Best Pictures are usually Best Edited

The Hollywood Reporter reports that the surprise victory of Crash over Brokeback Mountain at the Oscars last Sunday should not have been that surprising after all, for a variety of reasons. Among the signs to which they point is this:

Moreover, insiders are also pointing to a little known piece of Oscar trivia: not since 1980’s “Ordinary People” has a film won the best picture Oscar without also having had a nomination for best film editing. “Brokeback” wasn’t a film editing nominee this year, while “Crash” film editor Hughes Winborne took home the Oscar. Insiders claim that film editors don’t vote for best picture nominees that aren’t also best film editing nominees. There are 239 members of the Academy’s Film Editors branch. If their votes are added to the 1,238 that quite possibly weren’t cast at all, that’s a total of 1,477 votes — nearly 24% of the total Academy membership — that didn’t go to “Brokeback.”

I would just like to take this opportunity to say that I, myself, did in fact notice that Brokeback Mountain was not nominated for Best Film Editing, back when the nominations were first announced. And I squirmed with dread-filled anticipation when Crash actually won the award in that category.

I even thought about writing a post on the subject last month. I had heard, years ago, that Best Picture winners were usually Best Film Editing winners, too — but I had never tested this theory. However, when I began researching this, I discovered that Best Picture and Best Film Editing typically went to the same film maybe half of the time. So I never wrote that blog post after all.

What I didn’t think to check was whether a film had won Best Picture without being nominated for Best Film Editing. So, thanks to the Hollywood Reporter for clarifying that bit of trivia.

About Peter T. Chattaway

Peter T. Chattaway was the regular film critic for BC Christian News from 1992 to 2011. In addition to his award-winning film column for that paper, his news and opinion pieces have appeared in such publications as Books & Culture, Christianity Today, Bible Review and the Vancouver Sun. He has also contributed essays to the books Re-Viewing The Passion: Mel Gibson’s Film and Its Critics (Palgrave Macmillan, 2004), Scandalizing Jesus?: Kazantzakis’s The Last Temptation of Christ Fifty Years on (Continuum, 2005) and The Bible in Motion: A Handbook of the Bible and Its Reception in Film (De Gruyter, 2016).