Critical Confabulations

a theatre, film & pop culture review

Oscars Predictions 2015: Best Film Editing

Note: This is my personal ranking, listed in order from best to worst, with #1 being my favorite. Prediction for the actual winner is in orange.



Sandra Adair

Tom Cross

Barney Pilling

William Goldenberg

Joel Cox and Gary D. Roach

Shoulda been here: Birdman

Frankly, it’s weird that Kirk Baxter isn’t up here for Gone Girl when he’s worked on three other Fincher films, all of which he was nominated for, and two for which he won (The Social Network, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo). But the Academy clearly did not at all like Gone Girl since it only gave it one nomination (Rosamond Pike for Lead Actress). Haters gonna hate, hate, hate apparently.

So what does Oscar like when it comes to editing? It loves a good war film, or if that’s not available, a tightly-made action film will do – à la Saving Private Ryan, The Hurt Locker, Argo. American Sniper might not be good, but it’s definitely a war film, and Joel Cox and Gary D. Roach’s – longtime editors of Clint Eastwood’s films – quick cutting between scenes on the battlefield and those at home keep the adrenaline coursing throughout the film. It’s their smart work that makes American Sniper even remotely tolerable (and I do mean remotely), and while I’ve listed them last, there is more than a chance that they’ll spoil here. After all, the Academy is 77% male and 94% Caucasian… and what good ol’ boy doesn’t love an AMERICA FUCK YEAH film? Since they can’t give it Best Picture (they can’t, RIGHT?), they’ll likely throw it a few other awards, which may include editing.

But Boyhood will – or at least should – win this award. A longtime collaborator of director Richard Linklater, Sandra Adair had the daunting task of splicing together footage that spanned 12 years, and she did so seamlessly, cinematically duplicating the natural rhythm of growing up, both as child and parent. Adair’s work includes no visual markers of passing years, and so time glides by uninterrupted, allowing audiences to catch up to/realize each moment in their own time. It’s really beautiful work and should earn Adair her first Oscar (if Oscar hates women a little less than we think it does). It also should be noted that the winner of this award is usually tied to the winner for Best Picture, and Boyhood is the frontrunner there.

As for the rest: Barney Pilling pulled together footage from green screens, animatronic puppets, live action, etc. for The Grand Budapest Hotel, maintaining the quirky tone and keeping that huge cast of characters and story lines straight. Five-time nominee and one-time winner (Argo) William Goldenberg is buoyed by everyone’s (inexplicable) love for The Imitation Game as well as his ability to blend three time periods into a single coherent (and boring) story. For Whiplash, Tom Cross had to select the right clips to match the music tracks and that often meant creating jump cuts in order to make the pictures line up, and he did so imperceptibly. Another year, this would’ve been his award.




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