Casual Oscar watchers are often surprised to find out that one of the best bellwethers of Best Picture success comes in the form of a Best Editing nomination. The two share a link that is hard to ignore.
Editing first became an Oscar category in 1934, and since then, only 10 films have won Best Picture without an editing nomination. The most recent film was “Birdman,” presumably due to its famous long takes. Before that, no film had won Best Picture without an editing nod since 1980’s “Ordinary People.”
The 10 films that won top honors without an editing nod are the following:
- “It Happened One Night”
- “The Life of Emile Zola”
- “Tom Jones”
- “A Man for All Seasons”
- “The Godfather, Part II”
- “Annie Hall”
- “Ordinary People”
- “Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)”
Best Picture nominees “Fences,” “Hidden Figures,” “Lion” and “Manchester by the Sea” might be in trouble, however, since they are not. However, no film has ever won Best Picture without both an editing nod AND a Best Director nomination, which means of this year’s Best Picture nominees, “Fences,” “Hidden Figures” and “Lion’s” chances are hurt the most.
Actually winning Best Editing is not as important, however. In the last 20 years, Best Editing and Best Picture winners have only aligned nine times. History shows that it’s not impossible to win Best Picture without the editing nod, but it’s also highly unlikely. Chances are, the five nominees for Best Editing are the most likely to be this year’s Best Picture winner.