Oscars 2019 Category Breakdown: Best Editing

Here’s how this works: every day leading up to the Oscars, I break down each of the 24 categories. The goal is to both familiarize everyone with the category itself (how it works, what its history is and how you go about figuring out what’s gonna win) while also making it easier to reference when I write my giant article with picks and everything. A lot of the leg work is already here. But really, the goal is to see if there’s anything to look for leading into Oscar night that could be a shortcut to me picking the category.

What we do is — I give you all the winners of the category throughout history, go over all the recent trends if there are any, discuss the precursors and whether or not they matter, and then we talk about this year’s category and how we got to it, and then just look at where we are and rank the nominees in terms of their likelihood of winning (at the current moment in time. Of course, things can and will change going into the ceremony). It’s all pretty simple. I’ve done this every year. Everyone should know the drill.

Today is Best Editing. Snip, snip, motherfuckers.

Year Best Editing Winners Other Nominees
1934 Eskimo/Mala the Magnificent Cleopatra

One Night of Love

1935 A Midsummer Night’s Dream David Copperfield

The Informer

Les Misérables

Lives of a Bengal Lancer

Mutiny on the Bounty

1936 Anthony Adverse Come and Get It

The Great Ziegfeld

Lloyd’s of London

A Tale of Two Cities

Theodora Goes Wild

1937 Lost Horizon The Awful Truth

Captains Courageous

The Good Earth

One Hundred Men and a Girl

1938 The Adventures of Robin Hood Alexander’s Ragtime Band

The Great Waltz

Test Pilot

You Can’t Take It with You

1939 Gone With the Wind Goodbye, Mr. Chips

Mr. Smith Goes to Washington

The Rains Came


1940 North West Mounted Police The Grapes of Wrath

The Letter

The Long Voyage Home


1941 Sergeant York Citizen Kane

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

How Green Was My Valley

The Little Foxes

1942 The Pride of the Yankees Mrs. Miniver

The Talk of the Town

This Above All

Yankee Doodle Dandy

1943 Air Force Casablanca

Five Graves to Cairo

For Whom the Bell Tolls

The Song of Bernadette

1944 Wilson Going My Way


None but the Lonely Heart

Since You Went Away

1945 National Velvet The Bells of St. Mary’s

The Lost Weekend

Objective, Burma!

A Song to Remember

1946 The Best Years of Our Lives It’s a Wonderful Life

The Jolson Story

The Killers

The Yearling

1947 Body and Soul The Bishop’s Wife

Gentleman’s Agreement

Green Dolphin Street

Odd Man Out

1948 The Naked City Joan of Arc

Johnny Belinda

Red River

The Red Shoes

1949 Champion All the King’s Men


Sands of Iwo Jima

The Window

1950 King Solomon’s Mines All About Eve

Annie Get your Gun

Sunset Boulevard

The Third Man

1951 A Place in the Sun An American in Paris

Decision Before Dawn

Quo Vadis

The Well

1952 High Noon Come Back, Little Sheba

Flat Top

The Greatest Show on Earth

Moulin Rouge

1953 From Here to Eternity Crazylegs

The Moon is Blue

Roman Holiday

The War of the Worlds

1954 On the Waterfront The Caine Mutiny

The High and the Mighty

Seven Brides for Seven Brothers

20,000 Leagues Under the Sea

1955 Picnic Blackboard Jungle

The Bridges at Toko-Ri


The Rose Tattoo

1956 Around the World in 80 Days The Brave One


Somebody Up There Likes Me

The Ten Commandments

1957 The Bridge on the River Kwai Gunfight at the O.K. Corral

Pal Joey


Witness for the Prosecution

1958 Gigi Auntie Mame


The Defiant Ones

I Want to Live!

1959 Ben-Hur Anatomy of a Murder

North by Northwest

The Nun’s Story

On the Beach

1960 The Apartment The Alamo

Inherit the Wind



1961 West Side Story Fanny

The Guns of Navarone

Judgment at Nuremberg

The Parent Trap

1962 Lawrence of Arabia The Longest Day

The Manchurian Candidate

The Music Man

Mutiny on the Bounty

1963 How the West Was Won The Cardinal


The Great Escape

It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World

1964 Mary Poppins Becket

Father Goose

Hush… Hush, Sweet Charlotte

My Fair Lady

1965 The Sound of Music Cat Ballou

Doctor Zhivago

The Flight of the Phoenix

The Great Race

1966 Grand Prix Fantastic Voyage

The Russians are Coming, the Russiands are Coming

The Sand Pebbles

Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?

