With this year’s blockbuster season heading towards its endgame, it won’t be long before we enter the autumnal run-up to next year’s awards season. No change there, right? Well not quite – this time, Bafta has decided to switch things up a bit by introducing a ‘Best Casting’ category.
The British Academy Film Awards – a precursor to Hollywood biggie the Oscars – will be adding the new trophy to its 2020 ceremony, which will once again be taking place in London’s Royal Albert Hall on 2 February. It’s the first new category to be added into the mix since the ‘Outstanding Debut’ was created back in 1999.
Casting is a hugely important part of the moviemaking process – finding the right actors for the right roles can make a film; bad casting, on the other hand, can mean disaster at the box-office. “Casting is essential to the screen industries, and vital in terms of promoting diversity and inclusion on-screen,” said Bafta chair Pippa Harris. “We hope this award will also help to promote an understanding of casting and look forward to seeing who will be the first winner in February.”
It’s a wonder that this unsung profession hasn’t been recognised in the main ceremonies before – question is, will the Oscars follow suit? The American academy attempted to introduce a new category for this year’s awards – the much-derided ‘popular movie’ award – but swiftly decided to take it off the table after the ensuing backlash.
A casting Oscar, though, would go a long way to helping the job get more recognition and its creation – alongside mooted awards for other filmmaking staples such as stuntwork – has long been called for by industry folk. Speaking to Screen International last year, supporting actor Oscar nominee Richard E Grant said: “Casting director comes up in the list of credits so far ahead now compared to where it was 10 years ago – I genuinely do not understand why there is no category for them in the big awards ceremonies.”
Meanwhile, the nominations for next year’s Baftas – including the first batch of Best Casting nominees – will be revealed on 7 January.
So, what do you think: is it a good thing that casting is getting recognised and should the Oscars get on board? Let us know in the comments below.
• Here are 15 iconic movie roles that were cast at the last minute – and that went on to be a huge success.