This Oscar season the best editing navigated complex mood swings in breaking barriers and dealing with love, hate, fear, fame, and power in nominees “BlacKkklansman,” “Bohemian Rhapsody,”“The Favourite,” “Green Book,” and “Vice.”
In “The Favourite,” Yorgos Lanthimos turns the period drama on is head with a wicked comedy about a love triangle set in the royal palace of Queen Anne (Olivia Colman) at the dawn of the 18th century. The frail and child-like queen struggles to maintain her power, while rival cousins Sarah (Rachel Weisz) and Abigail (Emma Stone) attempt to wield it by currying favor.
But for editor Yorgos Mavropsaridis, the key to balancing the three characters was to stress the existential situation. It began by changing the opening with the arrival of Abigail in her carriage to the more imperative discussion of love between Anne and Sarah.
Mavropsaridis also experimented with the scene in the woods which Abigail finds a natural balm to treat the queen. By making it more nuanced, her scheming plan becomes less obvious.
Peter Farrelly’s true-life “Green Book” balances comedy and drama in its “Odd Couple” pairing of African-American pianist Don Shirley (Mahershala Ali) and Tony Vallelonga (Viggo Mortensen), his driver and bodyguard on their tour of the Deep South in 1962.
For editor Patrick Don Vito, it was a matter of making sure the comedy grew out of the situation rather than appearing as a series of jokes to relieve the tension. By staying on the two-shot in the cars, the takes would often be so complete that he could just let the interplay happen.
But it’s Shirley’s subtle character arc that anchors the dramedy, whether it’s his hilarious introduction to Kentucky Fried Chicken or his stirring breakdown in the rain about his personal and professional isolation.
The contenders are ranked by their likelihood of winning:
“BlacKkklansman” (Barry Alexander Brown)
“Bohemian Rhapsody” (John Ottman)
“The Favourite” (Yorgos Mavropsaridis)
“Green Book” (Patrick J. Don Vito)
“Vice” (Hank Corwin)