1967 In the Heat of the Night Beach Red

The Dirty Dozen

Doctor Dolittle

Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner

1968 Bullitt Funny Girl

The Odd Couple


Wild in the Streets

1969 Z Hello, Dolly!

Midnight Cowboy

The Secret of Santa Vittoria

They Shoot Horses, Don’t They?

1970 Patton Airport


Tora! Tora! Tora!


1971 The French Connection The Andromeda Strain

A Clockwork Orange


Summer of ‘42

1972 Cabaret Deliverance

The Godfather

The Hot Rock

The Poseidon Adventure

1973 The Sting American Graffiti

The Day of the Jackal

The Exorcist

Jonathan Livingston Seagull

1974 The Towering Inferno Blazing Saddles



The Longest Yard

1975 Jaws Dog Day Afternoon

The Man Who Would Be King

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest

Three Days of the Condor

1976 Rocky All the President’s Men

Bound for Glory


Two-Minute Warning

1977 Star Wars Close Encounters of the Third Kind


Smokey and the Bandit

The Turning Point

1978 The Deer Hunter The Boys from Brazil

Coming Home

Midnight Express


1979 All That Jazz Apocalypse Now

The Black Stallion

Kramer vs. Kramer

The Rose

1980 Raging Bull Coal Miner’s Daughter

The Competition

The Elephant Man


1981 Raiders of the Lost Ark Chariots of Fire

The French Lieutenant’s Woman

On Golden Pond


1982 Gandhi Das Boot

E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial

An Officer and a Gentleman


1983 The Right Stuff Blue Thunder



Terms of Endearment

1984 The Killing Fields Amadeus

The Cotton Club

A Passage to India

Romancing the Stone

1985 Witness A Chorus Line

Out of Africa

Prizzi’s Honor

Runaway Train

1986 Platoon Aliens

Hannah and Her Sisters

The Mission

Top Gun

1987 The Last Emperor Broadcast News

Empire of the Sun

Fatal Attraction


1988 Who Framed Roger Rabbit Die Hard

Gorillas in the Mist

Mississippi Burning

Rain Man

1989 Born on the Fourth of July Driving Miss Daisy

The Fabulous Baker Boys


The Bear

1990 Dances with Wolves Ghost

The Godfather Part III


The Hunt for Red October

1991 JFK The Commitments

The Silence of the Lambs

Terminator 2: Judgment Day

Thelma & Louise

1992 Unforgiven Basic Instinct

The Crying Game

A Few Good Men

The Player

1993 Schindler’s List The Fugitive

In the Line of Fire

In the Name of the Father

The Piano

1994 Forrest Gump Hoop Dreams

Pulp Fiction

The Shawshank Redemption


1995 Apollo 13 Babe


Crimson Tide


1996 The English Patient Evita


Jerry Maguire


1997 Titanic Air Force One

As Good as It Gets

Good Will Hunting

L.A. Confidential

1998 Saving Private Ryan Out of Sight

Shakespeare in Love

The Thin Red Line

Life is Beautiful

1999 The Matrix American Beauty

The Cider House Rules

The Insider

The Sixth Sense

2000 Traffic Almost Famous


Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon

Wonder Boys

2001 Black Hawk Down The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring

A Beautiful Mind


Moulin Rouge!

