Action films and Best Picture. Those have historically been the keys to the Film Editing Oscar, and in many ways, often the other way around. It’s a very rare occasion that the winner for film editing is not nominated for Best Picture, but the three times its happened since 2000 it went to high-octane action films that showed up in other (usually) top categories. 2001’s Black Hawk Down also won Sound and was nominated for Best Director (Ridley Scott). 2007’s The Bourne Ultimatum won all three of its nominations; Film Editing, Sound Editing and Sound Mixing. 2011’s The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo was also nominated for Best Actress (Rooney Mara), Cinematography, Sound Editing and Sound Mixing. With PGA and DGA nominations, the film got the closest to Best Picture of any of these three films and editors Angus Wall and Kirk Baxter had just won the Oscar the year prior for The Social Network, also from David Fincher.
Does that mean I’m talking myself into and finally warming to the idea of the billion dollar grossing mega-hit Top Gun: Maverick being a Best Picture nominee? Maybe. It will surely replicate the nominations the original 1986 film got (save that extra sound nod, which it would were there still two sound categories) and it could even mirror with another Original Song win. It might end up similarly to 2019’s Ford v Ferrari (editing, sound wins, best picture nom). Or it could be like The Bourne Ultimatum; a box office and critics’ hit sequel sticks to the techs and wins there.
Since we’re in the conversation of stats and history in this category and its relation to the big one, check this; for 33 consecutive years, from 1981 to 2013, every Best Picture winner had also been nominated for the Film Editing Oscar, and about two thirds of those Best Picture winners have also won for Film Editing. But, interestingly enough, we haven’t had a Best Picture winner also take Film Editing since 2012’s Argo. Last season saw CODA win Best Picture without a film editing nomination, the first time that’s happened since 2014’s Birdman. What was often a very hand-in-hand pair of categories has become very detached in expanded lineup/preferential ballot era.
Here are my 2023 Oscar predictions in Film Editing for October.
1. Top Gun: Maverick – Eddie Hamilton (Paramount Pictures)
2. The Fabelmans – Sarah Broshar and Michael Kahn (Universal Pictures)
3. Everything Everywhere All at Once – Paul Rogers (A24)
4. Women Talking – Christopher Donaldson and Roslyn Kalloo (UAR/Orion Pictures)
5. All Quiet on the Western Front – Sven Budelmann (Netflix)
6. Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery – Bob Ducsay (Netflix)
7. Bardo (or False Chronicle of a Handful of Truths) – Alejandro G. Iñárritu (Netflix)
8. The Banshees of Inisherin – Mikkel E.G. Nielsen (Searchlight Pictures)
9. Triangle of Sadness – Ruben Östlund and Mikel Cee Karlsson (NEON)
10. Elvis – Jonathan Redmond and Matt Villa (Warner Bros)
Other contenders (alphabetical)
Avatar: The Way of Water – David Brenner, James Cameron, John Refoua, Stephen E. Rivkin and Ian Silverstein (20th Century Studios)
Babylon – Tom Cross (Paramount Pictures)
The Batman – William Joy and Tyler Nelson (Warner Bros)
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever – Michael. P. Shawver (Walt Disney/Marvel)
Empire of Light – Lee Smith (Searchlight Pictures)
Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio – Holly Klein and Ken Schretzmann (Netflix)
I Wanna Dance with Somebody – Daysha Broadway (Columbia Pictures)
RRR – A. Sreeker Prasad (Variance Films)
She Said – Hansjörg Weißbrich (Universal Pictures)
TÁR – Monika Will (Focus Features)
Till – Ron Patane (UAR/Orion Pictures)
The Whale – Andrew Weisblum (A24)
The Woman King – Terilyn A. Shropshire (Tri-Star)
Photo: Scott Garfield