The Casting Society celebrates its 40-year anniversary this year just as the entertainment industry is marking the diversity and authenticity in the many roles in film and TV from “CODA” and “West Side Story” to “Bridgerton.”
In honor of this landmark, the society’s leaders hoped to organize an in-person ceremony for the Artios Awards, their annual event honoring work by casting directors across film, television and theater. But when the Omicron surge showed the pandemic isn’t close to being over, CSA leadership realized it needed to pivot to a remote ceremony.
“Our hope and desire was that we would be able to do this spectacular in-person celebration,” says Kim Williams, the vice president of casting at Disney Television Studios and the president of CSA. “But we decided for the health and safety of everybody it would be better to pivot to a virtual celebration, and we’ll celebrate the culmination of our 40th, fingers crossed, if the pandemic agrees with us next year.”
The 37th annual Artios Awards will be held as a virtual ceremony on March 23. The ceremony was initially scheduled to take place on March 17, and according to Williams, the change was made to give time to organize a larger event, as the initial date was intended for a smaller, member-only celebration.
The presenting partner for the Artios Awards is Casting Workbook, a company that helps provide casting software to productions. The founder and CEO Susan Fox was unable to reveal many details about the ceremony, including hosts or presenters. However, the red carpet will be hosted by “Entertainment Tonight” correspondent Natasha Garguilo and Casting Workbook web series “The Working Actor” host Rodrigo Recio, and will start at 2 p.m. PT. The ceremony itself begins at 5 and will be livestreamed globally.
“It’s going to be aired entirely on YouTube,” Fox says. “That will allow everybody to enjoy the whole pre show or live stream the main show event on any device from anywhere in the world.”
This year, six of the 10 Oscar best picture nominees are up for Artios Awards: “Don’t Look Up” in the big-budget comedy category; “The Power of the Dog,” “King Richard” and “West Side Story” in big-budget drama; and “Belfast” and “CODA” in studio or independent drama. The TV categories feature several popular shows such as “Bridgerton,” “The Queen’s Gambit,” “Hacks” and “The Boys,” and includes a notable non-English language production in the French comedy hit “Call My Agent!”
The individual casting director with the most nominations is Kim Taylor-Coleman, who has five noms for her work on “Zola,” “Lovecraft Country,” “P-Valley,” “Family Reunion” and “Tyler Perry’s Young Dylan.” Closely following her is Sarah Halley Finn, with four nominations.
This year’s Artios Awards also include a new category, virtual theater, which replaces the usual theater categories and theater companies’ online productions from the 2020-21 season, when the pandemic made live in-person theater impossible.
Projects nominated include Chance Theater’s production of Lynn Nottage’s “Sweat,” La Femme Theatre’s “The Night of the Iguana” benefit concert and McCarter Theater Center’s free digital theater experience, “The Manic Monologues.” According to Williams, the choice to replace traditional theater categories was made to recognize the avenues theater casting directors took to continue working during the difficult circumstances of the pandemic.
The Artios Awards is one of several events planned for the CSA’s 40th year. The organization will appear at several film festivals, host celebrations to honor notable members of its body and relaunch its podcast, which features episodes about its history and tributes to notable moments in television, film, theater and commercials. This year-long celebration will culminate early next year with the 38th Artios Awards. Williams teases that it will hopefully be the large, live show celebration they intended this year’s ceremony to be.
“We’re really looking forward to everybody joining and celebrating with us,” Williams says. “We’re just really excited about this.”