The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has appointed Christine Simmons to the role of chief operating officer.
Simmons (pictured), who is president and COO of the Los Angeles Sparks WNBA basketball team, will assume her new role in January, and report directly to Academy CEO Dawn Hudson.
In her new role, Simmons will be responsible for the day-to-day management and enhancement of the Academy’s internal organization and infrastructure, with focus on the Academy Foundation, comprised of the Margaret Herrick Library, Academy Film Archive, its educational programs and the Science and Technology Council.
Before taking on her role with the LA Sparks, she served as EVP of Magic Johnson Enterprises and held senior positions managing and expanding supplier diversity at Disney and NBC/Universal Studios.
She serves on the advisory councils for Women in Sports and Events and Next Play Capital. She has served as board president of the UCLA Alumni Association and is a member of the UCLA Foundation’s board of directors and the UC Regents.
“There has been — and continues to be — a sea change in our film community, our Academy, and in the culture at large,” said Hudson in a statement. “Christine brings both non-profit and corporate management expertise, an ability to implement creative solutions, and a love of film to our Academy. It’s the perfect moment for an innovative thinker.”
Elsewhere, the Academy has launched a new theatrical screening program to showcase the Oscars documentary feature shortlist.
The “Oscars Spotlight: Documentary Feature Shortlist” program will offer audiences in 13 U.S. cities the chance to see the 15 documentary films shortlisted for the 91st Academy Awards.
Participating theaters include AMC Theatres, Alamo Drafthouse Cinema and Laemmle Theatres.
Cities included in the program are Austin, Boston, Chicago, Dallas/Fort Worth, Denver, the Los Angeles area, New York, Raleigh, the San Francisco area, Santa Barbara, Seattle and Washington DC.
“The Academy is thrilled to be collaborating with exhibitors and distributors to shine a light on the best documentaries of the year,” said Albert Berger, Academy governor and chair of the Future of Film Committee, in a statement. “We want to encourage movie-going and engage audiences across the country in our process as we move through the shortlists, nominations and towards the Oscars.”
Nominations for the 91st Academy Awards will be announced on Jan. 22, with the ceremony taking place on Feb. 24 at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood.