For 30 years the ‘No film has ever won the Best Picture Oscar without an Editing nomination since Ordinary People!’ bell was rung every. single. year. It’s the straw that broke Brokeback Mountain back in 2006 even before Crash crashed the party. But then Birdman came along and shattered that so for the next however many years we’ll be chanting ‘No film has ever won the Best Picture Oscar without an Editing nomination since Birdman!’
But truthfully, yes, a film editing Oscar nomination is a very good bell wether to a Best Picture win. Even when an action or sci-fi film ends up taking it, having that nomination is important and it starts here, with the ACE Eddies – The Association of Cinema Editors.
The ACE Eddies divide their nominations between Dramatic and Comedy, giving us 10 nominations (or, in the case of last year, 11, since there was a tie). Musicals of any kind can fall into either category depending on the dramatic or comedic level of their content (and intent). That generally means that of those 10 nominees we’re going to have our five Film Editing Oscar nominees so look closely at what makes it, and where. Sometimes we get thrown for a loop, like two years ago when ACE didn’t nominate Dallas Buyers Club and then the Oscar did (a surprise nom no one really saw coming).
I didn’t scramble together some nifty ACE vs Oscar charts like I did for SAG so I’ll send you on over to Sasha Stone’s Awardsdaily where she did a great job (and did a good writeup) of where the two meet and where they separate.
As I see it, I think the nominees will look like this:
A category overflowing with action and lighter on drama, for sure. Bridge of Spies, whose editor Michael Kahn has been nominated here a whopping 10 times and won twice for film should be an easy get but his film hasn’t performed as well as it should be to be a lock. But then, there is often rampant cronyism with these smaller guilds and they vote for the same people over and over. Carol could easily show up here (Affonso Gonçalves recently won an ACE for television’s True Detective). But then there’s also Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Beasts of No Nation (whose SAG noms could be a sign for more guild support), Steve Jobs (whose editor is a previous Oscar winner) or even Room, if that film’s growing support bleeds over into multiple guilds as well.
In a lot of ways, it’s kind of a bleak category. It’s very likely that we’ll see Ant-Man here just like how Guardians of the Galaxy got in last year; more comedy than drama. I’m choosing to go with Pitch Perfect 2 for the editing of its musical numbers and the huge success of the film. But, he’s a newcomer with zero awards history so that could bite me in the ass and my prediction of Ant-Man will come true.
The ACE Eddies are announced tomorrow, January 4th, 2016.