Best Film Editing

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Postby rolotomasi99 » Thu Mar 03, 2011 4:45 pm

rain Bard wrote:The Social Network is not just people talking; there are at least two major scenes that showcase editing in a fairly flashy way- the Facemash scene and the crew race (two very dissimilarly-edited scenes by the way).

I think it's very very likely that Inception would have won the category if it had been nominated by the editors. Juggling all those different threads is impressive (unless you realize that this is often a function of the screenplay more than the editing). And it contains action scenes, whose editing generally seems to impress the average voter as well (which surely helps to explain why Bourne Ultimatum, Black Hawk Down and The Matrix were able to beat more broadly Academy-appreciated films in this category).

I hope I don't sound too condescending when I ask, rolo, have you ever tried editing film or video? If so, has it been to continuity? If you have, you'll know it's not as easy as it might seem. In fact, there's a significant school of thought, held especially fiercely among certain editors and directors, that the best editing doesn't announce itself at all; that it employs a kind of pacing of cuts and shot choices that puts audiences under a near-magical spell, where all they're aware of is the drama at hand; they notice the cuts so subliminally that they may as well be there in the room (or on the plane, or wherever) with the characters.

I suspect it was in this spirit that The King's Speech was nominated over something as "edit-y" as Inception. Personally I didn't find Hooper's film all that seamless, but for someone who was caught up more completely in the characters and drama, it may have felt like one of these near-magical editing feats.

The Facesmash scene definitely has showy editing. The Regatta scene might have been well edited, but I was too distracted by the amazing tilt/shift photography to really notice how well put together it was. I love how tilt/shift makes everything look minature.

I remember how happy I was when the smooth editing of WONDER BOYS was nominated. I love that type of editing, and have been annoyed with the trend of more quick cut editing combined with shaky camera work. CRASH is one of the best examples of this terrible style. I remember how outraged folks were last year when the smooth editing of UP IN THE AIR was passed over for the quick cut/jerky camera work of PRECIOUS.

So the editing branch did not like the smooth editing of UP IN THE AIR but did like the smooth editing of THE KING'S SPEECH? Just weird.
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Postby ITALIANO » Thu Mar 03, 2011 11:48 am

While I can certainly understand the Sense and Sensibility example, the Editors' Branch over the years has nominated movies that objectively had no reasons for being even just considered - except I guess that they had liked the movie itself. I'm talking about such Best Editing nominees as Come Back, Little Sheba, The Moon is Blue, The Rose Tattoo, Auntie Mame, Pepe, Father Goose, The Secret of Santa Vittoria, Airport, Kotch, The Turning Point, The Boys from Brazil (this may have been the worst), The Rose, On Golden Pond, many others.

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Postby OscarGuy » Thu Mar 03, 2011 11:46 am

One of my projects in college was a music video. The footage I shot showed just how bad at lighting I was, but I found great fun in the editing process. Of course, music videos are a different beast than commercial film, largely because your cuts have to match to the beat. In film, that process is a little more fluid.

However, I think there are challenges to both Social Network kinds of editing and Inception kinds of editing. Hell, even Fight Club had its own special challenging and falls into a third category. Both have positives and negatives and require quite a bit of skill to put together well.

I don't mind showy editing. I don't mind subtle editing. What I mind is editing that prevents me from understanding or seeing all of the action. A lot of action films (especially Michael Bay films and the last Bourne entry) are so jumbled together that you only get a "whiz-bang-thank-you-ma'am" perspective and get very little of the detail that makes these kinds of scenes more interesting. I know a lot of it is to try and hide some shitty visual effects work, but it's the only type of editing I really hate.
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Postby Jim20 » Thu Mar 03, 2011 11:16 am

rain Bard, I did some editing when I attended film school and cut close to 5 different thesis films, including my own that I directed. Complicated but exciting and often creative work of choosing the best take, knowing how long to hold the shot and creating a flow that audiences could enjoy the experience. In the process of my own film that I edited and directed, my film was set up as one type of film, only to spring into another type altogether. Nothing pleased me more than on graduation day when we showed our work and the initial shock of that moment took the audience completely by surprise in a great way.

