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Should There Be a Best Casting Oscar?

Should There Be a Best Casting Oscar?

Just because the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences has added a new, 17th branch for Casting Directors doesn’t mean there will be a Best Casting Oscar anytime soon.

But that didn’t stop Oscar pundit Nathaniel Rogers of The Film Experience from asking the question on Twitter, which yielded a lively debate. A Best Casting Oscar is unlikely to happen because it raises too many thorny issues. For one, the Academy hates imitating other awards shows like the Screen Actors Guild Awards, which give their “Best Picture” for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture. The Independent Spirits give their Robert Altman Award to the director, producer and casting director. 

With movies, the director has final say on casting, with a lot of input from producers and whoever is paying for the movie, be it foreign sales companies or studios, even if a gifted casting director like Marion Dougherty, the subject of recent HBO documentaryCasting By” (review here), or Juliet Taylor, who has introduced many up-and-coming actors to directors like Woody Allen, have a huge impact on who winds up in a film–or has a career. 

I disagree with Mark Harris and In Contention’s Guy Lodge that the Academy voters wouldn’t know how to judge a Best Casting Oscar and it would default to a Best Picture popularity vote. The Academy’s largest branch is the actors, and the rest of the Academy is pretty sophisticated about how these things work. This award could open up a particularly strong ensemble with no obvious Oscar-worthy lead role to awards consideration, or an indie film with a brilliant cast like, say, “The Usual Suspects” or “The Outsiders.” One answer would be to share the Best Casting prize with the director. 

I was reminded of all this by the Casting Society of America’s announcement today of the nominees for the 29th Annual Artios Awards for outstanding achievement in casting, given in 22 categories including film, television and theater. You can tell there is no Oscar category for this because the CSA’s NY and LA awards fêtes will take place on Monday, November 18. As you can see from the list below, they are looking back at last year, with no eye for influencing the awards to come. They might want to consider changing this!

2013 Artios Award Nominations for Outstanding Achievement in Casting

Big Budget Feature – Comedy

“Oz the Great and Powerful,” John Papsidera

“Pain & Gain,” Denise Chamian, Lori Wyman (Location Casting), Ania Kamieniecki-O’Hare (Associate)

“Silver Linings Playbook,” Mary Vernieu, Lindsay Graham, Diane Heery (Location Casting)

“Ted,” Sheila Jaffe, Angela Peri (Location Casting)

“The Watch,” Alyssa Weisberg, Shay Bentley Griffin (Location Casting), Yesi Ramirez (Associate), Karina Walters (Associate)

Big Budget Feature – Drama

“Argo,” Lora Kennedy

“Les Misérables,” Nina Gold

“Life of Pi,” Avy Kaufman

“Lincoln,” Avy Kaufman, Erica Arvold (Location Casting), Pat Moran (Location Casting)

“Zero Dark Thirty,” Mark Bennett, Richard Hicks, Seher Latif (Location Casting)

Feature – Studio or Independent  – Comedy

“Hitchcock,” Terri Taylor, John McAlary (Associate)

“Moonrise Kingdom,” Douglas Aibel, Henry Russell Bergstein (Associate)

“Pitch Perfect,” Kerry Barden, Paul Schnee, Tracy Kilpatrick (Location Casting)

“Seven Psychopaths,” Sarah Halley Finn, Tamara Hunter (Associate)

“To Rome with Love,” Patricia DiCerto, Beatrice Kruger

Feature – Studio or Independent – Drama

“The Company You Keep,” Avy Kaufman

“Lawless,” Francine Maisler

“Looper,” Mary Vernieu, Lindsay Graham, Lisa Mae Fincannon (Location Casting), Craig Fincannon (Location Casting)

“Magic Mike,” Carmen Cuba, Wittney Horton (Associate)

“Mud,” Francine Maisler, Diana Guthrie (Location Casting)

“The Place Beyond the Pines,” Cindy Tolan, Adam Caldwell (Associate)

Low Budget Feature – Comedy or Drama

“Celeste & Jesse Forever,” Angela Demo

“Compliance,” Kerry Barden, Paul Schnee

“Frances Ha,” Douglas Aibel, Henry Russell Bergstein (Associate)

“The Sessions,” Ronnie Yeskel

“Smashed,” Avy Kaufman, Kim Coleman

Animation Feature

“Brave,” Kevin Reher, Natalie Lyon

“Epic,” Christian Kaplan

“Frankenweenie,” Ronna Kress, Jennifer Rudin (Location Casting)

“Ice Age: Continental Drift,” Christian Kaplan

“Wreck-It Ralph,” Jamie Sparer Roberts

Short Film

“200 Years,” Sherrie Henderson, Dan Velez

“Hotel Pennsylvania,” Donna DeSeta

“Little Shadow,” Donna DeSeta

“Room 8,” Rose Wicksteed

“The Learning Curve,” Kendra Patterson

Television Pilot Comedy

“Animal Practice,” Lisa Miller Katz

“Guys with Kids,” Geraldine Leder

“How to Live With Your Parents (For the Rest of Your Life),” Susan Edelman, Jeff Greenberg

“The Mindy Project,” Felicia Fasano

“Partners,” Julie Ashton-Barson

Television Pilot Drama

“The Americans,” Cami Patton, Christal Karge, Julie Tucker (Location Casting), Ross Meyerson (Location Casting)

“Bates Motel,” April Webster, Sara Isaacson, Jennifer Page (Location Casting), Corinne Clark (Location Casting)

