Oscars Announce new Award for Outstanding Casting in 2026

Academy Awards organisers have announced that starting from 2026, a new Oscar category will be added for best casting.

This will mark the introduction of a fresh competitive category at the Oscars ceremony, the first one since the inclusion of best animated feature in 2002.

Casting directors have been advocating for recognition similar to other film crafts such as sound, costume, and hair and make-up.

Academy bosses have emphasised the crucial role that casting directors play in the world of filmmaking, according to a recent statement.

Academy CEO Bill Kramer and president Janet Yang expressed their pride in expanding the disciplines recognised and celebrated by the Academy as it continues to evolve.

“We extend our heartfelt congratulations to our casting directors branch members on reaching this significant milestone. Their unwavering dedication and hard work throughout this process are truly commendable.”

The category will not be introduced until the 2026 ceremony due to the extensive planning of awards campaigns in advance.

The decision is surprising considering the Academy’s attempts to reduce the length of the Oscars ceremony in recent times, in order to maintain the audience’s attention. Frequently, the programme exceeds its planned three-hour duration.

An extraordinary individual, Oscars

At the Oscars, a total of 23 awards are presented. However, the public’s primary focus tends to be on the major prizes, including best picture, the acting categories, and best director.

The Academy has yet to confirm if the inclusion of the new casting category will be part of the telecast. A decision on this matter is expected to be made closer to the event.

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Casting directors are vital members of the film industry, contributing significantly to the creation of major Hollywood films.

They have the responsibility of selecting top-tier celebrities to lead a movie, as well as casting actors for supporting roles.

Stunt performers have been advocating for their own category at the Academy Awards, but their efforts have not yet yielded results.

In 2007, the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) Awards added a stunt category to their list of ceremonies. Last year, the team that emerged victorious was the one behind Top Gun: Maverick.

Last month, Barbie took home the newly-introduced Golden Globe for best box office achievement (pictured: director Greta Gerwig, actor Margot Robbie)

Reactions to the casting category have been significantly more positive compared to the popular film category, which the Oscars tried to introduce in 2018.

The proposed prize was a clever strategy aimed at acknowledging films that had achieved great commercial success but were often overlooked in the more conventional award categories. These included summer blockbusters and superhero franchises.

Nevertheless, the decision received backlash from prominent figures in the industry who argued that introducing such a category would diminish the Oscars’ prestige and integrity.

Instead, the Academy later decided to try something new by introducing a “fan favourite” prize. This prize allowed viewers to vote for their favourite without it being a formal Oscars category. The victory was claimed by Zack Snyder’s Army of the Dead, but it was not replicated in the subsequent year.

The upcoming Oscars ceremony, which will be hosted by Jimmy Kimmel, is scheduled to take place in Los Angeles on 10 March.

Following the announcement of the casting prize, Richard Hicks, Kim Taylor-Coleman, and Debra Zane, the three governors of the Academy’s casting directors branch, expressed their gratitude to the Academy.

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“This award is a well-deserved recognition of the exceptional talents of our casting directors and a testament to the dedicated efforts of our branch,” they said.

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