More Documentaries Should Be Nominated For Best Editing Oscars – CNET – ApparelGeek

As has been clear for years now, documentaries struggle to get much recognition from the Oscars beyond the Best Documentary Feature category and sometimes the Best Original Song section. While the very nature of documentaries means they can never compete in the acting or even (usually) screenplay categories, there are still plenty of other places at the Oscars where documentaries could get some well-deserved recognition. This includes the Best Editing category, an area in which, for various reasons, documentaries should crush it. Instead, as of this writing, only a handful of documentaries (like hoop dreams) have never graced the category, a glaring shortcoming that boils down to a multitude of factors.

Documentary storytelling relies heavily on the art of editing

Image via thin lines

Editing is one of the many facets of filmmaking that we (including myself) can take for granted. We’re all so used to the shot-to-shot process in conventional filmmaking that it can be hard to remember the intricate skills and artistry it takes to pull off the best kind of editing. Only by seeing some truly startlingly bad editing, like the cuts in some of the most infamous scenes in Bohemian Rhapsody, do we realize how much craftsmanship goes into this. Documentary editing is no different, with careful and thoughtful work in this area being a requirement for any feature of this medium to reach its full potential.

RELATED: 10 Best Oscar-Winning Movies That Impacted Cinematic History

Documentaries are especially important when it comes to editing because of the number of different types of video and images these films can use. You might be jumping back and forth between segments of today’s interviews and vintage family photographs, for example, or slipping between stock footage from very different eras of the past. Juggling all of this material is crucial to making the respective scopes of individual documentaries as expansive as possible, but it also requires sublime editing to ensure that all of the different aesthetics and materials work together in harmony.

A wide range of iconic editors live and breathe the world of documentaries (although documentary editors are by no means obligated to work solely in this area) and would imagine their work to be a slam-dunk for recognition at an average Oscar ceremony. Alas, the norm over the nearly 100 years of the Oscars’ existence has been to ignore editing in documentaries in favor of making the realm of best editing exclusively one for praising narrative features. Unfortunately, this standard is linked to a particularly important problem that causes documentaries to be so often excluded from the best cut: the presence of larger non-documentary titles.

Why are documentaries so often excluded from Best Editing?

A rising tide lifts all boats, as they say, and the same can be said of films that manage to squeeze into so many categories at a single Oscar ceremony. Since the Best Picture realm has never been all about narrative features, these are the titles that gain all sorts of unstoppable momentum during awards season. When a title like The social network or Bohemian Rhapsody begins to take off with voters, it is inevitable that its influence will spread to as many categories as possible. The impact of documentaries excluded from major categories like Best Picture and Best Director means they rarely get the kind of momentum needed to score Best Editing nominations.

There’s also the factor of the type of narrative films that tend to win the Best Editing Oscar, namely big flashy films that are very pronounced in their cuts. Now, that doesn’t mean that only films that prioritize style over substance win this award, as evidenced by modern masterpieces like Whiplash or Mad Max: Fury Road winning this award. However, the very specific style of editing that worked so well for these films intersected with the showy type of editing that Oscar voters turn to when choosing nominees for Best Editing.

There are some maximalist documentaries with noticeable rapid-fire cuts, but many of the titles that get a lot of critical acclaim in any given year tend to have a calmer, less flashy tone in their editing. One of the biggest movies of 2022, documentary or otherwise, is All the beauty and bloodshed and much of its power comes from the subtly masterful editing that gracefully takes viewers through so many facets of its central subject, the photographer Nan Goldin. We travel through his letters, his photographs, images of Goldin in modern times, all without ever feeling like the feature is aimless or abrupt in its shift in focus. film editors, Amy Foote, Joe Biniand Brian A. Katesall of them are doing amazing work which is downright essential to make All the beauty and bloodshed works as well as it does.

Alas, this kind of silent editing, common in documentaries (which often deal with sensitive subjects requiring a deft and delicate touch) is not regularly highlighted by the Oscars. Another great documentary of 2022, Three minutes: lengthening, also demonstrates the kind of subtle editing that this ceremony will not recognize. Editor Catherine Wartena only works with three minutes of footage captured in the 1930s in this feature, the camera never cuts out those vintage faces. The way his editing, cutting around various parts of this footage and even deep close-ups of some background figures, keeps viewers immersed in uncovering new revelations hidden in the corners of this footage is remarkable. However, given that the scope of the documentary is intimate, it’s unlikely to have a chance of leaving an impact on Oscar voters compared to, say, Top Gun: Maverick.

Can documentaries break into the best editing this year?

Image via Family Affairs Films

Bloodshed and Extension are just two of countless examples of the kind of superb editing that has appeared in all manner of documentaries throughout 2022. There are plenty of standout features in this medium for this year to warrant at least one documentary breaking through into the Best Editing category at the Oscars, as past norm breakers like hoop dreams managed decades ago. At the moment, unfortunately, there doesn’t seem to be much indication that change is on the horizon, especially since the hottest films of 2022 are all narrative features. But constantly talking about the virtues of documentary film editing and highlighting the contributions of these editors is at least a step towards the Oscars correcting this oversight more frequently in the future. Editors are just as important in documentaries as in any other style of cinematic storytelling and it’s time for the Oscars to recognize them as such more frequently.

We would love to say thanks to the writer of this short article for this awesome content

More Documentaries Should Be Nominated For Best Editing Oscars – CNET – ApparelGeek