Three days ago, Oscar sluts across the Internet let out a collective groan when the American Cinema Editors gave one of their Best Edited Feature prizes to Thelma Schoonmaker (The Departed) and Stephen Mirrione and Douglas Crise (Babel). Because Oscar history tells us that the winner of this award aligns often with the winner of the top prize, we were hoping for ACE to shed some light on what may be the tightest Best Picture race ever. Now we’re left to pick a name out of a hat just like everyone else. We were ready to predict this one for United 93, simply because it’s easy to see why people would confuse the heart-skipping unease Paul Greengrass’s dubious creation rouses through its exploitation of our collective consciousness for something that was made in the editing room, but ACE’s recent decision has made us want to turn elsewhere. We still think United 93 could win, but Oscar also has a history of honoring pictures that weave more intricate Altmanesque tapestries of human misery. This should be to the advantage of The Departed, the best edited film in this category, except Schoonmaker is not in the business of cutting between a child masturbating and a gun being fired into the air—the sort of gassy hackwork that more explicitly begs for (and often gets) this award. Given the monstrosity that won last year and the lengths Babel goes to in order to make something out of nothing, we’ll give the Mirrione-Crise team the edge.
Will Win: Babel
Should Win: The Departed