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The Top 25 Best Film Editing Winners So Far (Updated)

It’s time for another one, ladies and gentlemen! Continuing a tradition I’ve been keen on for years, I’m ranking the new crop of Academy Award winners. For nearly all of the Oscar categories, you’ll see me list the top 25 recipients of that prize. Sometimes, our newest winner will appear. Other times, they’ll be relegated to the Honorable Mention category. Who knows, maybe one or two won’t even make the cut? It’s a list series that I’ll do each and every single year, in the weeks after the ceremony concludes. So, while this is a fun way to think about the Oscars in the aftermath of the latest telecast, it’s also a beginning for another column here on the site. Of course, definitely show us your own lists as well, in the comments section below. We’re definitely keen to know what you think!

This week, we’re honing in on the Best Film Editing category. I know I mention it in a handful of categories, but this is another where best can mean most sometimes. As much as that can be the case, there are some real instances where the Editing on display is just phenomenal. Of course, the queen of editors is Thelma SchoonmakerMartin Scorsese‘s longtime editor. She’s cited twice below in my top five, for The Departed and Raging Bull. Making up the top tier list of winners for me, in addition to those, is The MatrixSaving Private Ryan, and Who Framed Roger Rabbit. Which one took my top spot? Where did the latest winner in Dune and Joe Walker slot in? Did Sound of Metal  retain its position among the honorable mentions, or did it move down/up? Read on to find out…

Here are what I consider to be the 25 best winners of the Best Film Editing Oscar, to date:

25. Lawrence of Arabia
24. Rocky
23. Slumdog Millionaire
22. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
21. Ben-Hur
20. Jaws
19. High Noon
18. Dune
17. JFK
16. The Social Network
15. On the Waterfront
14. Star Wars
13. Traffic
12. Argo
11. Raiders of the Lost Ark
10. The Bourne Ultimatum
9. Whiplash
8. The Hurt Locker
7. Dunkirk
6. Black Hawk Down
5. The Departed
4. Who Framed Roger Rabbit
3. Saving Private Ryan
2. Raging Bull
1. The Matrix

Honorable Mention: The Adventures of Robin Hood, Bullitt, Ford v Ferrari, Gravity, Mad Max: Fury Road, and Sound of Metal

Stay tuned for another category later on this week or early next week!


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Robert Hamer
5 months ago

One of the things that separates the best film editing from good or even great film editing, to me, is the raw material they had to work with.

I’m oversimplifying somewhat, but you could sum up Star Wars and Jaws as movies with fraught shoots full of production setbacks that resulted in a pile of unusable footage that were spun into masterpieces by extremely hard-working and shrewd editors. That always made me partial to those as two of the Academy’s most spot-on decisions for this award.

5 months ago
Reply to  Joey Magidson

Challenging list to make! Some are character driven others are more action oriented others are a combination of fantasy and reality . They overlap some but they are very different so it’s difficult to rank together.The Best Years of Our Lives gives enough time to each story but doesn’t have a lot of padding. What pulls the movie together and makes it interesting that’s good editing ( I think)

1. Who Framed Roger Rabbit
2. Gravity
3. Chicago
4. Star Wars
5. The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo
6. Schindler’s List
7. On The Waterfront
8. The Sound of Music
9. Witness
10, The Killing Fields
11. The Apartment
12. Jaws
13, Mary Poppins
14. Argo
15. The Best Years of Our Lives
16. Slumdog Millionaire
17. Cabaret
18. The Sting
19. Sound of Metal
20 . Platoon
21. The English Patient
22. JFK
23. Saving Private Ryan
24. West Side Story
25. The Aviator
HM Ranging Bull, Bullitt , National Velvet, High Noon, The Adventures of Robin Hood

5 months ago
Reply to  Anonymous

I don’t know how my name wasn’t in there but that’s my list above not anonymous!

5 months ago
Reply to  Joey Magidson

Several of them are due for another viewing.There are others I still want to see so it could be a fluid list .



Written by Joey Magidson

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