Friday, February 19, 2010

One Category at a Time: Best Film Editing

That most important of categories. It has come to pass that no film has won Best Picture without a nomination in this category since Ordinary People upset Raging Bull in 1981. Following that logic, your Best Picture winner must be one of the following five films:

Avatar, like all of James Cameron's films, is an exceptional editing achievement. What's more impressive is his unique editing process, by which sequences were put together in an on-set editing suite on the day they were shot. While this film would ultimately be my second choice, a win for Avatar would be far from undeserved, but it may not necessarily indicate a Best Picture win. Sometimes they give this to respected action blockbusters with no intention of naming it the year's best film.

District 9 employs a clever cinema verite editing style that is at times a bit confusing, but certainly involving. However, Julian Clarke is unlikely to win due to the film's lack of a Director nomination.

The safest bet is The Hurt Locker, which is utterly engrossing and suspenseful thanks to the brilliant cutting job by Bob Murawski and Chris Innis. Being a strong contender for Picture and Director, not to mention its recent ACE victory, gives The Hurt Locker and automatic edge here, but it's possible that it could triumph here and still lose Best Picture.

If you want an early indication of an Inglourious Basterds upset in Best Picture, look for it to win here. If Sally Menke takes the gold for her strong editing of Tarantino's poorly structured script, then The Basterds are going all the way.

The same can be said of Precious. If Joe Klotz pulls off a surprise win here for his flashy but powerful work, then Precious is your Best Picture winner, but this is much less likely than an Inglourious Basterds upset.

Will/should win: The Hurt Locker

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