Academy Awards announce first new Oscar since 2001 featured image

Starting in 2025, filmmakers will be competing for a brand new Oscar. Academy Awards organizers have announced the first new Oscars category in two decades: best casting.

The inaugural Academy Award for Achievement in Casting will be awarded at the 98th Academy Awards. That ceremony will take place in 2026 and honor films released in 2025. Before this, the Academy Awards had not added a new competitive category since 2001. That’s when the category for best animated feature was introduced.

Recognition for casting directors

With the new category, the total number of Oscars awarded each year will rise to 24. Categories currently include crowd favorites like Best Picture and Best Director, as well as lesser-known categories like Best Production Design. Now, exceptional casting directors will also be recognized for their work.

“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. “We congratulate our Casting Directors Branch members on this exciting milestone and for their commitment and diligence throughout this process.”

The Academy Casting Directors Branch was established in 2013 and currently includes almost 160 members. Regarding the new award, Casting Directors Branch governors Richard Hicks, Kim Taylor-Coleman and Debra Zane thanked the Board of Governors, the Awards Committee and Academy leadership, saying “This award is a deserved acknowledgment of our casting directors’ exceptional talents and a testament to the dedicated efforts of our branch.”

Reception

The new category is generally accepted in the industry as one that deserves to be celebrated. However, it’s not one that’s likely to increase viewership. This is a real concern for the Academy, which has been making efforts to decrease the ceremony’s overall runtime to keep viewers engaged. They even attempted to add a new popular film category back in 2019 to draw in new viewers. Both efforts flopped. This latest addition has enjoyed a much more positive reception.

Official voting rules and eligibility requirements will be released in April 2025 along with the rest of the rules for the 98th Academy Awards. The first Oscar for best casting will be awarded in 2026.

Nicole LaJeunesse is a professional writer and a curious person who loves to unpack stories on anything from music, to movies, to gaming and beyond.