2018 Oscar Predictions: Best Film Editing (Updated: January 14, 2018)

When it comes to predicting the Oscar winner for Best Film Editing, you can’t go wrong by looking for the movie with the most cuts. Past winners “The Bourne Ultimatum” (2007), and “Mad Max: Fury Road” (2015) included high-octane action sequences with frenetic cutting. And a slew of other champs — including “Saving Private Ryan” in 1998, “Black Hawk Down” in 2001, “The Hurt Locker” in 2009 and “Hacksaw Ridge” in 2016 — have been war pictures. (Scroll down for the most up-to-date predictions for this year’s Best Film Editing race.)

Oscar voters also embrace film editors who skillfully juggle multiple storylines, as was the case with “Traffic” (2000) and “Crash” (2005). And they like films that expertly inter-cut music with images, such as “Cabaret” (1972), “Chicago” (2002), and “Whiplash” (2014). Special effects extravaganzas like “The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King” (2003) and “Gravity” (2013) won by deftly blurring the lines between the real and the fantastic.

Historically, a nomination for film editing was an essential one for the ultimate winner of the big prize. Indeed, 34 films won both awards. Yet the last time the two went hand-in-hand was “Argo” in 2012. The reintroduction of the preferential ballot for Best Picture has changed the dynamic. “Gravity” swept the below-the-line awards but lost the top race to “12 Years a Slave.”

Please note: Only those films with confirmed release dates are listed below. Check back often as new contenders are scheduled while other are dropped due to delays or critical reaction.

UPDATED: January 14, 2018

Leading Contenders
Valerio Bonelli, “Darkest Hour” (Universal Studios/Focus Features)

Bob Ducsay, “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” (Walt Disney Studios)

Walter Fasano, “Call Me By Your Name” (Sony Pictures Classics)

Jon Gregory, “Three Billboards Outside of Ebbing, Missouri” (Fox Searchlight Pictures)

Affonso Gonçalves “Wonderstruck” (Amazon Studios)

Michael Kahn, “The Post” (20th Century Fox)

Alisa Lepselter, “Wonder Wheel” (Amazon Studios)

Pamela Martin, “Battle of the Sexes” (Fox Searchlight)

Stephen Mirrione, “Suburbicon” (Paramount Pictures)

Melanie Oliver, “Victoria and Abdul” (Focus Features)

Lee Smith, “Dunkirk” (Warner Bros.)

Steven Soderbergh, “Lucky Logan” (Bleecker Street/FilmNation Entertainment)

Kevin Tent, “Downsizing” (Paramount Pictures/Annapurna Pictures)

Dylan Tichenor, “Phantom Thread” (Annapurna Pictures/Focus Features)

Joe Walker, “Blade Runner 2049″(Warner Bros./Columbia Pictures/Alcon Entertainment)

Sidney Wolinsky, “The Shape of Water” (Fox Searchlight Pictures)

Strong Contenders
Sandra Adair, “Last Flag Flying” (Amazon Studios)

Sarah Flack, “The Beguiled” (Focus Features)

William Goldenberg, Harry Yoon, “Detroit” (Annapurna Pictures)

William Hoy, “War for the Planet of the Apes” (20th Century Fox)

Mako Kamitsuna, “Mudbound” (Netflix)

Yorgos Mavropsaridis, “The Killing of a Sacred Deer” (A24)

Michael McCusker, Dirk Westervelt, “Logan” (20th Century Fox)

Gregory Plotkin, “Get Out” (Universal)

Gary Roach, “Wind River” (The Weinstein Company)

Martin Walsh, “Wonder Woman” (Warner Bros.)

Possible Contenders
Mick Audsley, “Murder on the Orient Express” (20th Century Fox)

Sean Baker, “The Florida Project” (A24)

Victoria Boydell, “Goodbye Christopher Robin” (Fox Searchlight Pictures)

John Gilroy, “Roman Israel, Esq.” (Columbia)

Masahiro Hirakubo, “Breathe” (Bleecker Street/Participant Media)

Mark Livolsi, “Wonder” (Lionsgate)

Tom McArdle, “Marshall” (Open Road Films)

Robert Nassau, “The Big Sick” (Amazon Studios)

David Rosenbloom, “Molly’s Game” (STX Entertainment)

Monika Willi, “Happy End” (Sony Pictures Classics)

UPDATED: January 14, 2018

Lee Smith is a frontrunner for “Dunkirk,” Christopher Nolan‘s WWII epic that juggles three disparate timelines into one seamless narrative. Smith, who competed for his work on “Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World” (2003) and Nolan’s “The Dark Knight” (2008), could well win for his complex work here.

Oscar-winner William Goldenberg (“Argo”) and Harry Yoon are in contention for cutting “Detroit,” Kathryn Bigelow‘s harrowing retelling of the 1967 race riots. The two masterfully create tension while balancing multiple narratives. And they deftly intersperse documentary footage throughout the 148-minute running time.

“Blade Runner 2049” editor Joe Walker competed for “12 Years a Slave” (2013) and “Arrival” (2016). The latter was directed by Denis Villeneuve as is this long-awaited sequel to Ridley Scott‘s 1982 sci-fi classic. From the trailer, it certainly looks to be the type of technical juggernaut that handily wins this award. And the same could be true for “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” (Bob Ducsay).

We are predicting all 24 of the competitive categories at the Oscars.

Best Picture | Best Director | Best Original Screenplay | Best Adapted Screenplay
Best Actor | Best Actress | Best Supporting Actor | Best Supporting Actress
Best Cinematography | Best Costume Design | Best Film Editing | Best Production Design
Best Makeup & Hairstyling | Best Sound Editing | Best Sound Mixing | Best Visual Effects
Best Original Score | Best Original Song
Best Animated Feature | Best Documentary Feature | Best Foreign Language Film
Best Animated Short | Best Documentary Short | Best Live-Action Short

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