This article contains IndieWire’s preliminary Best Editing predictions for the 2023 Oscars. We regularly update our predictions throughout awards season and republish previous versions (like this one) for readers to track changes in how the Oscar race has changed. For the latest update on the frontrunners for the 95th Academy Awards, see our 2023 Oscars predictions hub.
The State of the Race
Nominated Wednesday for the 73rd annual ACE Eddie Awards were “All Quiet on the Western Front,” “Elvis,” “TÁR,” “Top Gun: Maverick,” and “The Woman King” (Drama, Theatrical), and “The Banshees of Inisherin,” “Everything Everywhere All at Once,” “Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery,” “The Menu,” and “Triangle of Sadness” (Comedy, Theatrical). The ceremony will be held March 5 at UCLA’s Royce Hall.
Between the two categories, there are all five Best Film Editing Oscar nominees: “Elvis,” “Everything Everywhere All at Once,” “TÁR,” “The Banshees of Inisherin,” and “Top Gun: Maverick.” Yet often the Oscar and Eddie winners don’t coincide. Last year, for example, Eddie winner “King Richard” beat eventual Oscar winner “Dune.” This year could see another split or a consensus vote.
Meanwhile, in terms of Best Editing as a barometer for the Academy’s top prize, keep in mind that the last time they coincided was in 2012, as part of a three-Oscar haul for “Argo.” But with “EEAAO” as a strong Best Picture favorite, perhaps the 10-year drought will end.
The Best Editing Oscar field is led by past winner Mikkel E. G. Nielsen (“Sound of Metal”) for “The Banshees of Inisherin” and four first-time nominees: Matt Villa and Jonathan Redmond (“Elvis”), Paul Rogers (“Everything Everywhere All at Once”), Monika Willi (“TÁR,”), and Eddie Hamilton (“Top: Gun Maverick”). Four newcomers vied for Best Editing as recently as 2021, when two-time nominee Alan Baumgarten was joined by Nielsen, Yorgos Lamprinos (“The Father”), director Chloé Zhao (“Nomadland”), and Frédéric Thoraval (“Promising Young Woman”).
This year’s race runs the gamut from high-flying spectacle (“Maverick”), multiverse action wrapped around a core of family drama and comedy (“EEAAO”), a musical carnival ride (“Elvis”), a psychological drama set in the world of classical music (“TÁR”), and a blend of melancholy and absurd whimsy (“The Banshees”). It looks like the winner will be either of the two flashiest works, “Maverick” and “EEAAO”; “Maverick” has been the frontrunner for Hamilton’s technical virtuosity. He assembled and cut more than 813 hours of amazing aerial footage (courtesy of the innovative Sony Rialto Camera Extension System overseen by snubbed cinematographer Claudio Miranda) , that put the audience inside the Navy jet cockpits with Tom Cruise’s Maverick. It was a complex puzzle to construct, but the end result played effortlessly, kinetically, and emotionally.
Cracking the genre-bending “EEAAO” for editor Paul Rogers was about finding the emotional connection between Michelle Yeoh’s stressed-out mother and Stephanie Hsu’s rebellious daughter — nominated for Best Actress and Best Supporting Actress, respectively — who become combatants in the Daniels’ maximalist kung-fu epic. The bombastic editing and the wild aesthetic choices were carefully layered onto the central arc by Rogers, who managed to dabble with freeform and experimentation during the “verse jumping.”
Balancing comedy and drama was a far cry from “Sound of Metal” for Nielsen, who also had to contend with the challenge of rushing in after the passing of Martin McDonagh’s go-to editor Jon Gregory. Nielsen’s “dream scenario” for his role in the escalating feud between estranged drinking buddies Pádraic (Best Actor nominee Colin Farrell) and Colm (Best Supporting Actor nominee Brendan Gleeson) was to go unnoticed — despite having shaped the sequences and focused the material from a selection of 1,314 edits. In helping McDonagh’s search for the simple within the complexities of this dark fable/Irish Civil War allegory, Nielsen hoped to create a beautiful and sad breakup story that raises a lot of questions and engages audiences through its characters and sense of the unexpected.
Baz Luhrmann’s delirious “Elvis” was modeled after “Amadeus,” with Tom Hanks’ conniving manager, Colonel Parker, functioning as unreliable narrator and Best Actor nominee Austin Butler serving as the legendary, self-destructive musical superstar. This allowed Villa and Redmond to find creative ways to balance the personal story of Elvis with the musical set pieces, which were treated like action sequences.
For Willi, Todd Field’s “TÁR” was a work of high precision. It explores the public and private worlds of conductor/composer Lydia Tár (Cate Blanchett, the Best Actress favorite), which are filled with great tension and anxiety. It’s a cold, calculating dance between subjectivity and reality. The main challenge was transposing the existing musicality of Gustav Mahler and different tempi into a new cinematic composition. This was achieved through extensive sound work during the editing process, while never losing focus on Lydia and her inescapable demons.
Below are the nominees ranked in order of likelihood to win:
“Top Gun: Maverick” (Paramount)
“Everything Everywhere All at Once” (A24)
“The Banshees of Inisherin” (Searchlight Pictures)
“Elvis” (Warner Bros.)
“TÁR” (Focus Features)
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