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What if there had been a Best Casting Oscar this past decade?

Since we shared the news that Casting Director David Rubin had become the new president of the Academy, we've been thinking a lot about a potential Best Casting Oscar. The common 'they shouldn't do this' feeling in the comments and on twitter was based on the fact that the Academy would likely get it all wrong and only pick a random sampling of Best Picture nominees with starry casts. But that's never a reason not to have a category when there should be one. Lord knows they get a lot of things wrong and many of the branches are susceptible to strangely ignoring anything outside of the Best Picture race even if the film isn't strong in their particular field.

Here at TFE, in our Film Bitch Awards, we've had a Best Casting category since 2013 which makes it pretty much our newest category. Why did we wait so long? Who knows. But after the jump we thought we'd share our nominees each year and what we think Oscar would have nominated in those same time frames. Play along in the comments, won'cha?

Film Bitch Nominees What Would Oscar Have Chosen?
Bling Ring (Daniels & Sheinin)  12 Years a Slave (Maisler, Harris & Lewis)
Frances Ha (Aibel)  American Hustle (Graham & Vernieu)
The Past (Doncker, Pharaoan, Tillier)  August Osage County (Barden & Schnee)
Short Term 12 (Delia)  Nebraska (Jackson)
Wolf of Wall Street (Lewis)  Wolf of Wall Street (Lewis)

      ...if there had been a casting award don't you think American Hustle wouldn't have left the Oscar's emptyhanded?


Film Bitch Nominees What Would Oscar Have Chosen?
Birdman (Maisler)  Birdman (Maisler)
Love is Strange (Canfield & Telsey)  Boyhood (Sepko)
A Most Violent Year (Kaufman) Foxcatcher (McCarthy)
Pride (Weir)  The Grand Budapest Hotel (Aibel, Boulat, Bar, Jay, Montag) 
Snowpiercer (Rue & Ray) The Imitation Game (Gold)

    ....or would Selma have surprised due to its large cast despite such a frustratingly weak Oscar showing? 


Film Bitch Nominees What Would Oscar Have Chosen?
Brooklyn (Weir)  The Big Short (Driscoll & Maisler)
Diary of a Teenage Girl (Henninger)  Bridge of Spies (Lewis)
I'll See You In My Dreams (Schweber)  Room (Chopin, Cook, & Weir)
Sicario (Maisler)  Spotlight (Barden & Schnee)
Straight Outta Compton (Thomas & Tolan)  Straight Outta Compton (Thomas & Tolan) 

     ...or would Trumbo's celebrity impersonation parade have knocked out a stronger film?


Film Bitch Nominees What Would Oscar Have Chosen?
20th Century Women (Bennett & Rosenthal)  Fences (Thomas)
Hidden Figures (Thomas)  Hidden Figures (Thomas)
Little Men (Kaufman)  Lion (McGregor)
The Lobster (Jay) Manchester by the Sea (Aibel)
Moonlight (Ramirez) Moonlight (Ramirez)

     ...or would the La La Land fever have made that happen despite only two real roles?


Film Bitch Nominees What Would Oscar Have Chosen?
The Big Sick (Keller)  Get Out (Taylor)
The Florida Project (Cuba) ★   Lady Bird  (Griffiths, Jones, Thaler)
Get Out (Taylor)  Mudbound (Hopkins & Ingram)
Lady Bird (Griffiths, Jones, Thaler)  The Post (Lewis)
Lady Macbeth (Baig)  Three Billboards (Finn)  ★

      .... or would Dunkirk or Darkest Hour somehow managed to knock one of these films out? 


Film Bitch Nominees What Would Oscar Have Chosen?
BlacKkKlansman (Coleman)  BlacKkKlansman (Coleman)
Black Panther (Finn)  Black Panther (Finn)
Can You Ever Forgive Me? (Euston)  Bohemian Rhapsody (Figgis)
Eighth Grade (Jones & Tucker)  Crazy Rich Asians (Taylor)
Support the Girls (Allen & Cobb)  The Favourite (Chassay)

.... or would VICE have taken one of these out?


