For the first time in twenty years, BAFTA are introducing a brand new category into its film and television awards. The award for casting will be aimed at the casting directors who pair actors to their respective characters and who, until now, have been the only credited role in a film not to have their contributions rewarded.
It’s the job of a casting director to scour emerging and veteran talent and test their mettle for winning the part. I for one could not imagine anyone other than Daniel Day-Lewis in my favourite film There Will Be Blood, with casting by Cassandra Kulukundis. And no matter how many times they recast The Joker, each one will have gone through a rigorous vetting process at the behest of the casting director.
The campaign for the addition of this category has seen increased momentum in the last decade, with big-name directors such as Martin Scorsese advocating its inclusion at the Oscars, as well as a 2013 documentary Casting By which dedicated itself to emphasising the importance of the casting directors in the film-making process. This is also followed by the news that the Best Original Music category will be renamed Original Score in order to incorporate the importance of the composer and their role in creating a stunning cinematic soundscape.
It is undoubtedly welcome news in a slew of debates surrounding the organisation of the prominent film award ceremonies. While The Academy appears to be lagging behind and focusing on pigeonholing entire genres with their Popular Film category, BAFTA are making waves and ensuring that everyone who has contributed to the making of a film is recognised. With any luck, this is only the tip of the iceberg, which will see the award rolled out on a larger scale.
Words by Jack Roberts