How the Eddie Predicts the Oscar, and Why '127 Hours' Took 'Inception's' Editing Nom

So who’s going to win the Oscar for best picture? The one group in Hollywood that usually holds the key to the answer are the film editors.  An Oscar-winning editor explains this year's race.

Over the past five years, the American Cinema Editors' Eddie Award for best-edited feature, the best editing Oscar, and the best picture Oscar have marched in lockstep -- except for 2007 when The Bourne Ultimatum won both editing tropies, while No Country for Old Men won the Academy Award for best picture.

No film has won the Oscar for best picture without having first received at least a best editing nomination at the Eddies since Ordinary People in 1981.

Alan Heim, an ACE past president and both an Oscar and Eddie winner for All That Jazz, shares some theories in the wake of this year’s Oscar nominations announcement.

“The best pictures usually have really good stories to tell, and editors are very good storytellers,” he says. “It is a question of how the editor approaches a film and give it a pace and life. The contribution of the editor is enormous.”

This year, four of the five Oscar nominees matched the previously-announced ACE nominees list: Black Swan, The Fighter, The King’s Speech and The Social Network -- and all four are also nominated for best picture.

To the surprise of many, though, best picture nominee Inception was not also nominated for its editing, although it had earlier scored an ACE nom.

Instead, the Academy’s film editors branch chose to nominate 127 Hours, another best picture nominee.

Heim thinks the outcome wasn’t all that surprising. Speaking of Inception, he says, “The film was so incredibly complex, I think a lot of it went over the heads of people,” although he adds, “it was dazzling, and the editing was terrific.”

As for Hours, he offers, “127 Hours was a brilliantly done story. It was so claustrophobic. The editing moved you away from that. It was so cleverly planned.”