Insiders React to Janet Yang Being Named Academy President: “She’s the Leader We Need”

On Aug. 2, hours after Janet Yang was elected as the new president of the Film Academy — becoming the first Asian person to hold the position — Universal hosted the premiere for Jo Koy’s Filipino American family comedy, Easter Sunday, where insiders cheered the historic news.

“I’m so proud of her,” producer Dan Lin told THR of his friend, who was honored at the Academy Museum with a pillar dedication in June. “It is historic on so many levels, but I think she’s a fantastic choice given all of the turmoil that the Academy’s gone through. She’s the leader we need.”

Yang, whose producing credits include The Joy Luck Club and The People vs. Larry Flynt, is known as a godmother to Asian Americans working in Hollywood. Easter Sunday writer and EP Ken Cheng reported that he experienced it firsthand.

“Because there’s not that many of us, when she first hears your name or learns who you are, she’ll reach out and want to meet up for coffee,” says Cheng, who had such a meeting with Yang at the beginning of his career. “She was so generous with her time and giving advice and words of wisdom about her time in the business. The Academy is in great hands.”

Yang also becomes just the fourth female (after Bette Davis, Fay Kanin and Cheryl Boone Isaacs) and second person of color (after Boone Isaacs) ever tapped by the Academy’s board to hold its top job. A member of the producers branch since 2002, Yang succeeds David Rubin, who had served as president since 2019.

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This story first appeared in the Aug. 10 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. Click here to subscribe.