The Oscars will present an Oscar for best actors, making it the first new category in more than 20 years, the ceremony's organizing committee announced Thursday.
Film directors have been pushing for the category for decades, arguing that their work is crucial to a film's success, but the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, which hands out the Oscars, has rejected the idea — until now.
The new category will be introduced for films released in 2025, meaning fans won't see a statuette handed out until 2026. The Academy tends to be conservative when it comes to offering new awards: the last category created was the Academy Award for motion pictures. Best Animated Feature Film, which was established in 2001. (It went to “Shrek.”) In 2018, the Academy canceled the introduction of a new category for achievements in “popular” films after negative feedback from audiences and some Academy members.
The society was founded in the early 1980s in part to help push for the award, said Destiny Lilly, president of the Casting Society of America, a professional organization for people in the field.
“It seems like it's going to take a long time,” said Lilly, who was the casting director for “The Color Purple,” who nominated Danielle Brooks for supporting actress at the upcoming ceremony.
The academy established a branch of casting directors in 2013, which currently has over 150 members. Lilly said the new branch allows other Academy members to fully understand the scope of what casting directors do.
“It was an educational process, building an understanding of what our contributions are as directors of a final film,” Lilly said.
The awards show's appreciation for off-camera categories, which were sometimes overlooked, was a topic of concern two years ago when the Academy presented eight categories — including film editing, makeup and hair styling, and production design — ahead of the live broadcast. The decision was met with a wave of criticism that asserted that the move indicated that the Academy valued some filmmaking jobs more than others. The following year, the Academy's new leaders reversed course and handed out all the awards live.
In a joint statement making the announcement, Bill Kramer, Academy CEO, and Janet Young, Academy President, said: “Casting directors play an essential role in the film industry, and as the Academy grows, we are proud to add casting to the Academy.” Disciplines that we recognize and celebrate.”
The academy's Board of Governors voted to add the category on Wednesday.
A common argument against the Actors' Choice Awards has been the length of the ceremony: Last year, the show lasted three and a half hours, and in 2002, it reached the four-hour, 23-minute mark.
The move puts the Oscars on equal footing with some other awards shows, including the Emmy Awards. The BAFTAs added this category to their 2020 ceremony, helping to increase calls for the Oscars to do the same.
“Travel junkie. Coffee lover. Incurable social media evangelist. Zombie maven.”