The Top 25: Best Film Editing Winners
Welcome back, one and all. Continuing onward with this little weekly series I’m doing here on the site, we’re talking about the top 25 Oscar winners in just about every single one of the Academy Award categories out there for us to talk about. Aside from the short categories and likely something a bit harder to rank like Best Sound Editing or Best Sound Mixing (as I’ve mentioned before), I’ll be hitting them all over the coming weeks, including of course the big eight categories, two of which have already received this particular treatment. I’m also potentially going to do one that doesn’t actually exist (a fictitious Best Ensemble category), but that’s just an idea I’m currently toying with. We’ll see about that one, but for now, we’ll stick to reality and the categories currently endorsed by the Academy.
For today, I’ll be knocking off one more of the technical categories, with this one being the somewhat unsexy but still essential Best Film Editing field. Depending on the category in question, I may wind up discussing the individual winners I’m citing rather specifically or just giving a more broad overview of the winners. Like I’ve been saying over the past few weeks, in all honesty, you really just want to see the end result list anyway, so I have no problem obliging you there in that regard. All you have to do is just be patient over the next couple paragraphs…
This time around, I’m once again just going with the overview route. Film Editing is another type of category where you sort of know it’s good by seeing it in the films themselves. There are a few different types of editing that the Academy has honored, though sometimes they can fall into the trap of going for “most” instead of best, if that makes sense. For example, you can see in certain winners that the editing is smooth and you’re almost not meant to notice it all, while other winners want to constantly impress you with their flashy approach to editing. I’m not particularly partial to either one, basically just going for what fits the movies best. Sometimes I don’t want to notice the editing at all in the flick, and sometimes I want it to be front and center. It all just depends.
I’ll discuss my top ten a bit now before getting to the list itself. The winner that I think is the best ever happens to be The Matrix, which is a technical achievement on all levels, followed closely by Raging Bull, though it’s no secret that Martin Scorsese and his longtime editor Thelma Schoonmaker do amazing work together (as evidence by The Departed also cracking my top five). War movies also often have impeccable editing, as evidenced by the presence of Black Hawk Down, The Hurt Locker, and Saving Private Ryan in my top ten. The other winners that make up this top grouping of mine are Argo, The Bourne Ultimatum, Raiders of the Lost Ark, and Who Framed Roger Rabbit. All of them show off different forms of editing, but all share the same high level of quality necessary for high placement on this list. In fact, every single one on this list is top notch. Joining them in this update are two recent winners in Dunkirk and Whiplash, as well as an honorable mention for Ford v Ferrari.
Here now is how I’d rank the 25 top winners of the Best Film Editing Oscar:
25. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
22. Slumdog Millionaire
21. Lawrence of Arabia
19. High Noon
17. The Adventures of Robin Hood
16. The Social Network
15. On the Waterfront
14. Star Wars
11. Raiders of the Lost Ark
10. The Bourne Ultimatum
8. The Hurt Locker
6. Black Hawk Down
5. The Departed
4. Who Framed Roger Rabbit
3. Saving Private Ryan
2. Raging Bull
1. The Matrix
Honorable Mention: The Apartment, Bullitt, Ford v Ferrari, Gravity, and Mad Max: Fury Road
Stay tuned for a new one of these next week!