While most of the categories awarded by the Academy can find a siding with either the arts or the technical departments, with a slight overlap here and there accounted for, none perhaps is as directly linked to both as the Editing of the film. In essence therefore, it is a technical feat in the sense that it literally is the process of stitching the film together from the stock footage shot, and an art in the sense since given the digital medium today, there are literally no bounds to how creative you can get with the process, even enabling some editors to develop a signature of sorts. It is also one of only fields to have undergone an almost head to toe transformation with the advent of a digital age. What was once limited to fade-outs and fade-ins, cuts to black, and photographic montages more or less has indeed expanded in the digital age to practically no creative bounds.
The best recent example that I can think of to put my point across would be my favourite film from 2014, ‘Whiplash’, edited by Tom Cross who went on to win the Academy Award that year for film editing as well, or even 2016’s ‘Dunkirk’, edited by Lee Smith, also awarded the same honours in its respective year. Anyway, the importance of editing to the overall process of film making has already been expressed by half the Hollywood fraternity when the Academy chose to have the achievement in film editing award to be presented during a commercial break. In that, before beginning with my predictions for best achievement in editing for 2020, I close with what Cuaron had to say this year with respect to the academy’s decision, as I have already done in an earlier article predicting the nominees for best cinematography. “In the history of CINEMA, masterpieces have existed without sound, without colour, without a story, without actors and without music. No one single film has ever existed without CINEMAtography and without editing.” True indeed.
6. Valerio Bonelli, ‘The Woman in the Window’
Bonelli came to the limelight for his work on ‘Darkest Hour’ but fell short of an Academy nomination in that arena. Teaming up with Joe Wright again for his next that is a psychological thriller, ‘The Woman in the Window’, following the success of their previous outing, we predict the pairing to be fruitful again. Bonelli’s editing credits include the recent ‘The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind’, a film that I happened to love, ‘Philomena’, a superior episode of ‘Black Mirror’ and assisting roles in Oscar winners ‘The Martian’ and ‘The Gladiator’.
5. Kelley Dixon, ‘The Goldfinch’
Kelley Dixon’s sizeable credentials include full time editorial roles in legendary TV series ‘Breaking Bad’ and ‘Better Call Saul’, and as an assistant in the editorial departments of such films as ‘Good Will Hunting’ and ‘Reservoir Dogs’. Seeing as though ‘The Goldfinch’ is rather being modelled as an Oscar contender in possibly all departments, this one shouldn’t be as much of a long shot.
4. Tim Squyres, ‘Gemini Man’
Ang Lee’s frequent collaborator, and a nominee at the Academy Awards for two of Lee’s films that excelled at the Oscars too: ‘Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon’ and the excellent ‘Life of Pi’. While we have predicted ‘Gemini Man’ to be a serious contender to be among the year’s very best films, being a sci-fi thriller, its chances may be a bit dubious, unless it is something otherworldly, also perfectly plausible given Lee’s repertoire. However, the safest bet on such films are the technical departments, and with a two time nominee at the fore, ‘Gemini Man’ should be up for contention.
3. Steven Soderbergh, ‘The Laundromat’
One of the many directors who choose to edit their own films, Steven Soderbergh will also serve as editor for his upcoming film on the Panama papers leak, ‘The Laundromat’. Although his awarded credentials mostly involve his directorial abilities, the awards work in an overall sense. That is to say, very rarely does a film get nominated for the best editing award if it’s not in the run for best film. Therefore, if the film turns out as good as we have predicted, 80% of the odds actually dictate the film and Soderbergh will make it to the nominations for editing as well. What’s more is that multistarrers with a lot of converging storylines, implying greater work in the editing department tend to land up ahead in the Oscars race, and that is another criterion the film satisfies.