William Goldenberg favored to win Best Editing Oscar for 'Argo'

By Zach Laws
By Zach Laws
Feb 21 2013 18:37 pm
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Feb 22 2015 13:45 pm
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Of all the tech categories at the Oscars, Best Editing is the one most closely tied to Best Picture. In the 77 years that the award has been handed out, 33 have gone to Best Picture winners, most recently "The Hurt Locker" (Chris Innis, Bob Murawski) in 2009.

It seems fitting, then, that Best Picture front-runner "Argo" would be in the lead to take this prize. The film won the ACE Eddie Award in the Drama category, while fellow nominee "Silver Linings Playbook" took the Musical/Comedy prize. Both films face strong competition in the likes of fellow Best Picture nominees "Life of Pi," "Lincoln," and "Zero Dark Thirty." Here’s a look at the chances of each nominee:

William Goldenberg, "Argo"
2012 has been a good year for William Goldenberg: the former two-time nominee ("The Insider," 1999; "Seabiscuit," 2003) picked up his third and fourth bids this year for his work on "Argo" and "Zero Dark Thirty." With an ACE Eddie Award under his belt for “Argo,” it appears the Best Picture front-runner will carry Goldenberg to his first victory. The film is a showcase for the kind of tension-building cutting voters love, especially in its final sequence.

With odds of 7/5, the award is Goldenberg’s to lose. 22 out of 24 experts, all nine of our editors, and 77% of users predict he will win.

William Goldenberg and Dylan Tichenor, "Zero Dark Thirty"
At the beginning of the season, our experts were predicting "Zero Dark Thirty’s" team of William Goldenberg and Dylan Tichenor (a previous nominee for "There Will Be Blood" in 2007) to win, and for good reason: the film earned kudos from the BFCA and the LA, Boston, and Chicago film critics for its nimble navigation of a complex narrative.

But controversy over the films depiction of torture – along with "Argo’s" ascent to frontrunner status – have stalled its chances, dropping it to second place with odds of 10/3, based on support from two experts and 16% of users. Goldberg will likely take home an Oscar Sunday night, but for his other nomination.

Michael Kahn, "Lincoln"
The only previous winner in this lineup, Michael Kahn belongs to an elite group of just four editors (along with Thelma Schoonmaker, Daniel Mandell, and Ralph Dawson) who have won three Oscars. In fact, with eight total nominations, Kahn is the most nominated editor in history.

Kahn won for "Raiders of the Lost Ark" (1981), "Schindler’s List" (1993), and "Saving Private Ryan" (1998), and was nominated for "Close Encounters of the Third Kind" (1977), "Empire of the Sun" (1987), "Fatal Attraction" (1987), and "Munich" (2005). Had "Lincoln" been the formidable Best Picture frontrunner it was once thought to be, Kahn might be looking at win his fourth. But on its own, this very stately, restrained film doesn't employ the kind of flashy cutting voters usually respond to.

He currently holds third place with odds of 5/1, with 3% of users predicting he will win, so this year the nomination may be his reward.

RELATED'Argo,' 'Zero' editor William Goldenberg on competing against his mentor for Oscar

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Tim Squyres, "Life of Pi"
Tim Squyres received his first nomination in this category for "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" (2000), and is back again with another Ang Lee collaboration, "Life of Pi." The film is a marvel of technical integration, merging special effects, 3D, and practical footage into a cohesive whole.

But some have criticized the film for the framing device used to tell its story, which could hurt its chances of winning. If the film sweeps through the tech categories as some are predicting, then voters may check this category off as well. But with odds of 6/1, that doesn’t seem likely. Only 2% of users predict he will win.

Jay Cassidy and Crispin Struthers, "Silver Linings Playbook"
Comedy is all about timing, so it's surprising that the editors branch rarely recognizes it. "Silver Linings Playbook" is that rare romantic comedy to break through, earning a nomination for Jay Cassidy (previously nominated for "Into the Wild" in 2007) and Crispin Struthers.

The film triumphed at the ACE Eddie Awards in the Comedy/Musical category, which should have made it "Argo’s" closest competition. Yet our predictors rank it last, with odds of 10/1 and support from less than 2% of users. Perhaps genre bias is just too strong for the film to overcome here. But if "The Apartment" (1960) could win this award, maybe "Silver Linings Playbook" can too.

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