Casting Director is the only above the line movie credit that does not receive an Academy Award. For years, I have awkwardly cornered people at parties demanding to know why this is the case, but nobody seems to know the answer. This month, the Los Angeles Times interviewed the Academy Executive Director, Bruce Davis, and it appears we finally have some answers. According to Davis:
- "There's no easy way to tell who did the casting in a movie."
- "We're not looking for a lot of new categories. People think the award show is long enough."
Fascinating. To the first point, Davis is referring to the fact that Producers often cast the starring roles, and Casting Directors often fill out the supporting roles. To the second point, it's just sort of interesting the Oscars can squeeze every above the line credit into a four hour show, with the sole exception of Casting Director.
To appreciate the role of Casting Director, consider how many thousands of teenagers Allison Jones had to wade through before discovering the likes of James Franco, Jason Segel, Seth Rogan, Jonah Hill, Linda Cardellini, and Christopher Mintz-Plasse. Or consider Lisa Beach and Pat McCorkle's casting of School Ties (1992) that launched the careers of Brendan Fraser, Matt Damon, Ben Affleck, Chris O'Donnell and Cole Hauser.
The Casting Society of America has petitioned the Academy three times in the past 15 years to add an award for Best Casting Director. This would bring the Oscars in line with the Emmys and the Spirit Awards. Here's hoping they are someday included.