Awards Circuit Column: The Academy’s Decision to Recognize Casting Marks a Positive Evolution
Including a casting category in the Oscars is a much-awaited and welcome move. Set to debut in 2026 for films released in 2025; this new category has been met with enthusiasm among awards enthusiasts on social media. The decision is particularly significant given the establishment of the Casting Directors Branch over a decade ago in 2013.
However, the announcement raises questions about the potential addition of future categories and how the awards ceremony, aiming to stay under three hours, will accommodate them. The Academy is yet to confirm whether the best achievement in casting award will be featured during the televised ceremony.
Details about eligibility, voting, and the presentation method will be disclosed in April 2025, alongside the rules for the 98th Academy Awards.
The exclusion of casting directors from the telecast, especially after the backlash in 2022 for omitting eight categories, would be a notable oversight. Casting directors, often unsung heroes of film production, rarely receive mainstream recognition.
The chance for audiences to learn the names of individuals like Ellen Lewis, Sarah Finn, Victoria Thomas, and Carmen Cuba is a cause for celebration.
Throughout its 96-year history, the Academy has considered various potential categories, including stunts. There is positive momentum toward recognizing stunt artists at the Oscars, aligning with the SAG Awards’ longstanding practice.
The Academy Awards have evolved significantly since their inception, with persistent efforts to celebrate a broader range of craftspeople and artists. Despite these efforts, challenges arise in incorporating additional categories into a single ceremony featuring 24 categories and various performances.
Suggestions for new categories, such as best voice performances, achievements in motion capture, title design, and music supervision, have been proposed. While creating a compelling show is ideal, financial considerations and network constraints necessitate balancing a captivating ceremony and a manageable runtime.
Concerns about the Best Casting winner aligning with the Best Picture winner are addressed by examining the BAFTA casting award history. The BAFTA winners and nominees don’t always mirror the Oscar frontrunners, showcasing the diversity in recognition.
Incorporating a casting category at the Oscars is a positive step towards acknowledging that making a great movie involves a collective effort. It recognizes the contributions of various individuals across multiple disciplines, reinforcing the idea that it takes a village to create cinematic excellence.