2020 Oscar Category Breakdown: Best Editing

And now Best Editing. This is one of the few categories this year that feels like it’s actually pretty open and can have multiple legitimate winners. Each year, you generally have your locks, your wide open stuff (which are usually the shorts and categories like that), your ‘it’ll almost definitely be this, but this other one could beat it’ categories and then your categories where you’re like ‘I know it’ll be this or this, but I have no idea which is more likely’. That’s what Editing is this year.

Let’s get into it.

Best Editing

The Father

Nomadland

Promising Young Woman

Sound of Metal

The Trial of the Chicago 7

Best Editing is a Best Picture category. So first and foremost, those nominees are going to be front and center. Only four non-Best Picture nominees made the Editing category this decade, and they were all really obvious choices (Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Force Awakens, Baby Driver and I Tonya). We didn’t have that obvious choice this year (you might say Tenet, but that didn’t do well and didn’t feel like it had the legs to make it on over the Picture nominees), so really you were just left figuring out which five would make it. You knew Nomadland would, you knew Chicago 7 would and you figured Sound of Metal would too, especially given that those were the only three films that hit every single precursor. After that, you had your presumptive Best Picture list and it was just figuring out what the other two were. I figured they’d go Mank and Minari, but instead they went Promising Young Woman and The Father. It was pretty much between those four, so the went with those two. And that was your category.

5. Promising Young Woman — The rule is you need to be nominated for Editing to win Best Picture, but you don’t need to win. And they do tend to focus on effort in this category more than most (even if that does tend to favor war films and flashy action films over anything else most of the time). This is the most… I’m trying to think of a word that’s not insulting… but it’s the most ‘not flashy’ of the bunch. Which doesn’t mean the effort is bad. It just means they won’t look to vote for it like they will everything else. Without a precursor, I’m not sure you can really make a case for this anywhere other than fifth.

4. The Father — Editing is very front and center in this movie and is very central to the story itself, as they use the edits to show the jumps in Hopkins’ character’s mind and make him unsure of what actually is reality. So people are very aware of the editing here and it may get votes because of that. But given a complete lack of precursor wins, I can’t call this anything other than fourth choice. You could try to put it third as a spoiler, but I don’t know if that’s wise given what I’m about to get into.

3. Nomadland — You can never rule out a Best Picture favorite in Editing. Granted, a Best Picture winner hasn’t won this category since Argo in 2012, but you still have to take it very seriously. And given that two films split all the precursors, I don’t think whatever is in this position is gonna matter all that much, but you can’t just toss aside a Best Picture favorite in this category unless all the precursors go elsewhere. You just can’t. Sure, The Father may get more votes, but neither should win. Always respect the Picture winner in Editing.

2. The Trial of the Chicago 7 — This split all the precursors with Sound of Metal. This won the guild and it tied for BFCA. Theoretically this could be first, but I’ll explain my reasoning as to why it’s second in a minute. Point is, two films split everything and both could easily win, so regardless of what’s 1 and what’s 2, you’re considering them both.

1. Sound of Metal — This split BFCA with Chicago 7 and won BAFTA. The only reason I give the slight edge to this is the fact that BAFTA, over the past decade, has been a slightly better precursor than ACE has. That’s it. Both films could easily win this category, so it’s not like favorite in this category is the same as favorite in Best Director. But also, on top of the slight statistical advantage, this does feel like one of those movies that’ll win Editing and Sound, kind of like Whiplash did. That’s also why I’d consider it a slight favorite to take this one.

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