By Steve Neumann

The Film Editing Oscar is the one award most closely related to the Best Picture award. However, with this years ten Best Picture nominees, the Film Editing award seems to be forgetting some. Almost two-thirds of the Best Picture winners have also won Best Picture. This years nominees are coming from some vastly diverse pictures and the majority are sitting with their first nomination. This could really make the Oscars an interesting evening.

Julian Clarke is basically an unknown and is sitting with his first nomination for District 9. Clarke did a stunning job in the science fiction pic. The action sequences and the suspenseful quiet moments are perfect for keeping you on the edge of your seat. The editing job really brings you into District 9 as if you were one of the characters. Julian Clarke has set himself up to possibly make a surprise steal in this category.

Another first time nominee, Joe Klotz, nominated for Precious: Based on the novel “Push” by Sapphire, is the one that, in my personal opinion, doesn’t belong. I had issues with the film editing in this picture. There were sequences that seemed to not be as fluid as well as some minor mistakes in continuity. There were sequences in and out of Precious’ imagination that were done beautifully as well as the sequences that really brought out the emotion. While I liked the film and its performances I just don’t feel the editing is even close to the other nominees in the category.

The third nominee is a Tarantino regular, Sally Menke for Inglorious Basterds. The editing in the film was superb. Menke has set herself with her second nominee and could be have an even larger chance of pulling the upset than Clarke does. The weaving of the various story lines is where this film really excelled. It was cut at just the right time to keep us on the edge of our seats and attached to each specific story line. The sequence in the tavern scene was beautiful. Seeing the perspective from the various characters at just the right time added such suspense to that scene. Let’s not forget the film that was shown in the theater as the audience was being locked inside. Gripping edits in this film and a serious contender.

Now we are left with the two films that are probably the favorites for Best Picture and if recent history continues then these two should also be the favorites for Film Editing. First, let’s take a look at Bob Murawski and Chris Innis’ work on The Hurt Locker. This is a film that truly takes you into the trenches and the editing is deserving of that credit. You are put in situations as you watch the film that bring you into the action and doing that is always in objective in a war film and I feel these gentleman have succeeded. The editing seems as if it had the audience and its emotions in mind when it made the decisions it did. If they win this award, they could steal Best Picture as well.

Lastly, the overwhelming favorite, Stephen Rivkin, John Refoua, both with their first nominations, and James Cameron with his second for the epic Avatar. This had to be a terribly daunting film to edit. Considering so much of the film was done with special effects and technology that was groundbreaking, it makes since that they actually had their editing machine on set during the entire process. With that, it allowed them to use various takes from scenes. For example, they could take one actors second take and the other actors sixth take. This would give them the advantage of truly taking everyones best moment. This film also had another character that people seem to forget about and that was the planet and its nature. The editing process gave the trees, the animals, the flowers, etc., a life and character that made the film so compelling. Now I know, people love or hate this film, but it is going to be a difficult task to upset these men in this category. This film was all about the editing, and without the perfectionist attitude of James Cameron, this film may have never been what it became.

So get out your scorecards and select the editors from Avatar as the victors in this category. If you really want to take a chance and possibly stir up the Oscar betting pools, go with Sally Menke and Inglorious Basterds.

Road to the Oscars series:

Podcasts – Kit Bowen, Nate Freiberg, Adam Spunberg, and Phil Wallace

February 4: Live Action Short – Kit Bowen

February 5: Animated Short – Kit Bowen

February 8: Documentary Short Subject – Christa Youngpeter

February 9: Documentary Feature – Nate Freiberg

February 10: Foreign Language Film – Paul Popiel

February 12: Animated Film – Nate Freiberg

February 15: Sound Mixing – Jeremy Martin

February 16: Sound Editing – Jeremy Martin

February 17: Original Song – Adam Spunberg and Savanna New

February 18: Visual Effects – Mallory Pickard

February 19: Original Score – Adam Spunberg

February 22: Makeup – Christa Youngpeter

February 23: Costume – Steve Neumann

February 24: Art Direction – Christa Youngpeter

February 25: Film Editing – Steve Neumann

February 26: Cinematography – Paul Popiel

February 27: Original Screenplay – Jeremy Martin

February 28: Adapted Screenplay – Jeremy Martin

March 1: Supporting Actress – Marla Seidell

March 2: Supporting Actor – Phil Wallace

March 3: Actress – Marla Seidell

March 4: Actor – Kit Bowen

March 5: Director – Adam Spunberg

March 5: Picture – Kit Bowen

March 7: The 82nd Annual Academy Awards!