There are 15 separate branches within the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, but the board of governors for the Oscar organization has decided to separate one more.
Costume Designers will no longer be a part of the overall Designers Branch, which includes art directors, set decorators and production designers, and will instead stand alone as their own entity.
In addition to stronger representation within the Academy, this now means only costume designers will select nominees for that Oscar category, and only those who work on sets will vote for the production design contenders. As part of the same branch, they previously were able to weigh in on the other profession’s fields. (Final voting for winners remained open to the Academy at large.)
it’s the first change in the structure of the Academy since the Makeup Artists and Hairstylists Branch was formed in 2006.
The board of governors made the decision last night, appointing Jeffrey Kurland (nominated for costume design for 1994’s Bullets Over Broadway) as the governor overseeing this division, with two more joining him eventually.
“History was made at the Board of Governors meeting on Wednesday night with the formation of a Costume Designers Branch,” Kurland said in a statement. “Costume designers have waited a long time for recognition with branch status. As a governor representing these designers, I’m thrilled and grateful for the Academy’s support.”
At the same meeting, the Makeup Artists and Hairstylists branch expanded from one to three governors. Two new governors will be elected later this year.
The changes will take effect in July, with the new Costume Designers Branch governors and the two new Makeup Artists and Hairstylists Branch governors expanding the size of the Academy’s board to 48, with three heads representing each of the 16 divisions.