Best Editing Predictions

Current Predictions (10-05-11):
Michael Kahn, War Horse
Angus Wall + Kirk Baxter, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo
Claire Simpson, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close
Matthew Newman, Drive
Anne Sophie-Bion, The Artist

Best Editing Notes (10-05-11): Best Film Editing’s distinct correlation to Best Picture has always fascinated me. In the 83 years of the Oscars, only 12 times has the winner of Best Editing not been nominated for Best Picture. Only 9 times has the winner of Best Picture not been nominated for Best Editing. Something tells me the connection probably has more to do with laziness, if not pure ignorance to the editing craft, than any real specific corroboration. However, the editing of picture, along with the writer and the direction, is one of the most fundamentally important roles contributing to the creative success of a film. Things get fun in Oscar world when the stories being pushed for Best Picture are ones where the editing might be seen a less impressive aspect of the whole. In recent years, when editing wins go to films that don’t win Best picture, it’s because the editing was a stand in one film and too subdued to draw attention in the other. For instance, the editing in No Country for Old Men, while beautiful, wasn’t nearly as obvious as it was in winner Bourne Ultimatum.

This year has a distinct chance of being one of those years where the editing winner is nowhere to be found in the Best Picture race. The only Best Picture films that I see the Academy jumping at for editing are The Artist, War Horse, and Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close. Any one of those three might not even have enough chops to be in the Oscar race at all. Additionally, those films will have so much going on in the way of production value that it’s editing might take a backseat to other below-the-line categories. That brings up the films where editing will shine. Drive is built entirely on its high-octane use of cinematic form to build tension. The cuts in that film are worn on its sleeve. If the Academy is showing any love for Drive, it will likely get a nod for editing. Likewise, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo will  have that Fincher precision and deliberate pacing with gripping surges of action that the Academy drools over. Last year’s winner, Angus Wall and Kirk Baxter, for The Social Network, have a strong chance of showing back up again.

This category could easily include Tree of Life, another film that wear its closeness to cinematic creation on its sleeve. Outside of its “Big Bang” sequence, the breathtaking nature of the film is built on the nuts and bolts of images and cuts. The dark horse with a very good chance of getting in is Hugo. You can never count out the breath of Scorsese and Schoonmaker’s work. If this film carries out the dazzle of the novel, I imagine the Academy will respond.

This will be one of the most exciting categories to watch.

Good Bets:
Michael Kahn, War Horse
Claire Simpson, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close

Strong Possibilities:
Angus Wall + Kirk Baxter, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
Anne Sophie-Bion, The Artist
Matthew Newman, Drive
Christopher Tellefsen, Moneyball
Hank Corwin, Jay Rabinowitz, Daniel Rezende, Billy Weber, + Mark Yoshikawa, Tree of Life
Dino Jonsater, Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy
Kevin Tent, The Descendants
Joel Cox + Gary Roach, J. Edgar
Thelma Schoonmaker, Hugo
Stephen Morrione, Contagion
Maryann Brandon + Mary Jo Markey, Super 8

Bad Bets:
Conrad Buff IV + Mark Goldblatt, Rise of the Planet of the Apes
Dana Glauberman, Young Adult
Stephen Mirrione, Ides of March
Hughes Winborne, The Help
Paul Hirsch, Mission Impossible
Ronald Sanders, A Dangerous Method
Sean Albertson, Matt Chesse, John Gilroy + Aaron Marshall, Warrior

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