The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences has revealed that it will start recognising excellence in casting with a new Oscar category from 2026 onwards. It is the first time the Academy has announced a new Oscar category since the introduction of Best Animated Feature in 2001.
This piece of news comes at a time when there is growing pressure on the Academy to reduce the Oscar award count to retain viewer interest. The move adds to the increased focus of the Academy on casting directors since 2013. While casting directors have long been part of the Academy, it created a separate branch for these professionals only in 2013. Six years later, a casting director, David Rubin, was chosen as the president of the Academy for the first time in the organisation’s history. The branch now has 158 active casting directors. Those who govern the branch said that the inclusion of the new category is an acknowledgement of its dedicated efforts and the exceptional talents of casting directors.