Fri. Oct 30th, 2020

2021 Oscar Predictions: FILM EDITING (September)

When you look at even just the recent history of the Film Editing Oscar you’ll generally find two things; winners come from Best Picture nominees or action films with so much editing you could rename the category ‘Most Editing’ (see: Bohemian Rhapsody). The latter has become a bit of a popular choice as of late with Ford v Ferrari winning this last season. Only once in that decade did a film win without a BP nom, 2011’s The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. Only one Best Picture winner in 2010-2019 also took home editing (2012’s Argo) but look at how many were the perceived ‘runner-up’ to Best Picture that did: 2010’s The Social Network, 2013’s Gravity, 2015’s Mad Max: Fury Road.

Film Editing this year is also another category chock full of previous winners stacking the deck that it might make it hard for first-timers to break in. Among them, Argo editor William Goldenberg (with News of the World), The Social Network and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo‘s Kirk Baxter (with Mank), Whiplash editor Tom Cross (sharing duties with previous nominee Elliot Graham on No Time to Die) and the list goes on. I’m also not counting out Oscar nominee and multi-ACE nominee (and winner for American Hustle) Alan Baumgarten, who cut Aaron Sorkin’s The Trial of the Chicago 7, which tells its story in flashbacks and flashforwards to keep the action from being a stagnate courtroom drama, and two-time Oscar nominee Joe Walker who’s working with Denis Villeneuve once again, this time on Dune. Don’t forget Tariq Anwar, who edited two Best Picture winners (1999’s American Beauty and 2010’s The King’s Speech) and earned nominations for each, but lost to showier work. This year he has Regina King’s One Night in Miami…

This branch has shown kindness in the past to directors who edit their own films, especially if you’re the Coen Brothers using their ‘Roderick Jaynes’ pseudonym or Alfonso Cuarón, who won for Gravity (and also took Best Director that year). Just a few years later, however, Cuarón was snubbed for Roma despite winning Best Director once again. This year, Chloé Zhao holds the mantle of director/editor (and screenwriter) with Nomadland, the Venice Golden Lion and TIFF People’s Choice winner. That puts her in immediate contention and although Nomadland would not be a traditional winner here in any way, shape or form, her film is a Best Picture frontrunner and a nomination for her would be historical. Plus, getting in here can signal a ‘surprise’ BP winner (or secure a prediction of one) like it did when Spotlight and Green Book made it in despite the latter missing director.

Here are my ranked 2021 Oscar predictions in Film Editing for September. [UPDATED to reflect the just announced move of West Side Story to December 2021]

1. Nomadland (Searchlight Pictures)
Chloé Zhao

2. Mank (Netflix)
Kirk Baxter

3. The Trial of the Chicago 7 (Netflix)
Alan Baumgarten

4. News of the World (Universal Pictures)
William Goldenberg

5. Dune (Warner Bros) [moved to October 2021]
Joe Walker


Other Contenders (alphabetical)

Da 5 Bloods (Netflix)
Adam Gough

The Father (Sony Pictures Classics)
Yorgos Lamprinos

Hillbilly Elegy (Netflix)
James Wilcox

Judas and the Black Messiah (Warner Bros)
Kristan Sprague

Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (Netflix)
Andrew Mondshein

No Time to Die (MGM/UA)
Tom Cross, Elliot Graham

One Night in Miami… (Amazon Studios)
Tariq Anwar

Palm Springs (Hulu/Neon)
Andrew Dickler and Matt Friedman

Respect (MGM/UA)
Avril Beukes

Sound of Metal (Amazon Studios)
Mikkel E.G. Nielsen

Tenet (Warner Bros)
Jennifer Lame

The United States vs. Billie Holiday (Paramount Pictures)
Jay Rabinowitz

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