2002 Chicago Gangs of New York

The Hours

The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers

The Pianist

2003 The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King City of God

Cold Mountain

Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World


2004 The Aviator Collateral

Finding Neverland

Million Dollar Baby


2005 Crash Cinderella Man

The Constant Gardener


Walk the Line

2006 The Departed Babel

Blood Diamond

Children of Men

United 93

2007 The Bourne Ultimatum The Diving Bell and the Butterfly

Into the Wild

No Country for Old Men

There Will Be Blood

2008 Slumdog Millionaire The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

The Dark Knight



2009 The Hurt Locker Avatar

District 9

Inglourious Basterds

Precious: Based on the Novel “Push” by Sapphire

2010 The Social Network Black Swan

127 Hours

The Fighter

The King’s Speech

2011 The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo The Artists

The Descendants



2012 Argo Life of Pi


Silver Linings Playbook

Zero Dark Thirty

2013 Gravity American Hustle

Captain Phillips

Dallas Buyers Club

12 Years a Slave

2014 Whiplash American Sniper


The Grand Budapest Hotel

The Imitation Game

2015 Mad Max: Fury Road The Big Short

The Revenant


Star Wars: The Force Awakens 

2016 Hacksaw Ridge Arrival

Hell or High Water

La La Land


2017 Dunkirk Baby Driver

I, Tonya

The Shape of Water

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

2018 Bohemian Rhapsody BlacKkKlansman

The Favourite

Green Book


Best Editing is always a strange category to talk about because it’s usually more about the Best Picture favorites than it is about pure editing. This year, there’s more of an overlap than usual, but still.

The main precursors here are ACE, the Editors guild, BAFTA and BFCA. Though BFCA gave their Editing award to a non-nominated film that was cut to look like it wasn’t edited, so they’re fucking useless this year.

Anyway, ACE is 40/58 all-time in this category, 23/30 the past 30 years and 6/10 the past decade. BAFTA is 7/10 the past decade, and BFCA, as I’ve hinted at, is only 4/9 and not generally useful.

But typically there’s either gonna be a consensus, or you can figure it out just by looking at the category.

Best Editing

Ford v Ferrari

The Irishman

Jojo Rabbit



Not an overly surprising category in terms of what got on. However, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood not being nominated is the biggest deal of anything else. But otherwise, no real surprises here.


  • ACE Dramatic: Parasite
  • ACE Comedy: Jojo Rabbit
  • BAFTA: Ford v Ferrari

I should note that only 10 films ever to this point won Best Picture without being nominated for Best Editing: It Happened One Night, The Life of Emile Zola, Hamlet, Marty, Tom Jones, A Man for All Seasons, The Godfather Part II, Annie Hall, Ordinary People, and Birdman. 1917 would be #11, but, like Birdman, the conceit is that it looks like it’s not Edited, so it’s not that big a deal. But Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, if that won, would be a bigger deal. Just noting that before we get to Best Picture tomorrow.

This is probably the one major category where it’s very much open. Owing to the Best Picture favorite not being nominated because it’s designed to seem like it isn’t edited. So we’re left with a nice array of choices, which, relatively, is scaring the shit out of me. Even though it’s probably just a 50/50 choice.


5. Joker — No momentum whatsoever for a win here. Aside from the number of nominations, I see no reason to make this anything other than fifth here. Where are the votes coming from?

4. The Irishman — It’s Thelma. And I hesitate even putting her fourth. But no precursor. So while I don’t think it’s happening, I’m scared shitless having her fourth, just because some people might instinctively vote for her. She won for Aviator and Departed and was assumed to have won for Hugo in that crazy 2011 category. I don’t see it happening, but I might have to bump her up to third in the end just because I’m terrified by the notion of not having Thelma in contention.

3. Jojo Rabbit — It’s won the ACE for Comedy, so that’s something. Though… ACE Comedy winners don’t really ever win the Oscar. It’s only happened once. Which is why, absent anything else, I’m not sure what’s keeping this here as a solid third choice. This and Irishman are basically 3-4, in almost any order. Still, it does make our lives easier at the top. The ultimate question still is: what’s gonna win?

2. Parasite — It won ACE, which is big. It’s a potential Best Picture upset choice. If it wins here, then seriously watch out for Best Picture later in the night. I only have it second just because… Ford v Ferrari is the more overtly ‘edited’ movie. That’s it. It’s a pure 50/50. They both have precursors. You can make a case for both given what we’ve seen. Which is why I’m feeling a real 2011 vibe from this. The tiebreaker could have been BFCA… but fucking 1917 won there. So now we’re just guessing.

1. Ford v Ferrari — It’s got BAFTA, that’s big. It’s a race car movie. It makes total sense here. Will it win? Dunno. It feels like it’s this or Parasite. You can take either, and this becomes the favorite purely on the fact that it more openly screams ‘editing’ than Parasite does. And hey, since I keep saying how it reminds me of 2011… what won in 2011? Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. The more ‘editing’ kinda movie. So we’ll call this the favorite in what is otherwise a complete 50/50 toss up.

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