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From left, CSA President Destiny Lilly, Glynn Turman, and Rita Moreno at Casting Society’s 38th annual Artios Awards held at The Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills, California. Photo by Ryan Miller/Capture Imaging.

3 Things Actors Can Take Away from This Year’s Artios Awards

We’re not here to re-hash it, but there’s been some recent controversy around self tape auditioning, including some backlash against the casting community at large. And before we completely say goodbye to the buzz of awards season, we wanted to take another look at this year’s Artios Awards. Casting Networks attended the ceremony in Los Angeles, and the winners’ acceptance speeches were chock full of insights into the world of casting. We’re here to share three big takeaways from the podium addresses, which may help add another perspective to the current discussion around self tapes/casting.

1. Casting is rooting for actors’ success.

During a night all about celebrating the unsung heroes of filmmaking — please reference our response to how there’s still, unimaginably, not a casting category at the Oscars — there were many appreciative mentions of actors amongst the acceptance speeches. “We love actors,” Wendy O’Brien simply stated while accepting the award for TV Pilot and First Season – Comedy for her work on Abbott Elementary. Danielle Aufiero spoke on behalf of the casting team behind The Baby-Sitters Club — which also included Amber Horn, Tiffany Mak (location casting) and Leigh Ann Smith (associate) — when accepting the award for Children’s Pilot and Series (Live Action). Aufiero recalled getting to tell The Baby-Sitters Club actors that they’d booked the show while they were still in the audition room, an experience she called “one of the most delightful moments of my entire career.”

While accepting the award in Los Angeles for Limited Series on behalf of the rest of the Dopesick casting team — Avy Kaufman, Scotty Anderson (associate) and Dustin Presley (associate) — Erica Arvold (location casting) further supported the idea that casting is rooting for actors. In her speech, Arvold thanked her family for “always putting up with my vocal viewing [of self tape auditions] — cheering, clapping and talking to the self tapes as if they were auditions in person, live.” And after Sarah Halley Finn and Djinous Rowling (Associate) won the Zeitgeist Award for their work on Everything Everywhere All at Once, the former reinforced that the success of casting is tied to the success of actors. “Of course, I wouldn’t be standing here at all if it weren’t for the fearless, brilliant performances of literally the entire cast,” Finn asserted. “You all amaze me.”

During a tribute to Simone Bär, who posthumously received the European Capelier-Shaw Award, a dedication from All Quiet on the Western Front actor/executive producer Daniel Brühl was read. It recalled how Bär had championed his work in the early days of his acting career, and Brühl shared that she had convinced the director of Good Bye Lenin! to consider him for an Eastern German role, even though he was from the Western side of the country. Later on, when he came to Bär’s office for Inglourious Basterds, “shaking to meet Tarantino,” Brühl remembered how she’d taken the time to calm him down. “She said, ‘Easy boy,’” he disclosed in the tribute. “‘Have a cup of tea — it’s going to be fine.’” And Brühl went on to win the role of Fredrick Zoller in the film. “My life would’ve been very different without Simone,” the actor/filmmaker stated in his dedication to Bär. “I owe her so much.” This is just one example of the many instances recalled throughout the night in which casting directors went out of their way to help actors. From Octavia Spencer to Hong Chau, the Artios Awards included numerous actors who presented awards to the winning casting teams while expressing gratitude for times in their careers when casting directors had encouraged or supported them in an impactful way.

2. Casting directors hustle, too.

This one may come as a surprise for actors, who are used to late nights prepping for quick-turnaround auditions or long hours working on set. But, before you jump to any conclusions about casting residing on the far opposite end of the job spectrum — on some hypothetical side where zero hustle is required — be sure to keep in mind that casting directors are most always moving from project to project, too. Like actors, they frequently have to think about securing their next gig, and they also are no strangers to late nights. During her acceptance speech for the Hoyt Bowers Award, Leslee Feldman recollected working on a job with UK-based casting director Lucy Bevan. “There were those calls we had at 10 p.m. London time while you were viewing tapes while in bed, six months pregnant with three tiny children surrounding you,” Feldman noted. And she highlighted another late night with a casting peer in her speech. “I’m looking at Deb Aquila out there somewhere, thinking of her fast asleep on a conference table at 10:30 p.m. waiting for Jeffrey [Katzenberg] to be ready for us,” Feldman recounted. “But like childbirth, when all is cast, you immediately forget the pain and remember only the miracles.”

Julie Ashton won the award for Animated Series thanks to her work on Big Mouth, and she shared during her acceptance speech an insight into how the pandemic has also made casting directors’ jobs harder. She thanked talent agents and managers for answering her “midnight emails” due to Covid-related situations, such as when an actor needed to be replaced before 7 a.m. the next morning. “These have been really trying times,” she acknowledged. And during Jessica Sherman’s acceptance speech for the Rosalie Joseph Humanitarian Award, she expressed a dynamic casting directors experience that relates to actors. “To all the wonderful studio and network executives in this room, I ask you please take a look around this room at all of the incredible casting directors you don’t already know,” she requested. “Give them the same chance that we give lesser-known actors when casting our own projects. As a community, we know how magical it is and how powerful it can be to witness a discovery or a breakthrough. So please extend that opportunity [to casting directors]. Otherwise, you just might miss the next Marion Dougherty, Lynn Stalmaster or Hoyt Bowers.”

3. It’s empowering in both your personal and professional life to embrace your authentic self.

This final takeaway is just sage advice in general and comes from the recipient of this year’s Lynn Stalmaster Award for Career Achievement, Rita Moreno. The 91-year-old EGOT winner had some words of wisdom to share coming off what some are calling a “renaissance” in her career. “I have a premonition that the reason all these amazing things are happening to me has something to do with a role that I finally surrendered to play after turning it down for so many years,” Moreno noted. “What’s that role? Being myself — I highly recommend it. It is truly empowering.” Casting director April Webster endorsed the sentiment while presenting another award. “Ms. Moreno’s speech moved me so much,” she acknowledged. “It’s something that sometimes we forget, just owning who we are. And for actors, that’s where you get your success — when you know what your own gifts are.”

From casting directors rooting for actors’ success to the importance of knowing who you are, this has been a window into the 38th annual Artios Awards. We hope insights from some of the acceptance speeches can help add perspective to any current conversations around casting, and for those looking for a full list of all the winners from this year, you can find a full list here.

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