The Academy Awards will present an Oscar for casting, the organization that governs the ceremony announced Thursday, making it the first new category in more than 20 years.
Casting directors have been pushing for the category for decades, arguing that their work is critical to a film’s success, but the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, which organizes the Oscars, has rejected the idea… until now.
The new category will be introduced for films released in 2025, meaning fans won’t see a statuette awarded until 2026. The Academy tends to be conservative when it comes to introducing new awards: the last category to be created was the Oscar for best animated feature film, which was established in 2001 (it was for “Shrek”). In 2018, the Academy scrapped the introduction of a new category for achievements in “popular” films after backlash from the public and some Academy members.
Destiny Lilly, president of the Casting Society of America, a professional organization for people in the field, said the society was created in the early 1980s in part to help push for this award.
“It seems like it’s been a long time coming,” said Lilly, who was casting director for “The Color Purple,” which earned a supporting actress nomination for Danielle Brooks at the upcoming ceremony.
The Academy created a branch for casting directors in 2013, which currently has over 150 members. Lilly said the new branch allowed other members of the Academy to fully understand the scope of what casting directors do.
“It was an educational process, a building of understanding of what our contributions are as casting directors to a finished film,” Lilly said.
The awards show’s recognition of sometimes overlooked off-camera categories was the subject of consternation two years ago when the Academy presented eight categories, including film editing, hair and makeup, and production design, before broadcast live. The decision was met with a wave of criticism, stating that the move communicated that the Academy valued some film works more than others. The following year, the Academy’s new leaders changed course and presented all awards live.
In a joint statement making the announcement, Academy CEO Bill Kramer and Academy President Janet Yang said, “Casting directors play an essential role in filmmaking, and as the Academy evolves , we are proud to add casting to the list.” disciplines that we recognize and celebrate.”
The Academy’s board of governors voted to add the category Wednesday.
A common argument against a casting award has been the length of the ceremony: last year, the show lasted three and a half hours, and in 2002 it hit the four hour and 23 minute mark.
The move brings the Oscars in line with other awards shows, including the Emmys. The BAFTAs added the category for its 2020 ceremony, helping fuel calls for the Academy Awards to do the same.