Since then, I haven't edited as much as I'd like, due to work and more creative ventures in the industry, but Film Editing remains my favorite category every year.

If any are interested in the art of film editing, every year the American Cinema Editors guild hosts a panel of the year's Oscar nominated editors to speak at the Egyptian Theater in Hollywood. I've attended the last six years and it's always a fun experience.

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Postby The Original BJ » Thu Mar 03, 2011 11:12 am

A decade ago, when Tim Squyres was nominated for editing Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, I remember he made a comment about how strange it was to him that this film gave him his first Oscar nomination when it was the easiest project he'd had to cut. According to Squyres, the fight scenes could really only be spliced together in one way -- which was very clear based on the script and what Lee had shot.

In contrast, he felt editing Sense and Sensibility and The Ice Storm, were much more challenging assignments, because he had a tremendous amount of choice regarding which reaction to cut to in dialogue scenes full of numerous characters. Even though these films had less obvious "cutting" than an action epic, Squyres felt he showed his skill better, simply because more of his choices were on display in the final product.

That said, I do agree that it was crazy for The King's Speech to have been nominated over Inception.

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Postby Mike Kelly » Thu Mar 03, 2011 7:03 am

I recently rewatched the scene in The Social Network when Justin Timberlake arrives late at the restaurant and takes control. There was something familiar about that scene. I noticed that it was told from Andrew Garfield's perspective, and edited between his deposition and the restaurant (in flashback). It was very well done. The nagging familiatity was in the way Timberlake glided into the scene, commanded attention, stood up at the end and said something to the effect of "drop the 'The' from The Facebook - just 'Facebook', and glided out. It was similar in style, if not substance, to the Ferris Wheel scene in The Third Man where Orson Welles glides across the fairgrounds, tells Joseph Cotten what he needs to, tells his story of the Cuckoo Clock and glides away. One of cinema's special scenes.



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Postby Damien » Thu Mar 03, 2011 2:34 am

I remember being a kid and expressing shock that The Odd Couple was nominated for Best Editing, since the movie was just people sitting around talking. My father explained to me that each comment and reaction made by the guys playing poker was a separate shot, and they all had to be spliced together to make the rounds of the card game seem seamless. Ever since, I've truly appreciated non-showy editing (although I don't have a problem with The Odd Couple losing to Bullitt).



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Postby rain Bard » Thu Mar 03, 2011 2:24 am

The Social Network is not just people talking; there are at least two major scenes that showcase editing in a fairly flashy way- the Facemash scene and the crew race (two very dissimilarly-edited scenes by the way).

I think it's very very likely that Inception would have won the category if it had been nominated by the editors. Juggling all those different threads is impressive (unless you realize that this is often a function of the screenplay more than the editing). And it contains action scenes, whose editing generally seems to impress the average voter as well (which surely helps to explain why Bourne Ultimatum, Black Hawk Down and The Matrix were able to beat more broadly Academy-appreciated films in this category).

I hope I don't sound too condescending when I ask, rolo, have you ever tried editing film or video? If so, has it been to continuity? If you have, you'll know it's not as easy as it might seem. In fact, there's a significant school of thought, held especially fiercely among certain editors and directors, that the best editing doesn't announce itself at all; that it employs a kind of pacing of cuts and shot choices that puts audiences under a near-magical spell, where all they're aware of is the drama at hand; they notice the cuts so subliminally that they may as well be there in the room (or on the plane, or wherever) with the characters.

I suspect it was in this spirit that The King's Speech was nominated over something as "edit-y" as Inception. Personally I didn't find Hooper's film all that seamless, but for someone who was caught up more completely in the characters and drama, it may have felt like one of these near-magical editing feats.




