Last Friday (Jan. 29), the American Cinema Editors bestowed its Eddie Awards on two of the Oscar nominees for Best Film Editing: “Mad Mad: Fury Road” (Drama) and “The Big Short” (Musical/Comedy). Beginning in 1999, the guild doubled its chances of predicting the eventual Oscar winner by handing out prizes in these two genres. Since then, it has previewed 11 of the 16 Oscar champs for Best Film Editing.
Let’s take a closer look at the five nominees in this Oscar category, and find out who has the best shot at winning according to our experts (journalists from leading publications who cover this beat year-round. Click here to see their individual predictions in this race and click here to see their combined odds of winning for each nominee.
“The Big Short”: Hank Corwin
This first-time Oscar nominee is best-known for his work with Terrence Malick and Oliver Stone. He certainly had his work cut out for him on “The Big Short,” juggling multiple storylines while trying to make sense of elusive Wall Street terminology. The guild rewarded Corwin for his efforts. An Oscar win would be an extra bit of hardware for a film that has only five nominations. Our experts currently have Corwin ranked in second place with odds of 9/2. However, that could change if the Best Picture race shifts back to “The Big Short.”
“Mad Max: Fury Road”: Margaret Sixel
If this award is really for “most editing,” Sixel is likely to win on her first nomination for her handling of the film’s awe-inspiring action sequences. We are predicting that “Mad Max” will sweep the technical categories, including this one. Sixel is the clear front-runner with odds of 3/10.
“The Revenant”: Stephen Mirrione
Mirrione won an Oscar in 2000 for cutting Steven Soderbergh’s “Traffic” and was nominated in 2006 alongside Douglas Crise for their work on Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu’s “Babel.” While they were snubbed by the editors branch of the academy for their work on last year’s Best Picture champ “Birdman,” they did reap a bid with the guild. They lost that Musica/Comedy race to Barney Pilling (“The Grand Budapest Hotel”). In turn, Pilling was bested at the Oscars by Tom Cross (“Whiplash”), who had lost on the drama side at the guild to another Oscar nominee, Sandra Adair (“Boyhood”). Mirrone reunites with Inarritu for this epic Western, which leads with 12 Oscar nominations. Mirrione is in third place with odds of 50/1 and really needed a win with the guild to overcome the “Mad Max” juggernaut.
“Spotlight”: Tom McArdle
McArdle was snubbed by the guild but could pull off an upset here. While this first-time nominee’s work may be too subtle for some voters, “Spotlight” is favored to win Best Picture. Sometimes the film editing Oscar goes to a film that take the top prize but little else. Recent examples of this pairing are “Crash” (2005), “The Departed” (2006); and “Argo” (2012). Both “Spotlight” and “The Big Short” fit that bill this year. However, Oscar history is against McArdle as only two editors have won the Oscar — “West Side Story” (1961, Thomas Standford) and “Z” (1969, Francois Bonnot) — without first contending with the guild. He currently sits in fourth place with odds of 80/1.
“Star Wars: The Force Awakens”: Maryann Brandon, Mary Jo Markley
J.J. Abrams’ longtime collaborators reaped their first Ocsar nominations for the only film in this race without a corresponding Best Picture bid. The 1977 original won this award and this seventh entry in the series offers more of the kinetic action that Oscar voters love. However, the film is likely to be overwhelmed in all of the tech categories by “Mad Max: Fury Road.” The duo are currently ranked in fifth with odds of 80/1.
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