Oscars 2018: Best Film Editing

Jonathan Amos and Paul Machliss – BABY DRIVER
Lee Smith – DUNKIRK
Harry Yoon and William Goldenberg – DETROIT
Sarah Broshar and Michael Kahn – THE POST
Sidney Wolinsky – THE SHAPE OF WATER

Five exemplary works here that exemplify the vastly different ways in which film editing can build tension and conflict. At first blush, Jonathan Amos and Paul Machliss’ work on the Tarantino-wannabe thriller BABY DRIVER seemed a bit excessive, especially in a year that included THE FATE OF THE FURIOUS and STAR WARS, EPISODE EIGHT: THE LAST JEDI, among other high-octane franchises. But thinking about that experience again, six months after first viewing the movie, I’ve come to appreciate Amos and Machliss’ work in their ability to bring order to a LOT of visual mayhem.

More my speed is Lee Smith’s stellar work on DUNKIRK (how is it that so many of the visual elements of this film work so well at building tension and terror at the same time?!?), and Sarah Broshar and Michael Kahn’s masters’ class-caliber work on THE POST. Sidney Wolinsky’s measured editing work on THE SHAPE OF WATER complements the visual claustrophobia of director Guillermo del Toro’s latest — and makes me forget, if only for a moment, that this is the same director responsible for that hot mess of a popcorn action franchise PACIFIC RIM.

As a voting Academy member in this fantasy scenario, I HAVE to pull my “he’s my good friend” card at least once in this whole exercise. Why not? Nepotism and lots more crazy stuff is rampant in this industry town, so what the hell. I’m recommending my friend Harry Yoon who, in concert with William Goldenberg, had me on the edge of my seat during Kathryn Bigelow’s DETROIT. Yah yah, this was another one I largely overlooked, but I have to put in a good word here for my man Harry — he’s a talented editor who’s cut his teeth in broadcast and cable television and is looking to make that leap into motion pictures. Someone, please hire him.


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