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The casting director Oscar problem

The casting director Oscar problem

There are so many crew Oscars, most Americans probably don’t give a crap about which film wins the Best Sound Editing Academy Award. Odds are, most American movie fans don’t even care about slightly bigger categories such as Screenplay. While the last thing most average consumers probably want at the Oscars is more categories, the controversy over longtime categorical snubs still lives on. What about stunt performers? Too niche? You could argue that a stunt team on a film is just as vital as the men and women who mix audio tracks or design costumes. But, okay, maybe that one is a stretch. How about the casting director? The casting director represents the only aspect of the production process that is granted space in the credit block on a film’s one-sheet or in a film’s trailer, but not granted a nomination for Academy Award. The debate stems from a belief that it is too hard to define a casting director’s duties, which is truly an insult to the talented casting directors out there. For the LA Times, Reed Johnson pulls together a great look at the current situation (appeals have been made, the Academy doesn’t want to make the ceremony longer) as well the creative landmarks of the casting process:

Laray Mayfield, casting director of “The Social Network,” has been working with director David Fincher since he started doing music videos in the early 1980s. They have since collaborated on “Fight Club” (1999), “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” (2008) and the upcoming remake of “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo.”

“It’s very intimate, our casting relationship,” she said. “We spend a good amount of time just talking through the characters and how we see the work.”

Fincher credits Mayfield with helping him keep an open mind about certain roles in “The Social Network.” He said he’d initially told her, “Don’t bring me any of these Disney kids. … I want real people!”

But Mayfield had spotted Brenda Song on the Disney Channel sitcom “The Suite Life of Zack and Cody” and thought she’d be perfect as a flaky girlfriend of lead character Mark Zuckerberg. Mayfield also helped hatch the idea of having one actor, Armie Hammer, play the Winklevoss twins, Zuckerberg’s lookalike nemeses, with the aid of digital technology and a body double.

Fincher favors the idea of a casting Oscar, even though he says it’s often difficult to separate a casting director’s work from that of a director in relationships as close as his and Mayfield’s. “It’s hard for me to see where her job ends and my job begins,” he said.

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