Tom Cross Q&A: ‘La La Land’ editor
“I was blown away,” admits film editor Tom Cross during our recent webcam chat (watch above) when asked about his Oscar bid for “La La Land.” Not only was Cross cited for his work, but Damien Chazelle‘s original movie musical about a pianist (Ryan Gosling) and an actress (Emma Stone) falling in love in LA tied the record for the most Academy Award nominations of all time with 14, including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, and Best Actress. “It was a dreamy way to start the morning,” he recalls.
Cross won his first Oscar for cutting Chazelle’s debut feature “Whiplash” (2014). “They were very different in a way,” he divulges. Whereas their previous effort was, “a much tighter, more coiled movie,” and, “more about tension,” with “La La Land,” “he wanted a lot of different styles.”
Chazelle and cinematographer Linus Sandgren shot most of the dance sequences in long, unbroken takes, which, “characterize some of the most romantic moments in the film.” Cross explains, “In order for these long, choreographed, unbroken takes to really have power, the scenes on either side of those moments were going to have to be cut differently. We were going to have to have a different strategy for that, and the strategy was going to have to match the emotion of each scene.”
Cross recently won the ACE award for Best Comedy/Musical Editing. Is his second Oscar next?