Hawk Koch is a veteran movie producer who currently serves as the President of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the film industry’s most prestigious body. In his capacity as president of the Academy, Koch leads a large non-profit organization with 300 employees and 6,000 members drawn from the top ranks of the film community. The Academy’s best known activity is the presentation of the annual Academy Awards. In addition to the Oscars, the Academy administers numerous educational and charitable initiatives and serves as a champion for movies and filmmaking worldwide.
The Academy has recently unveiled plans by Pritzker Prize-winning architect Renzo Piano for the $300 million Academy Museum of Motion Pictures which will be built at the corner of Fairfax and Wilshire in Los Angeles’ Museum District. Fundraising and design for the new museum are a major multi-year initiative of the Academy. During Koch's presidency, more than $150 million has been raised toward the cost of the museum.
Koch has been a member of the Academy’s Board of Governors since 2004. His father, producer and studio executive Howard Koch, was president of the Academy from 1977 to 1978 making Hawk Koch the first second-generation president in the Academy’s history.
Koch's tenure at the Academy was distinguished by a sharpened focus on both member engagement and the future of filmmaking. Koch has committed the Academy to a process of enlightened change that will ensure that the institution continues to lead the film industry from the front rather than respond belatedly to tectonic shifts in the entertainment business. At a time of very rapid technological, creative, and economic transition, the Academy continues to set artistic standards which reflect the current state-of-the-art. Director Michael Mann (The Insider, Heat, Miami Vice) who is a Governor of the Academy, said of Koch that he "has finally brought the Academy into the 21st Century."
The 85th Academy Awards, which took place on February 24th, 2013 and were overseen by Koch, showed significant increases in both total viewers and elusive younger and male viewers from previous years. Of the 85th Oscars, Academy Award winning director James L. Brooks (Terms of Endearment, Broadcast News, As Good As It Gets) said, "Thanks to Hawk, the Oscars are alive again."
Prior to serving as president of the Motion Picture Academy, Koch was the president of the Producers’ Guild of America. At the Producers' Guild, Koch led the fight to preserve the producer's credit, which had been diluted, for real, working producers. The rules put in place by Koch now apply to the Academy Awards, the Golden Globes, the Producers Guild Awards, and the BAFTA Awards. Only the producers that do the work now get the credit and are eligible for these honors.
Koch also serves on the boards of the Motion Picture and Television Fund and the National Film Preservation Foundation.
As a producer, executive producer, executive, or assistant director, Hawk Koch has been intimately involved with the making of more than 50 major motion pictures among them such classics as Marathon Man, Chinatown, Wayne’s World, Peggy Sue Got Married, and Heaven Can Wait, and Rosemary's Baby.
His colleagues and collaborators include many of the greatest filmmakers of our time, among them Sidney Pollack, Roman Polanski, John Schlesinger, Warren Beatty, and Francis Ford Coppola.
In addition to his duties at the Academy, Koch continues to develop and produce movies.
A native Angeleno, Koch lives in Los Angeles with his wife, Molly, near his three adult children and three grandchildren.