September 30, 2016

The Matrix: The Top 25 (Best Film Editing)

Oscars envelope 600x340Continuing onward with this 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.

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 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.

Here now is how I’d rank the 25 top winners of the Best Film Editing Oscar:

25. The Social Network
24. Bullitt
23. The Apartment
22. JFK
21. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
20. Rocky
19. Lawrence of Arabia
18. Jaws
17. High Noon
16. Slumdog Millionaire
15. Ben-Hur
14. The Adventures of Robin Hood
13. On the Waterfront
12. Star Wars
11. Traffic
10. Argo
9. Raiders of the Lost Ark
8. The Hurt Locker
7. The Bourne Ultimatum
6. Black Hawk Down
5. The Departed
4. Who Framed Roger Rabbit
3. Saving Private Ryan
2. Raging Bull
1. The Matrix

Stay tuned for a new one of these next week!

About Joey Magidson

A graduate of Stony Brook University (where he studied Cinema and Cultural Studies), resides in Brooklyn, New York. He also contributes to several other film-related websites.

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