Best Of The Best Pictures: Best Film Editing

Editing is arguably the most important craft in the world of filmmaking. It’s the editor’s job to put the puzzle pieces together and form a coherent story  and make the film seem gripping without feeling overly long. Why, what would a great movie be without a appreciation for editing? (The answer is a Terrence Malick movie.)

Okay, so let’s start with a few of the also-rans.

25.) The Artist (nominated)
24.) Kramer vs Kramer (nominated)
23.) Ordinary People
22.) American Beauty (nominated)
21.) Rocky (WON)
20.) The French Connection (WON)
19.) Rain Man (nominated)
18.) Forrest Gump (WON)
17.) Argo (WON)
16.) The Departed (WON)
15.) The Lost Weekend (nominated)
14.) From Here To Eternity (WON)
13.) The Apartment (WON)
12.) No Country For Old Men (WON)
11.) Platoon (WON)

And now for the runners up.

10.) Crash (WON)

I don’t care if I’m the only person on Earth who thinks this. This was a great movie and the editing was a big reason why.

9.) All About Eve (nominated)

To quote The Film Experience – “Those verbal fight scenes and flash-backs wouldn’t haven’t worked so well… if it hadn’t been edited as precisely as it was.”

8.) The Silence Of The Lambs (nominated)

It holds your attention but knows just the right moment to cut. Creepy and effective.

7.) Chicago (WON)

Fast-paced musical sequences are hard to get right, but Chicago does a pretty good job.

6.) The Hurt Locker (WON)

The editing is the film’s best asset. Both super tense and well crafted, a large part in what makes the film so good.

And now for the top five. Surprisingly, only one of these films won the Oscar for Film Editing. Three were nominated but didn’t win and one was inexplicably snubbed. So, without further ado, here are my top five.



A movie is only as good as it’s structure, and the framework of Mozart’s life told from Saleiri’s perspective is wonderfully concocted in the editing room. Bonus points for making the film seem shorter than it actually was (something that all five of these films have in common.)



This one is all about the pacing, which is pretty darn perfect. For a film made in the 1940s they understood a lot about simple editing tropes. Editing is one major advantage a film has over a stage play, and Casablanca utilizes this to great effect.



Some Oscar snubs will remain a mystery to me until the day I die. This is one of them. Being a Best Picture winner and not being an Editing nominee is odd enough. Considering how beloved the film is makes it crazier. But considering how cleverly the two storylines are woven together, this is one snub that is simply un-excusable.



Great at setting the mood for each individual scene. The film’s editor Hugh A. Robertson knows exactly when to cut, and when to let a shot play out. This helps to perfectly capture the feel of New York City – at times welcoming, at times anything but.



This movie is three and a half hours long but it feels like it’s only half that. That alone is a testament to this brilliant editing. Great pacing in the first half, but the sinking in the second half is done in practically real time, and it’s overall an amazing effort.

8.) Titanic

5.) Amadeus

3.) The Lord Of The Rings: The Return Of The King

2.) A Beautiful Mind
2.) Ben-Hur
2.) Casablanca
2.) Forrest Gump
2.) Gone With The Wind
2.) Lawrence Of Arabia
2.) Midnight Cowboy
2.) Out Of Africa
2.) Platoon
2.) Rebecca

1.) All Quiet On The Western Front
1.) An American In Paris
1.) Birdman
1.) Crash
1.) Gandhi
1.) Gigi
1.) The Godfather
1.) The Godfather: Part II
1.) Going My Way
1.) The Lost Weekend
1.) My Fair Lady
1.) Oliver
1.) Shakespeare In Love
1.) Unforgiven

Next up: Best Adapted Screenplay

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