Casting directors have always been an essential part of commercial, television and film productions. Despite playing a fundamental role within the industry, public recognition for accomplishments in casting has been relatively minimal compared to their acting, directing and producing counterparts. However, a new Academy president and the addition of casting categories in multiple international awards indicate that the tide may be turning. Developments in the industry are bringing casting achievements to the forefront of entertainment.
New Casting Director Awards
To honor casting directors and their efforts, new awards have been added to international award dockets. In 2018, AACTA (Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts) announced its inaugural award for Best Casting presented by Casting Networks, with Australian casting director Allison Meadows taking home the award for her work on “Riot.” This year’s AACTA nominees include casting standouts from “Hotel Mumbai,” “The King,” “The Nightingale,” and “Total Control.”
In 2020, BAFTA (British Academy of Film and Television Arts) will honor the casting community by introducing a casting category to its film awards. This is the first award added to the competition in the last 20 years, and it will be handed out at the main BAFTA ceremony on Feb. 2, 2020. BAFTA’s Television Craft awards will also feature a casting category for the first time.
The Industry Is Changing
While casting has not yet achieved independent recognition on the Academy Awards stage, the historic Honorary Oscar bestowed upon casting director Lynn Stalmaster in 2016 set a precedent for future award ceremonies. In August of this year, David Rubin, whose 100-plus credits include “Big Little Lies,” “Men in Black” and “Lars and the Real Girl” was the first casting director elected as president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. His election highlights the increasing profile of casting directors in the industry and places a greater focus on the contributions of casting professionals.
As Hollywood and other production centers around the world have long known, casting directors are a vital part of the industry. The recent acknowledgments by film and television organizations in Australia, the U.K. and the U.S. are a crucial – and welcome – step forward in the advancement of both the business and the craft of casting.