Best Editing Oscar: How Do Voters Separate Great Editing and Directing? (Hint: It’s Not Easy.)

Best Editing Oscar: How Do Voters Separate Great Editing and Directing? (Hint: It’s Not Easy.)
When Thelma Schoonmaker won the first of her three Academy Awards for “Raging Bull,” she humbly told journalists that she believed she was being honored for work done by the director, Martin Scorsese.

“I won the Oscar for ‘Raging Bull’ for those fight sequences,” said Schoonmaker in a 1991 interview with Wide Angle/Closeup. “If you look at those fight sequences, those were so incredibly storyboarded and shot in an incredible way – that is the conception a good director has to bring.”

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All below-the-line talent interprets a director’s vision through their crafts, but the editor’s work is most closely associated with the director’s. From 1981 to 2016, every Best Picture winner, except “Birdman,” was nominated for Editing. “Birdman” features long, unedited takes and elaborate camera movements; that might be the only way
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