The British Academy of Film and Television Arts (Bafta) is to introduce its first new award for 20 years.
The Casting category, which will celebrate the importance of casting in film-making, will debut at next year’s British Academy Film Awards ceremony.
Bafta’s last new category was the introduction in 1999 of the Carl Foreman Award for Outstanding Debut.
The Casting award will also debut at the British Academy Television Craft Awards next year, making it the first time Bafta has simultaneously introduced a category.
Bafta chairwoman Pippa Harris said: “Bafta’s awards exist to recognise excellence across the industry and we are delighted this year to be including the highly skilled work of casting directors for the first time.
“Casting is essential to the screen industries, and vital in terms of promoting diversity and inclusion on screen.
“We hope this award will also help to promote an understanding of casting and look forward to seeing who will be the first winner in February.”
Casting director Lucy Bevan, who has worked on Cats and Maleficent, said: “I am delighted that a Casting award will be introduced at both the Film and Television Craft Awards this year. It is a great honour for our industry to be recognised by Bafta and I look forward to seeing many deserving, talented casting professionals receive the award in the years to come.
“I would like to thank Bafta on behalf of casting directors across the world – it is terrific news for our profession.”
Bafta also confirmed that the film awards would return to the Royal Albert Hall for a fourth year on Sunday February 2, while nominations will be announced on Tuesday January 7.
The Original Music category will also be renamed Original Score, to recognise the importance of the composer and their score.
Bafta-nominated composer David Arnold, who worked on Quantum Of Solace and Independence Day, said: “Bafta is about recognising and rewarding excellence in the craft of film-making with the hope that it will inspire future generations to pursue these skills to the highest standards.
“I feel these new category changes will go a long way to ensuring the proponents of these skills are effectively identified and justifiably recognised.”
Bafta made the changes during its annual review, when it consults stakeholders across the film and TV industries.