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Reader Comments (37)

I think they would have voted for Hidden Figures in '16. It has the two ingredients that will dominate this category: big names + diversity.

August 8, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterPeggy Sue

The thought of American Hustle winning an Oscar for casting is scary. Jennifer Lawrence's horrific miscasting tanked every scene she was in.

August 8, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterJay

I think the Academy would have vote for Birdman in 2014, The Big Short in 2015, Hidden Figures in 2016, and The Favourite in 2018. American Hustle and Three Billboards also seem like the most likely winners to me. Spotlight and Moonlight would make their years mighty close, though.

August 8, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterCash

Sorry for the ignorance but i don't understand the Best Casting category.

An example: the horrendous movie Nine has a great "cast" but the ensemble just doesn´t work (although surely it would have received an Oscar nomination).

What is the criterion to consider that a movie has a good casting? The fact that the "right" actor was chosen for the "right" role?

I hope someone can clarify my doubt

August 8, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterCésar Gaytán

No additional Oscar categories. When you purposefully deny Glenn Close fuck your organization.

August 8, 2019 | Unregistered Commenter/3rtful

I feel like they’d almost invariably award biopics.

August 8, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterRoger

At least this would get more women with little gold men in their hands (Nina Gold, Ellen Lewis, Juliet Taylor, Mary Vernieu, Fiona Weir... would be the Streeps of this category)

August 8, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterJohn John

Everyone: Big star ensemble movies actually probably...aren't...a triumph of the casting director, is the thing, and those are who would likely be voting on this category for the nominations. Casting director triumphs would be "I fit this very new or completely unknown performer into the right role. I might have helped MAKE a star!" Essentially: Choices that don't feel obviously director or producer mandated. People they had to recommend TO the director or producer, not get recommended BY the director or producer. My call would be: 2013: Short Term 12, 12 Years a Slave and three other movies. 2014: Boyhood, Pride and three other movies. 2015: Straight Outta Compton, Room, Diary of a Teenage Girl and two other movies. 2016: Moonlight, Manchester by the Sea, Captain America: Civil War and two other movies. 2017: The Florida Project, Get Out, Lady Macbeth, Mudbound and one other movie. 2018: Black Panther (mostly for Duke and Wright, though), Eighth Grade, Crazy Rich Asians and two other movies.

August 8, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterVolvagia

Volvagia -- well, that's how *I* have been voting on the category here but history suggests that those in specific branches don't think closely about their own profession but just think about "which movie did like the most"... almost every category looks to Best Pictures first and then looks around for other scraps.

August 8, 2019 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

Peggy Sue -- the more i think about it the more i think you're right about 2016.

August 8, 2019 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

From 2001 to 2018, my winners:

Gosford Park, The Hours, LOTR, Eternal Sunshine, Munich, Volver, Zodiac, The Class, Inglorious Basterds, The Social Network, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy and A Separation (tie), Lincoln, Inside Llewyn Davis, The Grand Budapest Hotel, Mad Max: Fury Road, Moonlight, Dunkirk, The Favorite

The Academy Choices:

Gosford Park, Chicago, Mystic River, The Aviator, Good Night and Good Lucky, The Departed, Benjamin Button / TDK, Inglorious Basterds, The Social Network, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, American Hustle, 12 Years a Slave, Birdman, Spotlight, Moonlight, Dunkirk, Vice

August 8, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterLendam

2013: Maybe Blue Jasmine ahead of Nebraska? I agree that Hustle would have won.

2014: I think Grand Budapest Hotel wins hands down. I think the fifth spot would've been barn burner between Theory of Everything, Selma and Foxcatcher

2015: Trumbo over Room, I'm afraid. I even think The Martian could sneak through here.

2016: I don't think La La Land makes it at all, but stranger things have happened. But bang on, re: nominees.

2017: Again, agree with your thoughts.

2018: I think Vice takes out Bohemian Rhapsody.

August 8, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterArkaan

10: The Social Network (barely over The Fighter)
11: The Artist
12: The Perks of Being a Wallflower
13: Short Term 12
14: Birdman
15: Brooklyn
16: Moonlight
17: The Florida Project
18: Can You Ever Forgive Me?

