The Oscars will add a new category to recognize casting directors beginning at the 98th Academy Awards in 2026, the Academy announced on Thursday.
Casting is one of the areas in which the Academy has been lobbied to add an Oscar category for years. The organization created a Casting Directors Branch in 2013, with 158 members in the branch as of December 2023. One of the branch’s members, David Rubin, served as Academy president between 2019 and 2022.
Rules and voting procedures for the new award will be announced in April 2025, with the category instituted later that year. Specifics about the award, including eligibility and the voting process, will be determined at a later date, AMPAS said in a statement.
The last category to be added to the Academy Awards was Best Animated Feature, which was created in 2001 and gave the Oscars 24 categories. In 2020, Best Sound Mixing and Best Sound Editing were merged into a single Best Sound category, bringing the number of awards down to the current 23.
“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,” said Academy CEO Bill Kramer and Academy President Janet Yang in a statement. “We congratulate our Casting Directors Branch members on this exciting milestone and for their commitment and diligence throughout this process.”
In the same statement, Casting Directors Branch governors Richard Hicks, Kim Taylor-Coleman and Debra Zane added, “On behalf of the members of the Casting Directors Branch, we’d like to thank the Board of Governors, the Awards Committee and Academy leadership for their support. This award is a deserved acknowledgment of our casting directors’ exceptional talents and a testament to the dedicated efforts of our branch.”
Casting is not the only field that has lobbied hard for an Oscar category in recent years, with stunt directors and performers also making their case. There is no Academy branch for stunts.