Now this is what I call an Oscar race. We’re a few days away from the ceremony, and there is pretty much no way of making a confident prediction of who is going to win this category. Except for the hugely surprising nomination for Dallas Buyers Club (seriously, they liked the movie that much?), I could see any of the nominees walking away with the Oscar on Sunday.
I was ready for a Gravity sweep, and thought that would include a win in this category, but not only has it not won an Editing award so far (the Guild went to Captain Phillips, the BAFTA to the not-nominated Rush), I have also come to realize that while the Academy loves to reward visual-effects movies for their Cinematography, they rarely do so in Editing as well. Consider this, when Avatar won Cinematography and Visual Effects, Editing went to The Hurt Locker. Similarly, the year of Hugo won five technical awards, Editing went to The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo of all things. I think Gravity will win more Oscars than any other movie on Sunday night, but Film Editing won’t be one of them.
That leaves us with three contenders. 12 Years a Slave has the advantage of being a front-runner for Best Picture, and I would argue that editor Joe Walker makes an impeccable job of knowing when exactly to cut in order to build a movie around a series of excruciating long takes. Oscar prefers faster paced movies, with more action. An alternative would be American Hustle, which is definitely lively in its pacing, but has also been hugely criticized for being hugely meandering and unfocused, not that the Academy hasn’t awarded dubiously edited movies before *ahem* Chicago *ahem*. That leaves us with Captain Phillips, which uses its Editing to become the most intense and nerve-racking thriller of the year, and features just the kind of work that tends to do well with the Academy.
Will Win: Christopher Rouse (Captain Phillips)
My Vote: Joe Walker (12 Years a Slave)