The Rundown 2020: Editing & Cinematography

For our twentieth Rundown article, we look at cinematography and editing. After the jump, you’ll find our winner and runner-up predictions for Best Film Editing and Best Cinematography as well as general commentary about the race. Thursday, we’ll cover the big one.

Best Film Editing

Winner Predictions

  • The Father
  • Nomadland
  • Promising Young Woman
  • Sound of Metal (WL O) (PP O)
  • The Trial of the Chicago 7 (TB R) [New] (TL R) [New]

Runner-Up Predictions

  • Nomadland (PP O)
  • Sound of Metal (TB R) [New] (TL R) [New]
  • The Trial of the Chicago 7 (WL O)

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Wesley Lovell: Late-breaking craft guilds have been trying to change the calculus for this year’s Oscars. The two categories we’re talking about today did just that. At the American Cinema Editors, The Trial of the Chicago 7 triumphed over Sound of Metal in the drama category while non-Oscar-nominee Palm Springs won over Oscar nominee Promising Young Woman. This group clearly prefers cross-cutting between time periods within the film, more than artful editing. Will this change the likelihood of the Oscar frontrunner? Maybe. Some voters who aren’t knowledgeable in a given craft field might defer to the experts and go with The Trial of the Chicago 7 as the winner. However, a few of us have mentioned the similarities in trajectories between Whiplash six years ago and Sound of Metal this year. Indeed, they seem to be following a very comparative path with Whiplash also failing to win at the ACE and then winning on Oscar night. Coincidentally, the film Whiplash lost to at the Eddie Awards? Boyhood, which splices together footage shot several years apart. While it isn’t identical to Chicago 7 in many ways, it certainly suggests that Sound of Metal is still on slightly better footing than Trial.
Peter J. Patrick: If Sound of Metal doesn’t have this one in the bag, something’s wrong. Greyhound would seem to be its closest competition.
Tripp Burton: I’ve been all over the map on this one but I think I’ll go with my personal choice for my final prediction: Sound of Metal, with Best Picture frontrunner, Nomadland, its most likely competition.
Tripp Burton: Sound of Metal and The Trial of the Chicago 7 have split a lot of the precursor wins this year and this is a tight race between them. I’m giving the edge to Chicago 7, especially if this is the only place where voters can give it an award, but this is down to the wire.
Thomas La Tourrette: This is one category where I am still unsure. It really has always been between Sound of Metal and The Trial of the Chicago 7. Nomadland might have had a chance as it is the likely best picture winner, but that seems very doubtful now. The Father and Promising Young Woman have never stood a chance, though I am pleased that both got nominations. For a long time, I assumed it would be Sound of Metal, sort of following in the Whiplash, which won both the film editing and sound mixing Oscars. Then the guild went with Trial which is the more expensive and more known film. It really has me second guessing my prediction, and changing it at this late time. I will go with The Trial of the Chicago 7 to win in what may be the closest race of the night.

Best Cinematography

Winner Predictions

  • Judas and the Black Messiah
  • Mank
  • News of the World
  • Nomadland (WL O) (PP O) (TB O) (TL O)
  • The Trial of the Chicago 7

Runner-Up Predictions

  • Mank (WL O)(TL O)
  • News of the World (PP R) [New] (TB R) [New]

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Wesley Lovell: As mentioned above, the American Society of Cinematographers also went a different direction than the presumed Oscar frontrunner. At the Oscars, everyone expects season leader Nomadland to triumph in Best Cinematography. Nomadland has, after all, won just over 69% of the precursors up to this point for Best Cinematography. The next most honored work in this category? A tie between Mank Tenet, which each have taken four prizes, or just under 10% of the total honors available. With such a discrepancy, it was surprising that the ASC chose Mank instead of Nomadland. The only plausible explanation I could come up with was that Mank mimics Citizen Kane a great deal and Citizen Kane is one of the most influential films in history, most notably for its framing and photography, which is the kind of things voters in this organization are likely to A) identify with; and B) recognize in an homage. Still, the vast exterior settings of Nomadland are more recognizable to most Oscar voters and I suspect it still holds the front of the line, but its guaranteed dominance is now shifted down dramatically.
Peter J. Patrick: If Nomadland doesn’t win this, its hold on Best Picture will be in serious doubt. Nothing else comes close, but let’s cite News of the World as a runner-up.
Tripp Burton: A Best Picture front-runner with gorgeous cinematography is usually a shoo-in here.
Thomas La Tourrette: Nomadland has won about 70% of the precursors, and will be taking home the Oscar as well. It captures both the intimacy between the characters and gorgeous sunset vistas of the west. I have rarely seen a film so dominate in this category. For a while I thought it might get some competition from News of the World, which also boasted beautiful western scenery, but that film never captured the attention of the voters. If anything were to upset, it would be the black and white film work of Mank, which beautifully recreated the 1940s style of Citizen Kane and other epics. The ASC surprisingly gave it their award, though they do seem taken with black-and-white cinematography. Even with the guild going for Mank, I think it is inevitable that Nomadland will win this award.


Appears on Four Lists
Appears on Three Lists
Appears on Two Lists

Wesley Lovell Peter Patrick Tripp Burton Thomas LaTourrette
[New] = New Prediction
[Return] = Prior Prediction Returning
(O) = Original Prediction
(R) = Rundown Series

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