“The Following,” Greg Orson, Lesli Gelles-Raymond, Lisa Mae Fincannon (Location Casting)

“House of Cards,” Laray Mayfield

“The Newsroom,” Francine Maisler

Television Series Comedy

“30 Rock,” Katja Blichfeld, Jessica Daniels

“Girls,” Jennifer Euston

“Modern Family,” Jeff Greenberg, Allen Hooper (Associate)

“New Girl,” Anya Colloff, Michael Nicolo, Jessica Munks (Associate)

“Nurse Jackie,” Julie Tucker, Ross Meyerson

Television Series Drama

“Game of Thrones,” Nina Gold

“The Good Wife,” Mark Saks, John Andrews (Associate)

“Homeland,” Judy Henderson, Lisa Mae Fincannon (Location Casting), Craig Fincannon (Location Casting)

“House of Cards,” Laray Mayfield, Julie Schubert

“The Newsroom,” Francine Maisler, Nancy Perkins

Television Movie or Mini Series

“American Horror Story,” Robert J. Ulrich, Eric Dawson, Carol Kritzer, Eric Souliere (Associate)

“Behind the Candelabra,” Carmen Cuba, Wittney Horton (Associate)

“Phil Spector,” Sharon Bialy, Sherry Thomas, Mia Cusumano (Associate)

“Political Animals,” David Rubin, Melissa Pryor (Associate), Jason Loftus (Associate)

“Top of the Lake,” Kirsty McGregor

Daytime Drama Series

“Days of Our Lives,” Marnie Saitta

“General Hospital,” Mark Teschner

“The Young and the Restless,” Judy Blye Wilson

Children’s Series

“Good Luck Charlie,” Sally Stiner, Barbie Block

“iCarly,” Krisha Bullock, Jennifer K.M. Treadwell (Associate)

“Jessie,” Sheryl Levine

“Victorious,” Krisha Bullock, Jennifer K.M. Treadwell (Associate)

“Wizards of Waverly Place,” Howard Meltzer

Television Animation

“American Dad!,” Linda Lamontagne

“Bob’s Burgers,” Julie Ashton-Barson

“Family Guy,” Linda Lamontagne

“Robot Chicken,” Linda Lamontagne

“SpongeBob SquarePants,” Sarah Noonan

New York Broadway Theatre – Comedy

“The Assembled Parties,” Nancy Piccione

“Dead Accounts,” David Caparelliotis

“The Nance,” Daniel Swee

“The Performers,” Cindy Tolan, Adam Caldwell (Associate)

“Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike,” Daniel Swee

New York Broadway Theatre – Drama

“The Big Knife,” Jim Carnahan

“Glengarry Glen Ross,” William Cantler

“Golden Boy,” Daniel Swee

“The Heiress,” Tara Rubin, Eric Woodall, Merri Sugarman, Lindsay Levine (Associate), Kaitlin Shaw (Associate)

“The Other Place,” David Caparelliotis, William Cantler

“The Trip to Bountiful,” David Caparelliotis

New York Broadway Theatre – Musical

“Annie,” Bernard Telsey, Patrick Goodwin (Associate)

“Kinky Boots,” Bernard Telsey, Justin Huff

“Matilda the Musical,” Jim Carnahan, Nora Brennan

“Motown the Musical,” Bernard Telsey, Bethany Knox

“Pippin,” Benton Whitley, Duncan Stewart

New York Theatre – Comedy or Musical

“Bad Jews,” Carrie Gardner

“Detroit,” Alaine Alldaffer

“The Explorers Club,” Nancy Piccione

“Far From Heaven,” Alaine Alldaffer

“The Madrid,” David Caparelliotis

New York Theatre – Drama

“If There Is I Haven’t Found It Yet,” Jim Carnahan

“Ivanov,” James Calleri, Erica Michelle Jensen

“Nikolai and the Others,” Daniel Swee

“Really Really,” Bernard Telsey, William Cantler

“Reasons to be Happy,” Bernard Telsey, William Cantler

Regional Theatre East

“The Blue Deep,” James Calleri, Erica Michelle Jensen

“The Glass Menagerie,” Jim Carnahan, Stephen Kopel

“The Importance of Being Earnest,” James Calleri, Paul Davis

“The Power of Duff,” Howie Cherpakov

“Sweet Bird of Youth,” David Caparelliotis (Location Casting)

Regional Theatre West

“Allegiance,” Craig Burns

“Arcadia,” Janet Foster

“Blood and Gifts,” William Cantler, Karyn Casl (Associate)

“Glengarry Glen Ross,” William Cantler, Karyn Casl (Associate)

“Pygmalion,” David Caparelliotis

Los Angeles Theatre

“Intimate Apparel,” Michael Donovan

“Joe Turner’s Come and Gone,” Joanne DeNaut, Andy Crocker (Associate)

“The Parisian Woman,” Joanne DeNaut

“The Producers,” Margery Simkin, Michael Donovan

“The Royale,” Mark B. Simon

Special Theatrical Performance West

“Carousel,” Jay Binder, Jack Bowdan

“Fiorello!,” Jay Binder, Jack Bowdan

“It’s a Bird…It’s a Plane…It’s Superman,” Jay Binder, Jack Bowdan

“On Your Toes,” Jay Binder, Jack Bowdan

Special Theatrical Performance East

“The Book of Mormon,” Carrie Gardner

“Memphis,” Rachel Hoffman

“War Horse,” Daniel Swee

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