Kirk Baxter and Angus Wall‘s editing of The Social Network is so clean, swift and seamless that you could almost overlook it. But of course, the American Cinema Editors didn’t. Last night they gave their big Eddie award to the TSN guys instead of to The King’s Speech‘s Tariq Anwar. Does this mean the Best Picture Oscar tide may be shifting? Doubt it. I think that the editors simply decided that they liked the cutting of The Social Network better than that of The King’s Speech. Nothing beyond that.
At 1:02 am this morning Deadline‘s Pete Hammond ran one of his “did we just feel a small earthquake tremor?” analysis pieces. On the heels of last weekend’s BAFTA editing award win, the Eddie win reps “a big psychological boost” for Team Network, he says. The use of the term “psychological boost” obviously implies a presumption on Hammond’s part that the TSN guys were in a state of psychological slumber and/or resignation prior to the Eddie Win. If Anwar had won last night would Hammond have called this a psychological boost for The King’s Speech?
Hammond then mentions that any film favored to win Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Editing Oscars (which Network is almost certain to do) almost always indicates a Best Picture winner unless — this is me talking here — it’s an exceptionally good film that doesn’t deliver in lump-in-the-throat, comfort-blanket terms. (Sample sentiment: “We can’t give an Oscar to a movie about a brilliant but chilly computer dweeb who screws over his best friend.”) Traffic, for example, won Oscars for direction, adapted screenplay and editing 11 years ago but lost the Best Picture Oscar to Gladiator because Traffic didn’t provide huggy-bear assurances.
Oft stated, can’t hurt to repeat: the huggy-bear requirement was apparently set aside over the last four years when The Departed, No Country for Old Men, Slumdog Millionaire and The Hurt Locker won the Best Picture Oscar, but the recent King’s Speech surge indicates that it’s now back in force. Traffic, for example, won Oscars for direction, adapted screenplay and editing 11 years ago but lost the Best Picture Oscar to Gladiator.
On top of which, Hammond reminds, is the tendency of the Academy’s preferential voting system to “favor a consensus film like The King’s Speech,” making it “entirely possible” that “this weird split could be the scenario next Sunday at the Kodak.”