Why is “editing” considered so important in the Oscar race?

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  • RobertPius
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    #136016

    I don’t get why that award is such an indicator of best picture. Can anyone explain?

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    Scottferguson
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    #136018

    It has the highest correlation of BP winners with being nominated in the category historically.

    Also, editors are regarded as second only to directors in have a sense of the overall quality of the elements in the film since, like the director, they are part of a process that incorporates all elements of film, so their “taste” is considered a seal of approval of a sort. 

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    nkb325
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    #136019

    I was actually just thinking about this today and didn’t get it until I had this thought. I think if a movie feels rushed or choppy, we blame it on the editing, and if a movie feels slow and like it draks, we blame the editing. i didn’t really think about it until today but editing is a big contributor in the pace and entertainment value in the movie, and I think that’s kind of the biggest reason.

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    Renaton
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    #136020

    Because editing is vital for a film to work (more than writing and performances).

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    Scottferguson
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    #136021

    Editing awards are even more bogus than acting ones. No one knows what material the editor has to work with – if a direct edits in his head when making a movie (something greats like Ford or Hitchcock did, with little extra footage), it is a fairly easy job. When a director shoots lots of footage expecting the film to be created in the editing room. Movies have been salvaged in the editing room after seeming like disasters.

    It really is an unjudgeable category. It ends up usually going to either the BP winner (if it has any sort of energy and style) or the film with the biggest action or chase scenes. 

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    Renaton
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    #136022

    Honestly, saying you can’t judge editing because you don’t know how many hours of material the editor had or how much of it comes from the director is like saying you can’t judge cinematography because you don’t know how much film was used or how much a shot is based on the director. The quantity is a very minor aspect. Editors still have to follow directorial guidelines and have a strong concept, but the director’s planned shots alone don’t make pace and precision on execution. 

    And also, quite frankly, the process of how they get to the end result is not what’s important, what’s important is the editing work in itself, and no editor can fake good editing. Also, no matter how great Ford and Hitchcock were, they were still dependent on editors. And regardless of all that, the level of quality in the execution of editing techniques can be judged, yes. 

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    Words Count
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    #136023

    Editing awards are even more bogus than acting ones. No one knows what material the editor has to work with – if a direct edits in his head when making a movie (something greats like Ford or Hitchcock did, with little extra footage), it is a fairly easy job. When a director shoots lots of footage expecting the film to be created in the editing room. Movies have been salvaged in the editing room after seeming like disasters.

    It really is an unjudgeable category. It ends up usually going to either the BP winner (if it has any sort of energy and style) or the film with the biggest action or chase scenes. 

    What? There’s two ways to critique editing. One is the quality of the final cut. Purely did you enjoy the film. Second is does the editing serve its purpose. Whether that purpose is to be seen or invisible. Invisible editing usually doesn’t get its due because it doesn’t make the technique known for the viewer. Plenty of overtly edited films receive the high praise when being evaluated by the casual viewer.

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    Scottferguson
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    #136024

    I agree that the viewable result of the editing work can be judged. But again, what was there to work with is always an unknown.

    And it is another award which often is more the result of a director’s decisions than the editors. 

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    Renaton
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    #136025

    In theory, yes, it not only can be assumed it’s the director’s decisions, but it SHOULD be. A film is still first and foremost a directorial vision, and editors, like every other part of the crew, have the conceptual guidelines of directing to follow. Of course there are cases of where the director didn’t influence the editing, but those should not be assumed to be the case (and even if you did, it doesn’t invalidate or improve anything automatically).

    And what’s there to work with is unknown for every category. You don’t know how film a DP had and what his budget could afford in equipment. You don’t know all the stuff art directors had planned, but aren’t included in the scene because of last minute changes. You don’t know how many takes an actor got wrong. You don’t which shots were the idea of the DP rather than the director. But then again, I don’t think awards are about the process, and they shouldn’t be.

    Again, how much or how little influence a director has on the editing doesn’t change the quality of the end result, and how much material he had doesn’t change the actual editing end result.  

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    Words Count
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    #136026

    I agree that the viewable result of the editing work can be judged. But again, what was there to work with is always an unknown.

    And it is another award which often is more the result of a director’s decisions than the editors. 

    Unless a director is an editor also — stop assigning sole credit to the director for a film’s editing. There’s a You Tube conversation with Frances McDormand where she shares in no uncertain terms that the editor is king. That there would be no film without him or her.

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    endaugust
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    #136027

    I agree with SF, the editing award is purely speculative.

    One of the biggest jobs of an editor is to fix problems.  Problems could arise from poor coverage, excess of footage, a lack of focus in the story/script.  The most amazing editor can salvage a very problematic production and could go unsung during awards season.

    Take BP Annie Hall for instance.  Allen shot a lot more than what ended up in the film, had many narratives.  First cut was like nearly 3 hours or something.  His editor (who was a teacher of mine) had to work closely with Allen and pared down the material and found a cohesive story/film that ended up winning Best Film.  Did he get nominated at the Oscars?  No.

    I think I said it somewhere that best editing awards tend to go to the film that looks “cutty”, lots of fast editing and actions.  It’s like a lot of other categories, whichever score sounds the most “score-y”, actors who most “over the top acting”, cinematography “most gorgeous and ornate”, etc.

    Awards “best of” are pretty bogus in general.

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    Renaton
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    #136028

    And I insist this idea that you can’t judge the quality of editing of something is bull. 

    I don’t get this fixation people have with the process not being taken into account for editing. Like I said, the process isn’t taken into account into any other category. Why would the editing one be any different?

    Editing is not just cutting stuff and solving problems of unfinished product. Editing is rhythm, editing is narrative structure, editing is  conceptual.

    I also don’t see how alternate cuts mean anything. Just because a film could’ve had longer cuts doesn’t mean the editing gets better or worse in the final cut. It just means there were other versions, which is quite common. Doesn’t change the actual merits that it might or might not have regardless of how material had to be cut out or changed.

    I agree that, like everything on awards season, showier editing takes advantage. But the idea you can’t determine quality editing without knowing the process or how much material there was is not really true.

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    endaugust
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    #136029

    The point isn’t that you don’t know.  But that you can’t *fully* know the skill of the good editor is.  Same with director as well.  Rhythm is only part of the editing process.  The storytelling is even bigger.  The director relies heavily on the editor to get his story focused.  And then that award ends up going to the writer.

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    K-Hole
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    #136030

    In the past 20 years, the Oscars for Best Editing and Best Picture have gone to the same movie 12 out of 20 times.

    Perhaps more interestingly, the Oscar for BE has gone to a film other than the BP winner in two of the last three years.

    40% of the time, the Oscar for Best Editing seems to go to an “edgier” movie than the Best Picture winner:

    • Saving Private Ryan
    • The Matrix
    • Traffic
    • Black Hawk Down
    • The Aviator
    • The Bourne Ultimatum
    • The Social Network
    • Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
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    Words Count
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    #136031

    The point isn’t that you don’t know.  But that you can’t *fully* know the skill of the good editor is.  Same with director as well.  Rhythm is only part of the editing process.  The storytelling is even bigger.  The director relies heavily on the editor to get his story focused.  And then that award ends up going to the writer.

    Film is a collaborative process. Unfortunately for film criticism everything is reduced solely to auteur theory. As if none of the greats ever allowed his crew the freedom to do their jobs to the best of their abilities. But simply dictated orders under punishment of ridicule or threat of being fired.

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