The Oscars add a new casting category for 2026

There will soon be one more category to fill out on your Oscar ballots.

On Thursday, the film academy's board of directors announced the creation of a new competitive Oscar for achievements in casting. The award will be presented annually beginning in 2026 with the 98th Academy Awards for films released in 2025.

Although casting has been an integral part of the filmmaking process since the advent of the studio system, the academy only established a branch for casting directors in 2013. With nearly 160 current members, the branch is one of the smallest in the organization, which has a total membership of more than 10,800.

The announcement follows the British Film and Television Academy's decision to add a casting award in 2020.

“Casting directors play an essential role in filmmaking, and as the Academy evolves, we are proud to add casting to the disciplines we recognize and celebrate,” said Academy CEO Bill Kramer and President , Janet Yang, in a joint statement announcing the award. “We congratulate our Casting Directors Branch members on this exciting milestone and for their commitment and diligence throughout this process.”

The casting award is the first new Oscar category introduced since the best animated feature category was established in 2001 and, barring any other changes, will bring the number of competitive Oscar categories to 24.

The Oscar categories have evolved and fluctuated significantly over the years. The first Academy Awards ceremony included just 12 awards, and over the decades since, the categories have sometimes been added, subtracted, divided and combined. In 2018, the academy announced the creation of a new award for best popular film, but scrapped the idea after backlash. Meanwhile, the stunt community has long lobbied for its own Oscar, but its campaign has so far been unsuccessful.

Casting director David Rubin served as president of the organization from 2019 to 2022. Speaking to The Times shortly after being chosen, Rubin said he was not focused on trying to create an Oscar for casting, but was delighted that The BAFTAs will add such an award. “It will probably serve to raise awareness about our participation in the collaborative art of filmmaking,” he said. “But other than that, I would say let's see what the future holds.”

In a joint statement Thursday, the academy's current casting directors, branch governors Richard Hicks, Kim Taylor-Coleman and Debra Zane called the award “a well-deserved recognition of the exceptional talents of our casting directors and a testament to the dedicated efforts of our branch.”

Category rules for eligibility and voting for the new award will be announced in 2025.

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