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The Hollywood veteran is the new president of The Academy, becoming the first Asian to oversee the Oscars

Joining many other Asians that are making history in Hollywood, film producer Janet Yang has been elected as the new president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, simply known as the Academy.

The appointment makes Yang, a Chinese-American, the first Asian to ever hold the powerful position since the organisation was founded 95 years ago. She’s also only the fourth woman to do so, following Fay Kanin, Cheryl Boone Isaacs and Bette Davis.

Yang was elected by the Academy’s Board of Governors, which the 66-year-old herself was a member of. Before becoming president, she served as vice-president and chair of the Membership Committee. She is also co-chair of the Academy’s Asian Affinity Group.

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“Janet is a tremendously dedicated and strategic leader who has an incredible record of service at the Academy,” said Academy CEO Bill Kramer. “I am thrilled that she is taking on the esteemed role of Academy President and look forward to working closely with her on our shared vision to serve our membership, celebrate the collaborative arts and sciences of motion pictures, and inspire the next generation of filmmakers.”

Yang has begun her first term as president of the Academy, and her second as Governor-at-Large. She will serve as president for a one-year term, and oversee the annual Academy Awards, also known as the Oscars.

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Yang’s career in Hollywood began in 1985, when she represented major studios like Universal, Paramount and MGM and was instrumental to reintroducing American studio movies to the China.

Besides working alongside legendary filmmaker Steven Spielberg on his film Empire of the Sun, Yang established herself in the industry by producing films like The People vs. Larry Flynt and Kathryn Bigelow’s The Weight of Water.

Yang has also boosted Asian representation in Hollywood by producing films like Dark Matter, which starred Chinese actor Liu Ye; The Joy Luck Club, based on Amy Tan’s novel of the same name; and Netflix’s Over the Moon, whose voice cast featured Asian-American stars Ken Jeong, John Cho, Margaret Cho and Sandra Oh.

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