Beginning in 2026, the Oscars will include an award for casting

Oscar statuettes
Oscar statuettes backstage at the 85th Academy Awards.
(Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)

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

On Thursday, the motion picture academy’s board of governors announced the creation of a new competitive Oscar for achievement in casting. The award will be given out annually beginning in 2026 with the 98th Academy Awards for films released in 2025.

Though 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 TV 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 that we recognize and celebrate,” academy Chief Executive Bill Kramer and President Janet Yang said 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 2024 Oscar nominations were announced Tuesday, with big numbers for “Oppenheimer,” “Barbie” and two foreign titles, “Anatomy of a Fall” and “The Zone of Interest.”

Jan. 23, 2024

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

Oscar categories have evolved and fluctuated significantly over the years. The first Academy Awards ceremony included only 12 awards, and over the ensuing decades categories have at times been added, subtracted, split and combined. In 2018, the academy announced the creation of a new best popular film award only to scrap the idea following a blowback. Meanwhile, the stunt community has long lobbied for its own Oscar but has so far been unsuccessful in its campaign.

Casting director David Rubin served as the organization’s president from 2019 to 2022. Speaking to The Times shortly after being elected, Rubin said he was not focused on trying to create an Oscar for casting but was thrilled that the BAFTAs were adding such an award. “It will likely serve to increase awareness of our involvement in the collaborative art of filmmaking,” he said. “But other than that, I would say let’s just see what the future brings.”

In a joint statement Thursday, current academy casting directors branch governors Richard Hicks, Kim Taylor-Coleman and Debra Zane called the award “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 new award will be announced in 2025.