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Christopher Nolan’s longtime collaborator in the editing room, Australian Lee Smith, won his first Oscar on Sunday, for Nolan’s World War II epic Dunkirk, which brilliantly combined narratives taking place on land, in the air and at sea.
This was his third nomination, having previously been nominated for Nolan’s The Dark Knight and Peter Weir’s Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World.
Smith’s collaboration with Nolan started with Batman Begins, and has included seven films such as The Prestige, The Dark Knight Rises and Inception. “I think if you have similar tastes to people you work with, you tend to work with them on many films. [if] you feel the same emotion, you are in sync,” he said backstage. “There becomes a short hand working with people that you always work with.”
At the Oscars, his work on Dunkirk bested a field of nominees that included Jonathan Amos and Paul Machliss for Baby Driver; Tatiana S. Riegel for I, Tonya; Sidney Wolinsky for The Shape of Water; and John Gregory for Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.
Read Smith’s full speech below:
I just want — I just want to say, this is the most awesome thing that can happen to a guy like me. I really want to just start by thanking Christopher Nolan, who, they moved me from over there to sit with him. Because Chris is an editor himself, I mean, he doesn’t handle the actual equipment and I’m very, very happy for that. His fabulous wife, Emma, always supportive, great producer. Incredible, I mean, Dunkirk was truly the most amazing film, and I’m very fortunate to have worked on it. I’d also like to thank my beautiful wife sitting over there, Kimberley, my daughter up in the nosebleed section. Wherever. My — I’m wrapping up, I’m wrapping up. Melanie Ramsay, John Lee, my editorial assistants, Warner Bros, the Academy, can’t talk any quicker. I’m an editor, I should be able to do this very quickly. [Presenter] Matthew McConaughey, awesome. Thank you.
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