Oscar Preview: Editing

A category-by-category look at the Oscar crafts shoot

It is frequently postulated that the best editing doesn't call attention to itself, but, more often than not, the films that earn a nod from the Academy are the ones that metaphorically scream "look at me!" with fast cuts and intricately interwoven story lines. With this in mind, the favorite in this category should be the artfully hyperkinetic "Slumdog Millionaire" (Chris Dickens), which careens through its narrative, back and forth through time.

Several other exercises in slam-bang storytelling that will likely wind up beside "Slumdog" on the list of nominees include "The Dark Knight" (Lee Smith) and "Quantum of Solace" (Matt Chesse/Richard Pearson), the latter of which is the shortest James Bond film ever at 106 minutes.

Although it can be argued that it is more a feat of screenwriting than of editing, the act of threading multiple narratives into a cohesive whole tends to capture the attention of Oscar voters, a fact that bodes well for "Changeling" (Joel Cox/Gary D. Roach), which weaves the stories of a mother who's lost her child, a serial killer and a radio evangelist together on a historical collision course.

It's also possible that the cinema verite-style, back-and-forth romp through President George W. Bush's personal history in Lionsgate's "W." (Joe Hutshing/Julie Monroe) could earn a nod, but lack of strong enthusiasm for the film as a whole hurts its chances. The documentary aesthetic is embraced more wholeheartedly -- and more effectively -- in Sony Pictures Classics' "Rachel Getting Married" (Tim Squyres), which is a strong dark horse contender.

The Academy has also shown a penchant to honor musicals in this category, making "Mamma Mia!" another one to watch here.

Sadly, one film that probably won't earn a nomination is one of the most deserving: "WALL-E" (Stephen Schaffer). Why? Historically, the Academy doesn't honor animated films in this category.

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