The Board of Governors of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) has voted to a new Best Casting category to the current slate of 23 Oscar categories, beginning with the 98th Academy Awards and the 2026 ceremony.
This marks the first new category addition to the Oscars since 2001 with the inception of the Animated Feature Film award and brings the total back to 24 after merging Sound Editing and Sound Mixing back into a single Sound category in 2020. The Casting Directors Branch was formed in July 2013 and has nearly 160 members.
“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 their commitment and diligence throughout this process.”
Academy Casting Director Branch governors Richard Hicks, Kim Taylor-Colman and Debra Zane said in a joint statement, “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.”
The creation of new Oscar categories has often been one of intense fervor both from within the industry and outside of it. While many on both sides have been vocal about the inclusion of a Stunt category (which the Screen Actors Guild has had for both film and television since 2007), it has yet come to pass.
The Board of Governors created a new voting branch in March 2023, the Production and Technology Branch, which is made up of 400 individuals who were previously classified as members-at-large, and represents members working in key technical and production positions in all phases of filmmaking, from pre to post-production. It was the first new branch since the Casting Branch.
Category rules for eligibility and voting for the inaugural award will be announced in April 2025 with the complete 98th Academy Awards Rules. The specifics of the award’s presentation will be determined by the Academy’s Board of Governors and its administrative leadership at a future date.