*2013 was an amazing year for casting. Short Term 12, Wolf of Wall Street and 12 Years a Slave all incredibly deserving

August 8, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterEric

Assuming the nominations are voted on just by the casting branch, I assume the nominees would be somewhat nuanced choices.

That being said, I absolutely think La La Land would’ve pulled off a nom. Yes, there’s only two focused characters, but there are SO many small roles in that film, which is its own casting dilemma

August 8, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterAndy

Casting is never more important than when your film is a biopic. Check out and look for Bohemian Rhapsody. You'll see photos of all the people represented in the film and the actor/actress who portrayed them. Bohemian Rhapsody should have been the odds-on favorite.

August 8, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterMarcos

I can see why Hidden Figures would be a winner.
I guess my one big observation is that it's too bad this category didn't exist when Robert Altman was alive and directing. Gosford Park, Short Cuts, Nashville, etc. His films would have owned this category.

August 8, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterLadyEdith

I think Oscar would have gone the following...

Gosford Park
The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King
Brokeback Mountain
Little Miss Sunshine
No Country for Old Men
Slumdog Millionaire
Inglourious Basterds
The Social Network
The Help
American Hustle
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Black Panther

August 8, 2019 | Unregistered Commenterzee

2013 - Aw. I loved PRIDE as much as I HATED August: Osage County,

Whenever I thinking of Best Casting, I immediately think of large ensemble films that work really well. All of Robert Altman’s, of course, Harry Potter films, John Huston’s. Also, certain genres lend themselves to large ensembles, that if well cast, make them stellar movies like westerns (Hell or High Water, Deadwood, Slow West); capers (The Italian Job, Ocean’s 11, 12, Spy); war (Band of Brothers, Ran, original Red Dawn, Dunkirk.) Less successful are recent large ensemble musicals, and while I’ve enjoyed most, Hairspray is the only one I can think of since 2000 that truly deserves a Best Casting award.

August 8, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterPam

Someone can explain to me the difference between recognize the work of an ensemble and the work of the casting director?

I feel that a very thin line separates them and I don't understand the difference at all.

I'll apreciate an answer

August 9, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterCésar Gaytán

Not that it would have even been nominated, but "Margaret" should have won in 2011.

August 9, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterDaniella Isaacs

2018 - Widows!!

August 9, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterParanoid Android

Good choices throughout. I agree with the following argument: a potential Casting nomination should focus on the smaller parts, but even though that this is not what will likely end up happening, this category should still exist.

The only choice that left me perplexed is Boyhood. For what, Coltrane? It's one thing if he grew into an amazing actor in the film, but I think we can agree that that wasn't really the case. I think Birdman (especially for the erroneous reasoning of the Keaton gimmick) and Grand Budapest (big cast well used -- perhaps also an erroneous reasoning) are much easier choices as winners, especially considering the academy like those two movies a lot more.

I like the Moonlight choice to be honest. The gimmick of the three Chirons and thee Kevins plus Ali/Rhodes resemblance plus the fact that it pushed Ali and Monae to the forefront (among others) should make it tough to ignore. The fact that it was the best picture winner should definitely help.

August 9, 2019 | Unregistered Commenterkin

César: I have similar doubts.

How on earth do we judge casting? Sure, I can think of examples of great casting choices, but I just don't see how we can tell what counts as great casting in general. If they were to introduce a casting category, I'll be very intrigued to see how they define it in the rules. Because for now, judging casting is about as clear to me as judging Best Executive Producer.

August 9, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterEdward L.

I'll go back in time to 97

Boogie Nights
LA Confidential
As good as it Gets
Jackie Brown.

August 9, 2019 | Unregistered Commentermarkgordonuk

Best Casting would be an interesting choice. So much better than that silly 'Most Popular Film' award to be voted on by the public they were going to introduce this year. You just know the far right trump supporters would have voted for a far right documentary or a film starring a trump supporting actor

August 9, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterBette Streep

I'm not convinced that the category wouldn't immediately devolve into either an additional best picture designation or an opportunity just to reward ensembles with big names. Sure, we'd like to think that the casting directors would have more discerning tastes, but how often does the acting branch nominate duds -- not to mention the frequency with which the entire body certifies those duds winners?

