Oscars Lowdown 2014: Best Film Editing - 'Captain Phillips' looks to sink 'Gravity'
In the lead-up to the 86th annual Academy Awards on March 2, HitFix will be bringing you the lowdown on all 24 Oscar categories with multiple entries each day. Take a few notes and bone up on the competition as we give you the edge in your office Oscar pool!
Of all craft categories, Best Film Editing is the one most closely tied to the Best Picture race: nominees from the latter category invariably dominate the former, and as pundits are so fond of reminding everyone, no film has won the top prize without a corresponding editing bid since 1980. That's no quirk or accident, given how heavily editing interacts with script and performance, and though Best Picture no-shows occasionally triumph here (like surprise victor "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo" two years ago), that won't be happening this year. Five Best Picture nominees make up the field, and I strongly suspect they'd have been the five in a non-expanded race.
The nominees are...
“American Hustle” (Jay Cassidy, Crispin Struthers and Alan Baumgarten)
Cassidy and Struthers were nominated last year for “Silver Linings Playbook” (the former boasts an additional nod for “Into the Wild”), and they seem to be a happy match for David O. Russell's jazzy, chaotic storytelling rhythm. As with the film's screenplay, this work divides viewers: some find the film's construction incoherent and overly mannered, others admire its balance of discursiveness and snappiness. A lot of craft goes into filmmaking this seemingly spontaneous, while the editors also deserve some credit for shaping the film's high-energy ensemble, giving each performance room to breathe and pop. The American Cinema Editors think so: joined this year by Baumgarten, Cassidy and Struthers won their second consecutive award in the Comedy/Musical category.
“Captain Phillips” (Christopher Rouse)
Anyone who was surprised when Rouse (a former Oscar and ACE winner for “The Bourne Ultimatum,” and a nominee for “United 93”) triumphed at the American Cinema Editors awards were concentrating too heavily on the Best Picture race, and not hard enough on the work at hand. As demonstrated by recent wins for “Argo,” “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo” and the aforementioned “Ultimatum,” thrillers and tension exercises are frequently favored by voters in this category; if not necessarily the best work in field, Paul Greengrass's nerve-wracking maritime hostage drama is the film where the editor's hand is most evident, particularly laymen. The film may not be favored to win anything else, but this could be its one reward.
“Dallas Buyers Club” (Martin Pensa and John Mac McMurphy)
The biggest surprise in the category was the nomination for the modest indie AIDS drama, which is few people's idea of a showcase for the craft – though it's edited with efficiency and intelligence, with the rodeo sequences and later scenes involving Ron Woodroof's global travels assembled with some fizz. Still, its appearance here, as in the Best Original Screenplay, says less about the discipline in question than it does about the overall level of regard for the film within the Academy; it must have placed rather comfortably in the initial Best Picture vote. The only film here not also nominated by the ACE, it's presumably running fifth, but at least Vallée (under the McMurphy pseudonym) joins the short list of directors nominated for editing their own work, including David Lean, James Cameron, the Coen brothers, Michael Hazanavicius and...
1997 | Crime | RSummary: Quentin Tarantino adaptats an Elmore Leonard novel into this story of a few increasingly desperate people scraping to get by. It has deep soul, a wicked sense of humor, and Samuel L. Jackson, Robert De Niro, Pam Grier, and Robert Forster.Director: Quentin Tarantino
Cast: Pam Grier, Samuel L. Jackson, Robert Forster
1993 | Sports | PGSummary: Emotionally powerful sports classic featuring Sean Astin as a skinny high school kid with big football dreams and the determination to make his way towards his dream team at Notre Dame.Director: David Anspaugh
Cast: Sean Astin, Jon Favreau, Ned Beatty
2013 | Drama | RSummary: Leonardo DiCaprio and Jonah Hill have boundless energy in the story of a real-life commodities crook who earned millions through scummy small-time stock trades.Director: Martin Scorsese
Cast: Leonardo DiCaprio, Jonah Hill, Margot Robbie
2013 | Thriller | RSummary: Based on the true story of Daniel Lugo (Mark Wahlberg) a Miami bodybuilder who wants to live the American dream. He would like to have the money that other people have. So he enlists the help of fellow bodybuilder Adrian Doorbal (Anthony Mackie) and ex-convict, Christian bodybuilder Paul Doyle (D...Director: Michael Bay
Cast: Mark Wahlberg, Dwayne Johnson, Anthony Mackie, Tony Shalhoub
1996 | Crime | RSummary: Jerry, a small-town Minnesota car salesman is bursting at the seams with debt... but he's got a plan. He's going to hire two thugs to kidnap his wife in a scheme to collect a hefty ransom from his wealthy father-in-law. It's going to be a snap and nobody's going to get hurt... until people start ...Director: Joel Coen, Ethan Coen
Cast: William H. Macy, Frances McDormand, Steve Buscemi, Peter Stormare
1995 | Mystery | NRSummary: Denzel Washington plays an out of work WWII vet who takes the wrong job and is soon neck-deep in a mess of politics, murder, and jazz in '40s Los Angeles.Director: Carl Franklin
Cast: Denzel Washington, Tom Sizemore, Jennifer Beals
2008 | Science Fiction | PGSummary: Animated series continues the story of Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker as they battle the Emperor Palpatine, Count Dooku and General Grievous, but also takes time to explore other smaller characters in the Star Wars universe.Director: George Lucas (creator)
Cast: Tom Kane, Dee Bradley Baker, Matt Lanter
2013 | Comedy | NRSummary: Insanely funny comedy show created by Amy Schumer, who stars in brilliantly funny sketches about sex, city living, dating, and friendship.Director: Daniel Powell, Amy Schumer (creators)
Cast: Amy Schumer, Kevin Kane, Mike Houston
2007 | Comedy | PGSummary: Newlyweds Nick (Ice Cube) and Suzanne (Long) decide to move to the suburbs to provide a better life for their two kids. But their idea of a dream home is disturbed by a contractor (McGinley) with a bizarre approach to business.Director: Steve Carr
Cast: John C. McGinley, Ice Cube, Nia Long, Aleisha Allen
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