Dear Gossips,   

The Oscars are a month away, so now is a great time to talk about the 2026 Oscars. Yesterday, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced their first new Academy Award category in more than twenty years—since Best Animated Feature was introduced in 2002 (and went to Shrek). The new Oscar is for Best Casting and will go to casting directors. Finally! Long overdue! 


They have not yet specified if this new award will be given on the “big night” telecast, or if it will be relegated to the off-air Scientific and Technical Awards. Though the Academy has been under pressure from its broadcast partner ABC to shorten the telecast, and adding a new category is anathema to that, it’s hard to imagine they won’t opt to include a casting Oscar in the televised ceremony. Casting directors 100% deserve to be honored for their contributions to the art of cinema, but ALSO, this award will inevitably end up including ensemble films that might not always land Best Picture honors. For instance, superhero movies, comedies and horror movies, or a Bond film, et cetera. It’s a way to include more films in the telecast average viewers at home actually have seen.


Also, I don’t think it would actually lengthen the ceremony. In 2021, the two sound categories for best mixing and editing combined into one “best sound” category. So really, the new category for casting just fills in the spot of that now vanished sound category. Presto change-o, everything’s the same-o. 

There are, however, implications for another new category to be added, one honoring stunt coordinators. In my opinion, not only do we NEED a Best Stunts category, it should be given to both the coordinator and choreographer, because it takes both positions to fully realize a stunt sequence. Like, what is the John Wick Paris steps scene without that fight choreography? This is my pitch for a Best Stunts category that includes two winners, just as Best Sound honors editors and mixers, and Best Production Design goes to designers and set decorators. 


Obstacles to a stunt Oscar remain, though. There is, of course, the issue of the telecast’s length, but more than that, there are the actors. No matter what they say on record, there is some resistance among the acting branch to a stunt Oscar, because it could potentially mean they can’t pretend to do their own stunts. Oscar campaigns have been built on the notion of great physical effort, but if there had been a stunt Oscar back when, would Natalie Portman have been able to campaign on “mastering” ballet in a year for Black Swan? There are actors who don’t want more attention brought to stunt work because it jeopardizes their talk show talking points. A stunt Oscar is a steeper hill to climb.

For now, I’ll settle for the overdue award for casting directors. The first year of eligibility is 2025, so it will be 2026 when we see the first casting Oscar awarded. Better late than never.

Live long and gossip,