In trying to get a handle on the Film Editing category, I usually go with the usual suspects (Best Picture candidates) as well as those with seeming flashy editing. As was proof in 2011, you don’t always need to be included in Oscar’s Best Picture lineup to get in with the editors, and quite frankly, if you are flashy enough you can bag a win (‘The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo’ was so lucky). Without having seen many of the films up for Oscar consideration, this becomes even more questionable, but some films have the potential to land here.
I’m wondering if ‘Fruitvale Station’ can ride the wave of buzz and assumed Oscar love with a nomination here. It is a very tightly crafted film that guts out all the unnecessary and gives us a very streamlined and purposeful film. I wonder if it is too slight though (they often go for the more bloated films with energetic cuts than the films that use the editing to keep the focus tight). I also wonder if ‘Her’ will incorporate both aspects (Jonze films are usually expertly cut) in order to capture Oscar love here. ‘The Counselor’ could be the edgy pic here as well.
My real questionmark though is ‘Gravity’. It seems like the type of film that would do well here, and yet it also has been noted to have some VERY long tracking shots and so that could eliminate it from contention here (honestly, what is being edited?).
So, with that in mind; this is what I got:
1. American Hustle
This looks like it will be the perfect combination of flashy and streamlined. O. Russell’s films are usually tightly focused anyways, and they have a tendency of being rather explosive in moments. Sure, it was just a trailer, but if it was any indication then this is going to be a rather fun, flirty piece, and that bodes well here.
The nature of the beast would suggest that this is going to be a high octane ride, and the test footage and trailer suggest that they are incorporating enough ‘prestige’ elements to make this relevant to the Oscar voter. Even if this misses Best Picture, I could see it snagging a win here if the competition is slight.
3. The Wolf of Wall Street
Scorsese is a good bet here. His films are usually full of style, and they have snagged nominations here in the past. If this is a top five contender, if could be the one to beat considering that it will carry with it the prestige factor that some of the other ‘actiony’ films could lack.
4. Captain Phillips
Paul Greengass films are notorious for flashy editing. This is not always a good thing (in my book), but Oscar has responded before. Honestly, I felt that the editing of the Bourne films was some of the worst aspects and yet it won the Oscar, so you never know.
5. The Secret Life of Walter Mitty
This is a wild card pick for me, but it looks like the type of film that could use flashy edits as a plot progressive point, and that always pays off here. Visual aspects, coupled with quick cuts usually clears a path to Oscar recognition. Besides, if this does wind up in Oscar’s Best Picture ballot, it’ll need more than a Makeup or Visual Effects nomination.