It’s time to dig into the tech categories as we barrel into the heart of the Oscar race this season. Film Editing has become a funny category as of late. Way back in the day the films that made the top 5 here were very often the same, or very close, to the Best Picture top 5 (back when it was a top 5). There was a little more symbiosis between the two categories than there is now. Now, science fiction and critically praised thriller action films do very well here, sometimes even win (The Matrix, The Bourne Ultimatum, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo). For 35 years, no film had won Best Picture without a corresponding Film Editing nomination until Birdman pulled it off this year (1980’s Ordinary People had been the last, a stat we can finally lay to rest).
So what are we looking at this year? Judging from the Gold Rush Gang’s top 5 there’s a mix of just about everything. Action thriller, classic drama, contemporary drama, fantasy action and whatever Joy ends up being. Of the top 5, only three have been released and seen yet our top two are two of the major question marks of the season; The Revenant and Joy. With The Revenant, its #1 status comes off the snub Iñárritu and his team got for Birdman and for Joy there is “concern” (read: shade) that the film employing four editors, including this year’s Oscar winner for Whiplash (Tom Cross), is one too many cooks in the cinema kitchen. For the record, David O. Russell didn’t have any problem getting his three editors Oscar nominations for American Hustle or his two for Silver Linings Playbook. But before you worry that a film couldn’t possibly get in with four editors, 1992’s The Fugitive managed it (and BP) with SIX. This year, Iñárritu has Oscar-winner Stephen Mirrione (Traffic) in tow. That history is what gives us the strength for these predictions even if predicting films not seen has been quite taboo by many Oscar bloggers this season.
Elsewhere, Michael Kahn’s editing for Bridge of Spies is on the belief that the film will be a top 5 contender in Best Picture and Best Director. If it is, Kahn is in. The three-time Oscar winner has never missed a nomination when Spielberg and his film were nominated. Spotlight is a major contender on the strength of the film’s Best Picture prospects and aligning with Film Editing for contemporary dramas when a film is a top 5 contender with Boyhood, Dallas Buyers Club and Moneyball being recent examples. The prediction for Mad Max: Fury Road is not a solid one but the kind of genre pick that does well here. Since it’s expected that the film will do well in other tech areas it’s still a decent bet here. But, if you look at the full list of predictions and vote totals you’ll see that a bunch of other films are very much in the mix, including The Martian and even Steve Jobs, if that film’s Oscar chances haven’t completely tanked.
BEST FILM EDITING
1. The Revenant
4. Bridge of Spies
5. Mad Max: Fury Road