William Goldenberg pulled off a rare feat when Oscar nominations were announced. He received two bids for Best Editing, for “Argo” and “Zero Dark Thirty,” making him the first editor to receive dual nominations since 1990, when Walter Murch was in contention for both “Ghost” and “The Godfather, Part III.”
The honor is also meaningful to Goldenberg for another reason: for years he was mentored by Michael Kahn, a veteran in the field who accomplished the same feat 25 years ago for his work on “Empire of the Sun” and “Fatal Attraction.” What’s more, Kahn, a regular Steven Spielberg collaborator, is also nominated this year for cutting “Lincoln,” pitting teacher against student.
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But Goldenberg has nothing but affection for his Oscar adversary. He says, “[Michael Kahn] and I saw each other at the Critics’ Choice Awards … even though we don’t see each other that often we’re still really connected, and he was so happy for me and proud of me and that just made me feel really great.”
Goldenberg is also proud to have worked with directors Ben Affleck and Kathryn Bigelow. “I know it sounds cheesy, because of course I just worked for them,” he says, “but it’s the truth: they’re both incredible talents in the editing room … It’s a partnership editing a movie, and I think they’re both great partners.”
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“Argo” is Goldenberg’s second film with Affleck, having previously edited his 2007 directorial debut, “Gone Baby Gone.” “He knew his way around the editing room and knew his way around the set in a way that was way more sophisticated than the usual first-time director,” Goldenberg remembers of their earlier collaboration. “But you could see on ‘Argo’ his confidence as a director just blossomed.”
Affleck and Bigelow were both surprisingly overlooked for Best Director at the Oscars, though Goldenberg’s pair of nominations gives both “Argo” and “Zero Dark Thirty” hope of a Best Picture triumph. No film since “Driving Miss Daisy” in 1989 has won the top prize without a directing bid, but it has been even longer – “Ordinary People” in 1980 – since a film has won without an editing nomination.