Awards

Tom Sito Beats Out Ed Catmull In Academy Board of Governors Election

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, organizers of the Oscars, announced the election results for its Board of Governors late-Thursday afternoon, and veteran animator Tom Sito emerged victorious as the winner of a seat on the Short Films and Feature Animation Branch.

Sito was one of four candidates running for the animation branch’s Board of Governors; the other three were Darlie Brewster, Bob Kurtz, and Ed Catmull.

As pointed out in a piece published yesterday, the candidacy of Catmull in particular had raised concerns amongst Academy members, especially since the Disney/Pixar animation president had been given a special dispensation to switch from the visual effects branch into the animation branch and run as a last-minute candidate. For now at least, Catmull, who is the president of the animation divisions that have won the feature animation Oscar for 9 out of the last 10 years, will not have direct influence on the Board of Governors.

Sito will replace Bob Rogers, who did not seek re-election for a new term. He will join two other governors in the Short Films and Feature Animation branch: live-action director and editor Jon Bloom and animation director and cg animation supervisor Bill Kroyer.

The Academy’s 17 branches are each represented by three governors, who may serve up to three consecutive three-year terms. The Board of Governors is tasked with setting the Academy’s strategic vision, preserving the organization’s financial health, and assuring the fulfillment of its mission.

Sito has worked in the animation industry for over forty years, from Richard Williams’ Raggedy Ann & Andy: A Musical Adventure to Filmation’s He-Man and the Masters of the Universe. He worked as an animator and story artist for many years at Disney, amassing credits on Who Framed Roger Rabbit, The Little Mermaid, Aladdin, Beauty and the Beast, The Lion King, and Pocahontas, among others, and later worked at Dreamworks on films like Shrek and The Prince of Egypt. He was also an animation director on Warner Bros.’ Osmosis Jones, and more recently, wrote the story for Flash in the Pain, a cg Looney Tunes short that was produced by Reel FX.

In addition to working in the industry, Sito has advocated for the community in numerous important ways. Notably, from 1992 through 2001, he served as the president of the Motion Picture Screen Cartoonists Local 839 (today called The Animation Guild). He has also written multiple books, including a volume about the labor movement within the animation industry, Drawing the Line: The Untold Story of the Animation Unions from Bosko to Bart Simpson, and currently, he is the chair of the animation program at USC.

In the vfx branch, Richard Edlund returned to the board after a hiatus. Along with Edlund, the other two elected members of the visual effects Board of Governors are Craig Barron and John Knoll.

Additionally, Jennifer Yuh Nelson, who directed Kung Fu Panda 2 and co-directed Kung Fu Panda 3, serves as a governor-at-large and participates in issues related to the Short Films and Feature Animation branch.