EducationWhittier College
OccupationPublic relations executive
Years active1977–present
TitlePresident, Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences
Term4 years
PredecessorHawk Koch
SuccessorJohn Bailey
Spouse(s)Stanley Isaacs

Cheryl Boone Isaacs (born 1949)[1] is an American film marketing and public relations executive. She represented the Public Relations Branch of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS), known for its annual Academy Awards (Oscars), on the AMPAS Board of Governors for 21 years, until 2013. On July 30, 2013 she was elected as the 35th president of AMPAS and on August 11, 2015 she was re-elected.[2] Boone Isaacs was the first African American to hold this office, and the third woman (after Bette Davis and Fay Kanin).[3][4]

Early life[edit]

Boone Isaacs was born in Springfield, Massachusetts, to father, postal worker Ashley Boone, Sr., and a homemaker mother.[5][6] Her family was middle class[7]:199 and she grew up near Springfield College until her family moved to the Sixteen Acres neighborhood of Springfield.[8] She is the youngest of four children, with two older brothers: Ashley Jr. and Richard; and an older sister, Velma.[9]

In 1967 Boone Isaacs graduated from Springfield Central High School, known at that time as Classical High School.[10] In 1971, she graduated from Whittier College with a degree in political science.[11] During college she spent time in a study abroad program in Copenhagen, Denmark.[12]

Boone Isaacs married Stanley Isaacs who is of English-Jewish descent. They live and work in the greater Los Angeles area.


Cheryl Boone Isaacs at the Miami Film Festival

After college, Boone Isaacs worked as a flight attendant for Pan Am based out of San Francisco.[13] At the age of 25, she ended up following her older brother Ashley Boone, Jr.[6] who worked as an executive, to Hollywood.[14]

Publicity work[edit]

In 1977, Boone Isaacs began working in publicity at Columbia Pictures. Her first job was publicizing the Steven Spielberg film Close Encounters of the Third Kind.[7]:198

She then worked at Milton Goldstein's Melvin Simon Productions, working on publicity for The Stunt Man, Love at First Bite and Porkys, eventually becoming Vice President, Worldwide Advertising and Publicity. Boone Isaacs was then Director of Advertising and Publicity for The Ladd Company and worked to promote films like The Right Stuff and Once Upon a Time in America.

In 1984, she was Director, Publicity and Promotion, West Coast, eventually becoming the worldwide publicity director for Paramount Pictures, a position she held until 1997.[9] As Paramount's Executive Vice President of Worldwide Publicity, she orchestrated the marketing campaigns for Best Picture winners Forrest Gump and Braveheart. While at Paramount, she worked with an unusually large team of women at Paramount at that time, which included Dawn Steel, who was president of Production, as well as other women like Deborah Rosen, Lucie Salhany, Buffy Shutt, as well as Sherry Lansing. She was at Paramount for 13 years.[7]:200

From 1997 to 1999, she was President of Theatrical Marketing for New Line Cinema, where she promoted Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me, The Wedding Singer and Boogie Nights.[2] In this position, she was the first black woman to head a studio marketing department.[15]

Boone Isaacs started her own company, called CBI Enterprises, Inc., where she has worked on publicity for films that have included Best Picture winners The King's Speech and The Artist.[2]

Academy work[edit]

Boone Isaacs has been a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences since 1987. All work for the Academy, even leadership roles, is on a volunteer basis.[16]

As President of the AMPAS, Boone Isaacs was instrumental in removing the restriction of the number of members allowed into the Academy, what had been a long-time membership cap. She also initiated a drive to invite over 400 new members, many of whom were young and came from diverse backgrounds.[9]

Boone Isaacs has been an active force in addressing the lack of diversity,[17][18] and an imbalance of membership that is predominantly white and male.[9][19] Other efforts that she is addressing is focusing on improving AMPAS mentorship programs, enhancing the student version of the Academy Awards and improving the scientific and technical council.[13]

Part of her duties as President were to oversee the Academy Awards. Boone Isaacs also oversaw the Governors Awards, where honorary lifetime achievement awards are given. Unlike the Oscars, the Governors Awards are not televised ceremonies.[16] She has also spearheaded the development of an AMPAS museum developed in conjunction with Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art[12] that has a budget of $300 million, and opened in 2017.[16][20]

At the 2015 Governors Awards, Boone Isaacs launched a new Academy initiative called A2020, which focuses on improving representation of diversity—age, gender, race, national origin, point-of-view—and includes a five-year plan to focus on industry practices and hiring.[21] Honorary Oscar-winner Spike Lee praised Boone Isaacs for her work towards diversity in Hollywood.[22]


Personal life[edit]

Boone Isaacs is married to film producer, director and writer Stanley Isaacs and lives in Los Angeles.[28][29] They have a son, Cooper Boone Isaacs.[12]


