The Academy Finally Establishes a Casting Award

The Oscars are set to get a little longer for a long-campaigned reason.

Ahead of the upcoming 96th Oscars, the Board of Governors of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced on Thursday, February 8, that there will now be an annual competitive Academy Award for Achievement in Casting. The new Oscar category will arrive alongside the 98th Academy Awards in 2026, which will honor the films released in 2025.

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The news comes over a decade after the release of the 2012 premiere of the documentary “Casting By,” which highlighted the importance of casting directors in the filmmaking process, and suggested their work should be recognized by the Academy. Shortly after, in July 2013, the Academy created its Casting Directors Branch, which currently has nearly 160 members. Casting director Lynn Stalmaster, one of the subjects of “Casting By,” was also honored at the Governors Awards in November 2016, which made him the first person to receive an Oscar for casting.

“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,” said Academy CEO Bill Kramer and Academy president Janet Yang in a press statement. “We congratulate our Casting Directors Branch members on this exciting milestone and for their commitment and diligence throughout this process.”

Academy Casting Directors Branch governors Richard Hicks, Kim Taylor-Coleman, and Debra Zane celebrated the news via statement, saying “On behalf of the members of the Casting Directors Branch, we’d like to thank the Board of Governors, the Awards Committee and Academy leadership for their support. This award is a deserved acknowledgment of our casting directors’ exceptional talents and a testament to the dedicated efforts of our branch.”

Category rules for eligibility and voting for the inaugural award will be announced in April 2025 with the complete 98th Academy Awards Rules. The specifics of the award’s presentation will be determined by the Academy’s Board of Governors and its administrative leadership at a future date.

The last time the Academy created a brand new Oscar category was Best Animated Feature Film, established in 2001.

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