2018 Oscar Circuit: Best Film Editing

film editing


Baby Driver
Jonathan Amos and Paul Machliss

Lee Smith

I, Tonya
Tatiana S. Riegel

The Shape of Water
Sidney Wolinski

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Jon Gregory

Most years, the Best Film Editing race is one of the ones you pay close attention to when trying to predict Best Picture. Often, the Oscar winner here ends up the winner there. However, this year is potentially an exclusion to that. We’ll have some history and statistics for you below, but with only three Best Picture nominees here, this Academy Award category could end up going to a film that only has below the line citations. That being said, should it go to a movie up for the top honor, that could boost its chances. Then again, arguably the frontrunner is a nominated flick with very little chance at Best Picture. All told, it makes for one of the closest races in any category this year.

First off, we can start with a bit of history for all of you. The last dozen winners in this category have been “Hacksaw Ridge,“ “Mad Max: Fury Road,“ “Whiplash,“ “Gravity,“ “Argo,“ “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo,“ “The Social Network,“ “The Hurt Locker,“ “Slumdog Millionaire,“ and “The Bourne Ultimatum.“ As you can see, recently Best Film Editing has gone to a Best Picture nominee, but not the winner. It used to correlate a bit more, as five of the last 15 Best Picture winners have taken the prize, though only three in the last 12 As you can see though, only twice in the last dozen has it gone to something not nominated in Picture. Taking into account precursors, 20 of the past 26 years has seen the ACE winner take the Oscar, while eight of the last ten have been the case with BAFTA. Depending on which statistic you prefer, it could push you in a few different directions with Best Film Editing.

BabyDriver2Leading off is “Baby Driver” here, and it represents a potential upset win for the popular film. The team of Jonathan Amos and Paul Machliss are both first time nominees for editing Edgar Wright‘s action outing. This nominee separates itself from the pack by having arguably the flashiest and most editing of the group. Despite losing with ACE Eddie (to a fellow nominee here), BAFTA gave this the win over stiffer competition, suggesting a strong bit of support. Whether that’s enough to get the win remains to be seen, but it’s the primary alternative to the frontrunner. In fact, a surprising amount of pundits are picking “Baby Driver” to walk away with this one…

dunkirkNext we have “Dunkirk,” the slight favorite in the category. Well known editor and Christopher Nolan collaborator Lee Smith sees his third nomination here, which may just turn into his first win. Interestingly, Smith is the only nominee here to have been previously nominated. “Dunkirk” took the ACE in Drama and a solid selection of the precursors, which put it in the pole position much of the season. Losing with BAFTA is the one thing that keeps it from being a slam dunk winner. How much stock you put in that is a direct correlation to how likely you think it is to win. Between the familiarity with Smith, the World War II subject matter (“Hacksaw Ridge” did just in last year), and the ACE love, it seems like enough to put the one over the top.

1516626296482Up now is “I, Tonya” in Best Film Editing. This spunky movie did surprisingly well during the precursors and was a pleasant surprise to see in the Oscar lineup. Editor Tatiana S. Riegel is a first timer and helped make Craig Gillespie‘s unusual biopic as special as it is. That being said, critics don’t vote and while the guild love helped get Riegel here, she won’t be winning. Sadly, “I, Tonya” is firmly in fourth or fifth place here, despite the ACE Comedy win. Being nominated in Best Film Editing is a win in and of itself for the indie.

08bagger shapeofwater master768The Shape of Water” is our fourth movie nominated for Best Film Editing. If there’s a hint as to a big run for a certain flick, it would be here with Guillermo del Toro‘s film taking the category. Another first time Oscar nominee edited the work in Sidney Wolinsky, continuing a trend. It’s hard to predict this one for the win unless you’re dogmatic in believing this is your Best Picture winner. A tidbit below will help fuel that, but it really feels like this is firmly your third place finisher in Best Film Editing.

three billboards outside ebbing missouri 004 3b 05858 rgb 4a3dff271cebfb51Finally, we have “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.” Despite being a Best Picture nominee, it’s an also ran in the Best Film Editing race. Some of the stats that apply to “The Shape of Water” apply here as well, but not to the same degree. Martin McDonagh helped score Jon Gregory his first citation, but it won’t translate into a win. “Dunkirk” has a much stronger case to make among the Picture nominees, while “Baby Driver” has lapped this one. The nomination helped show it to be a force in the top category, but that’s about it, editing wise.

It really seems like Best Film Editing is between “Baby Driver” and “Dunkirk,” though a win for “The Shape of Water” would help it push past the pack in Best Picture. If either of the Best Picture nominees just mentioned win this prize as well as Best Director, it’ll be the 36th film to do so. That obviously favors del Toro over Nolan. Furthermore, in his favor is that only sixth of the 35 to do that have not won Picture. So, if you have “The Shape of Water” winning Picture and Director, it pays to have it win here too. If you don’t you either want to bank on BAFTA with “Baby Driver” or go with ACE and back “Dunkirk.” It’s a close call, but Smith and “Dunkirk” should sneak by with Best Film Editing on Sunday.


Snubbed: “Blade Runner 2049,“ “Get Out,“ and “Lady Bird


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Written by Joey Magidson

When he’s not obsessing over new Oscar predictions on a weekly basis, Joey is seeing between 300 and 350 movies a year. He views the best in order to properly analyze the awards race/season each year, but he also watches the worst for reasons he mostly sums up as "so you all don't have to". In his spare time, you can usually find him complaining about the Jets or the Mets. Still, he lives and dies by film. Joey's a voting member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association.


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