Oscars to Introduce Inaugural Category in First Move Since 2001: Casting directors, integral figures in the entertainment industry, are set to receive long-overdue recognition on Hollywood’s grandest stage. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced on Thursday that a new award will be introduced to honor outstanding achievements in casting for films released in 2025 and beyond. This historic decision marks the first addition of a category by the academy since the establishment of the best animated feature film award in 2001, excluding the brief consideration of the “popular film Oscar” that never materialized. The move reflects a significant step towards acknowledging the vital contributions of casting directors to the cinematic landscape during the prestigious Oscars ceremony.
In a collective statement, Academy CEO Bill Kramer and Academy President Janet Yang expressed the pivotal role that casting directors play in the filmmaking process. Emphasizing the Academy’s commitment to evolution, they conveyed their pride in incorporating casting as a recognized and celebrated discipline. This acknowledgment underscores the importance of casting directors in shaping the artistic landscape of filmmaking, signifying a notable step forward in the Academy’s recognition of various contributors to the industry.
Established in July 2013, the casting directors’ branch, currently comprising nearly 160 members, has emerged as a vital component within the Academy. The announcement of a new award to recognize the achievements of casting directors in films released from 2025 onwards has been met with enthusiasm from the casting community. Academy Casting Directors Branch governors Richard Hicks, Kim Taylor-Coleman, and Debra Zane expressed their appreciation for the deserved acknowledgment of casting directors’ exceptional talents. Their collective statement also serves as a testament to the unwavering dedication exhibited by the branch, highlighting the significant role played by casting professionals in the cinematic realm.
The inaugural statuette for casting directors will be bestowed at the 98th Academy Awards in 2026, marking a historic moment in the recognition of their distinct contributions to the film industry. Casting directors, alongside stunt performers, have persistently advocated for an Oscar category that acknowledges their specific roles in cinematic productions. However, while casting directors have secured this milestone, the aspirations of stunt performers to have a dedicated category will have to remain on hold for the time being. The impending addition of the casting category underscores a growing acknowledgment of the diverse and essential talents that contribute to the magic of filmmaking within the prestigious realm of the Oscars.
This recognition is a result of persistent efforts from casting directors and their supporters who have long emphasized the integral role they play in shaping the narrative and characters of films. The establishment of this new category is a testament to the evolving landscape of the film industry and the Academy’s commitment to embracing and celebrating the diverse talents that bring stories to life on the big screen.
While casting directors are rightfully receiving their due acknowledgment, the aspirations of stunt performers for a dedicated Oscar category remain unfulfilled at this time. Stunt performers, renowned for their skill, bravery, and contribution to the visual spectacle of films, continue to advocate for recognition within the esteemed Oscars ceremony.
As the Academy continues to adapt and grow, it remains to be seen whether the calls for a stunt performers’ category will be addressed in the future. Nevertheless, the addition of the casting category stands as a noteworthy step forward, recognizing and celebrating the multifaceted talents that collaborate to create memorable cinematic experiences.