  1. ^ Walker, Tim (January 23, 2016). "Cheryl Boone Isaacs: The face of Oscars equality – or a racist organisation?". The Independent. Retrieved September 9, 2018.
  2. ^ a b c Melidonian, Teni (July 30, 2013). "Cheryl Boone Isaacs Elected Academy President". Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Retrieved August 2, 2013.
  3. ^ Gold Derby News Desk (July 31, 2013). "Cheryl Boone Isaacs elected first African-American head of Oscars". Gold Derby. Retrieved August 2, 2013.
  4. ^ Kilday, Gregg (July 31, 2013). "New Academy President Cheryl Boone Isaacs on Her Historic Election, the Oscars and Her Top Priorities (Q&A)". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved November 15, 2015.
  5. ^ "Boone, Ashley A., Jr. (1938-1994)". Black Past. Retrieved November 15, 2015.
  6. ^ a b Saxon, Wolfgang (May 4, 1994). "Ashley Boone Jr., Marketing Executive For Films, Dies at 55". The New York Times. Retrieved November 15, 2015.
  7. ^ a b c Gregory, Mollie (2003). Women Who Run the Show: How a Brilliant and Creative New Generation of Women Stormed Hollywood (St. Martin's Griffin ed.). New York: St. Martin's Griffin. ISBN 978-0-312-31634-1. OCLC 56700429.
  8. ^ Kelly, Ray (February 19, 2014). "Academy Awards president Cheryl Boone Isaacs reflects on growing up in Springfield, Oscar race". MassLive. Retrieved November 15, 2015.
  9. ^ a b c d del Barco, Mandalit (February 27, 2014). "New Academy President Pushes For More Diverse Voting Members". All Things Considered. NPR. Retrieved June 22, 2014.
  10. ^ Kelly, Ray (July 31, 2013). "Springfield's Cheryl Boone Isaacs elected president of Academy Awards board". MassLive. Retrieved June 19, 2014.
  11. ^ "A Conversation With Cheryl Boone Isaacs '71, President of AMPAS". Whittier College. Archived from the original on March 4, 2016. Retrieved November 15, 2015.
  12. ^ a b c Cole, Yoji (June 23, 2014). "Cheryl Boone Isaacs: Front Row Center". CSQ: C-Suite Quarterly Entertainment. Retrieved November 15, 2015.
  13. ^ a b c Herndon, Jessica (February 26, 2014). "Academy President Cheryl Boone Isaacs Adjusts To Her Influence". Huffington Post. The Associated Press. Retrieved November 15, 2015.
  14. ^ Boone Isaacs, Cheryl (May 9, 2015). "Happiness Is a Goal of Life". Medium. Retrieved November 15, 2015. Excerpt of commencement speech given at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts on May 9, 2015
  15. ^ TheGrio (January 31, 2014). "theGrio's 100: Cheryl Boone Isaacs, new Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences president". theGrio. Retrieved November 15, 2015.
  16. ^ a b c Sperling, Nicole (August 1, 2013). "Cheryl Boone Isaacs is ready for the spotlight". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved November 15, 2015.
  17. ^ Warner, Kara (January 15, 2015). "Academy President Cheryl Boone Isaacs on Selma Snubs, Lack of Diversity". Vulture. Retrieved November 15, 2015.
  18. ^ Hyo-won, Lee (October 6, 2015). "Busan: Cheryl Boone Isaacs on the Rise of Asian Cinema and Promoting Diversity in the Academy". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved November 15, 2015.
  19. ^ Ryzik, Melena (February 20, 2012). "Inside the Academy, Where White Men Are the Clear Majority". The New York Times. Retrieved November 15, 2015.
  20. ^ Cieply, Michael (May 26, 2015). "Motion Picture Academy Contemplates Changes". The New York Times. Retrieved November 15, 2015.
  21. ^ Kilday, Gregg (November 14, 2015). "Spike Lee: Getting a Black President Is Easier Than a Black Studio Head". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved November 15, 2015.
  22. ^ Barker, Andrew (November 13, 2015). "Spike Lee Is Still Speaking Truth to Power". Variety. Retrieved November 15, 2015.
  23. ^ "BESLA Celebrates Cheryl Boone Isaacs, New President of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences". Black Entertainment Sports Lawyers Association. August 22, 2013. Retrieved November 15, 2015.
  24. ^ "African American Film Critics Association Celebrates 5th Annual Dinner Ceremony with 2014 Special Achievement Award Honorees". African American Film Critics Association. December 5, 2013. Archived from the original on January 20, 2016. Retrieved November 15, 2015.
  25. ^ Khatchatourian, Maane (January 30, 2014). "Paris Barclay, Cheryl Boone Isaacs to Be Inducted into NAACP Hall of Fame". Variety. Retrieved July 20, 2014.
  26. ^ Kilday, Gregg (February 28, 2014). "Academy Chief on Woody Allen's Scandal, Host Ellen DeGeneres and the Diversity of This Year's Nominees (Q&A)". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved November 15, 2015.
  27. ^ Press Release (August 27, 2014). "Academy President Cheryl Boone Isaacs Named Filmmaker-in-Residence at Chapman University". Indiewire. Retrieved November 15, 2015.
  28. ^ "Stanley Isaacs, CEO, 100% Entertainment, Inc. - Producer, Director, Writer: Biography". 100% Entertainment. Retrieved November 15, 2015.
  29. ^ "Stanley Isaacs – Producer, Director and Writer". The Magic of Books. Retrieved November 15, 2015.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]

Non-profit organization positions
Preceded by
Hawk Koch
President of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences
Succeeded by
John Bailey