August 9, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterTroy H.

I just don't get this one. I'd rather see stunt work be honoured.

August 9, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterGlenn Dunks

I think they *might* have gone for Birdman in 2014 and that Ladybird *might* have been the one they tossed a bone to if this category has existed, because they might have seen it as there chance to give something to a movie everyone loved. Otherwise this is a pretty spot on compilation.

August 9, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterPeter

If Casting were a category, I think it would almost always copy the Best Ensemble SAG award.

August 9, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterSawyer

I think you're right about the Academy's picks, except for 2014. I think they'd have gone Birdman, and yes, this does lead to me wondering how often Best Casting would be awarded to whatever wins Best Picture (I'm inclined to think - pretty often).

Btw, thanks for the reminder that the casting of both The Bling Ring and Snowpiercer was spectacular.

August 9, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterScottC

It would really be cool if they created a Best Casting award for those unsung Casting Directors-but knowing how ABC operates, they would demand that this ‘boring’ category be quickly regulated to a commercial break (unless Avengers: End Game or Aladdin were nominated...)

August 9, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterTOM

@Lady Edith

❤️❤️❤️ M.A.S.H., Nashville, The Player, Short Cuts, Gosford Park

Other six who could make the casting category their own:

Sidney Lumet: 12 angry men, Dog Day Afternoon, Network, The Verdict

Mike Nichols: The Graduate, Who's afraid of Virginia Woolf?, Working Girl, Silkwood, Closer

Elia Kazan: A street car named desire, On the waterfront, east of Eden,

Martin Scorsese: Raging Bull, The Last Temptation of Christ, Goodfellas, Age of Inocence, Casino, Gangs of Nee York, The Aviator, The Departed, The Wolf of Wall Street

Woody Allen: Interiors, Hannah and her sisters, Crimes and Meademinors, Manhattan, Match Point, Midnight in Paris,

Pedro Almodóvar: Women on the verge of a breakdown, Law of Desire, Live Flush, All about my mother, Bad Education, Volver

August 9, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterGeor

@Geor, I love your lists, and agree with you about all the directors you name. Some ensembles have every actor perfectly cast (ie:Gosford Park) and some like the most recent Murder on the Orient Express just miss the mark.

Another director/casting director match up we should praise is Joe Wright/Jina Jay.
Jina Jay cast Pride & Prejudice, Atonement, Hanna,etc.

August 9, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterLadyEdith

"Room" wouldn't have made it in. It was basically a two-hander between Brie and Tremblay. "Brooklyn" or "Trumbo" could have edged that one out, I think. "La La Land" would have so made it in despite being the Emma and Ryan show (well, John Legend was in it too...who else?) and broke the nominations record in the process. ***shudders*** All for a casting Oscar regardless. Long overdue!!!

August 9, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterReynolds

@Lady Edith

Yes and YES with Joe Wright!! I was thinking in him when I made the lists above but I didn't write because I felt with myself: is only me who think that that man has monumental casting in his movies?

Pride and Prejudice (another least competitivo year and Matthew and Sutherland would be nominated)
Atonement (James McCay Oscar nomination? Keira too?)
Hanna (Eric Bana ❤️ Blanchett ❤️ Ronan ❤️)
Anna Karenine (Donmhall ❤️ Alicia ❤️ Jude ❤️)
Darkest Hour (Gary ❤️ Ben ❤️ Kristen ❤️)

Thinking with myself that Anthony Minghella could appear in this list too for The English Patient + The Talent Mr Ripley 🔥 + Cold Mountain) 🤔

August 9, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterGeor

@Geor, we share the same taste in films, which is lucky for us. Thanks!

August 10, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterLadyEdith

Shouldn't it really be a case that Best Casting awards are given to films populated mostly by brilliant lesser known actors rather than exclusively big name casts a director/producer could have come up with on their own?

August 10, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterEoghan McQ

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