The Board of Governors of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced a pleasant surprise Thursday morning by creating a new competitive Oscar category for best achievement in casting. It will begin at the 98th annual ceremony for films released in 2025.
This is the first new category created by the Academy since 2001 for best animated feature film. The Casting Directors Branch was formed in July 2013 and has nearly 160 members.
“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. “We congratulate our Casting Directors Branch members on this exciting milestone and their commitment and diligence throughout this process.”
Academy Casting Director Branch governors Richard Hicks, Kim Taylor-Colman and Debra Zane said in a joint statement, “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.”
The fight for the recognition of casting directors dates back to the late 1990s, when there was a fervent push to add it to the ceremony. However, it did not have widespread support back then and did not come to fruition.
In an interview last year, “John Wick: Chapter 4” director Chad Stahelski spoke about discussions happening within the Academy to add a category for stunts, which has significant support within the Hollywood ranks.
In March 2023, the Academy created the Production and Technology Branch, comprised of key technical and production positions in all phases of filmmaking, from pre- to post-production in Hollywood.
The 96th Oscars will be held on Sunday, March 10.