The Oscars Have Announced A New Category For The First Time In Over 20 Years, But It’s Not The One I Was Hoping For

Film News

Last month, the 96th Academy Awards nominees were announced, and in early March, we’ll see how many Oscars, if any, movies like Oppenheimer, Poor Things and Killers of the Flower Moon win. Ahead of this prestigious ceremony highlighting the best of the best in the film industry, though, it’s been announced that a new Oscars category has been created for the first time in over 20 years. Unfortunately, it’s not the category I and so many other people have been hoping would be added to the lineup.

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences today that starting with the 98th Academy Awards, i.e. the 2026 ceremony covering movies released in 2025, the Academy Awards will give out one of those golden trophies for Best Achievement in Casting. Per Academy CEO Bill Kramer and Academy President Janet Yang, this new award will highlight how casting directors “play an essential role in filmmaking,” and in a separate joint statement, Academy Casting Director Branch governors Richard Hicks, Kim Taylor-Colman and Debra Zan said that “this award is a deserved acknowledgment of our casting directors’ exceptional talents and a testament to the dedicated efforts of our branch.”

This is the first new Oscars category since Best Animated Feature was set up in 2001, and the category rules for eligibility and voting for Best Achievement in Casting will be figured out in April 2025 alongside the rest of the rules for the 98th Academy Awards. To be clear, I have nothing against highlighting the good work that casting directors do, and as Variety noted in its writeup, the push for this particular category dates back to the late 1990s. I’m happy for the people who are delighted that the category now exists.

However, in recent years, there’s been a lot more clamoring for the Oscars to include a Best Stunts category, and this isn’t just from movie fans. Jason Statham is a major advocate for stunt performers getting Oscars, and John Wick: Chapter 4 director Chad Stahelski made a strong case for the category early last year. In fact, Stahelski also said in July 2023 that he and other Hollywood figures had been having “incredibly positive” conversations with the Academy about a Stunts category, and he believed “real movement” was starting to be made on this front. Evidently not movement though, considering this latest development.

Just like how casting directors are essential to making sure that the right actors are hired for the right roles, stunt performers are an integral cog when it comes to the more action-packed moviemaking process. Without them, such productions wouldn’t even exist! If we can recognize the achievements in other areas like Production Design, Hairstyling and Visual Effects, there’s no reason why the spotlight shouldn’t be pointed as the stunts side of things every year at the Oscars.

I’m still hoping the Academy will one day agree with me on this point and create the Best Stunts category, but for now, it remains a pipe dream. Still though, congratulations to the people who spearheaded Best Achievement in Casting, and I can’t wait to see who wins that first Oscar in 2026. Remember that the 96th Academy Awards is slotted to air on the 2024 TV schedule Sunday, March 10 on ABC, though this time it’s beginning at 7 pm ET rather than 8.

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