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Postby rolotomasi99 » Wed Mar 02, 2011 3:11 pm

rain Bard wrote:As for Inception, remember that the nominees are picked only by branch members, not the general Academy. I'm not not all members of the branch are going to see through "film edit-y" but more of them are than general voters.

Oh, so that is why THE KING'S SPEECH was nominated for its editing...because it was not edit-y. By not being that thing it made itself all the more worhty of being nominated.

THE SOCIAL NETWORK is certainly a well edited film, but if you go back several decades you will find only a few winners similar to this film. Most editing Oscar winners are epics (LAWRENCE OF ARABIA, THE LAST EMPEROR, THE ENGLISH PATIENT, etc.), musicals (WEST SIDE STORY, CABARET, CHICAGO, etc.), or action films (BULLITT, STAR WARS, THE MATRIX, etc.).

Just going back to films from 1960 to now, I think only THE APARTMENT is a comparable winner of editing in terms of just cutting together scenes of people talking without any major scene showcasing its editing. Even more subdued winners like THE STING, IN THE HEAT OF THE NIGHT, WITNESS, CRASH, etc. had scenes sprinkled throughout that employed more eye-catching editing. The weird thing is, except for WITNESS, the winners with more subdued editing usually were also Best Picture winners. That is what makes THE SOCIAL NETWORK's win all the more surprising. I could see it having its editing recognized in a general love fest for the film, but clearly they were not that in love with the thing.

The editor's branch just fucked up, it seems, by ignoring INCEPTION. I am supposed to believe TOP GUN and SPEED were action films with great editing, but INCEPTION's editing was too action oriented. ???




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Postby rain Bard » Tue Mar 01, 2011 3:10 pm

Don't leave out Kevin Brownlow, Sabin!

As for Inception, remember that the nominees are picked only by branch members, not the general Academy. I'm not not all members of the branch are going to see through "film edit-y" but more of them are than general voters.

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Postby Sabin » Tue Mar 01, 2011 5:25 am

Remember in '02 when Black Hawk Down won Best Film Editing and they showed the process of choosing the right shot? We need that back. It's far too cool and legitimizes what exactly these awards are about and what they mean. I think a couple years ago, they did the same thing for Sound Mixing and Sound Effects, in helping to explain just how they are in fact different. Gotta get those back too. I mean, people don't know what these awards mean. If you're going to intentionally leave America out of it, then don't give them out. Give Francis Ford Coppola, Jean-Luc Godard, and Eli Wallach their Oscars two weeks prior and also give out three tekkies while you're at it.

Really kind of astonishing that Inception wasn't nominated. Not that it should have been, but it's so...film edit-y. The Social Network is a fine win though, and along with The Departed, one of the best of the decade.
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Postby Sonic Youth » Sun Feb 27, 2011 10:50 pm

Er...

Sorry, I must've been smoking one of Franco's cigarettes.




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Postby rolotomasi99 » Sun Feb 27, 2011 10:49 pm

Sonic Youth wrote:
rolotomasi99 wrote:
Sonic Youth wrote:For a few seconds, I was beginning to think that Inception might win. And then maybe it would have a shot for Best Picture.

As much as I didn't like Inception, it would make for a very exciting outcome.

Except it was not even nominated...which is so fucking bizarre.

???

Yes it was.

According to imdb the nominees are:

127 Hours (2010): Jon Harris
Black Swan (2010): Andrew Weisblum
The Fighter (2010): Pamela Martin
The King's Speech (2010): Tariq Anwar
The Social Network (2010): Kirk Baxter, Angus Wall


This is the editing thread, right?
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Postby Okri » Sun Feb 27, 2011 10:48 pm

Not for Editing.

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Postby OscarGuy » Sun Feb 27, 2011 10:48 pm

Sonic, he's talking about Inception being nominated for Editing, not Picture.
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