Motion Picture Academy Introduces New Competitive Oscar Category for Casting Directors

Posted on: Feb 09, 2024

Photo Credit: Faheem Salimullah // Shutterstock

By Steffanie Bradley

The Motion Picture Academy has announced a groundbreaking development in the world of film recognition with the establishment of a new competitive Oscar category for Achievement In Casting. This category marks the first addition to the Academy Awards since the creation of Best Animated Feature Film in 2001. The introduction of this category is a significant step forward in recognizing the vital role that casting directors play in the filmmaking process.

After years of effort by industry professionals, the Casting Directors Branch can finally celebrate their inclusion in the prestigious Oscar landscape. In an official statement, Academy CEO Bill Kramer and Academy President Janet Yang expressed their pride in adding casting to the disciplines recognized and celebrated by the Academy. “Casting directors play an essential role in filmmaking, and as the Academy evolves, we are proud to add casting to the disciplines that we recognize and celebrate. We congratulate our Casting Directors Branch members on this exciting milestone and for their commitment and diligence throughout this process.”

The Casting Directors Branch was established in July 2013 and currently comprises nearly 160 members. This new category is a well-deserved acknowledgment of the exceptional talent and dedicated efforts of casting directors in shaping the success of films. The establishment of the category also highlights the significant growth and evolution of the film industry, recognizing the vital role and impact casting professionals have on the overall quality of a film.

The specifics of the eligibility criteria and voting process for the inaugural award will be announced in April 2025, along with the complete 98th Academy Awards Rules. The details of the awards presentation will be determined by the Academy’s Board of Governors and administrative leadership at a later date.

The introduction of a competitive Oscar category for casting directors could also pave the way for other underrepresented fields within the film industry to gain recognition. This may encourage further discussions about the establishment of a category for stuntpersons, for example, who have also long been advocating for recognition. Staff Me Up, a Talent System’s company, is excited to see the addition of this category to honor another important aspect of the collaborative art of filmmaking.

“Every film that wins an Oscar has a casting director or team who brings its characters to life, searching for the right actors in the right combination to achieve a vision and make movie magic. As a company, we are privileged to watch casting directors do this skilled and artful work every day. We are delighted that their invaluable contributions are finally being recognized on our industry’s largest stage.”

– Alex Amin, Co-CEO, Talent Systems

The announcement of the new casting category is a significant milestone in the quest for greater inclusivity and recognition within the film industry. It celebrates the essential role that casting directors play in bringing stories to life and highlights the Academy’s commitment to acknowledge and honor all aspects of the filmmaking process.

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