Technical Takeaways from the 2023 Oscars Cinematography and Editing Nominations


Film buffs and industry veterans are gearing up for the year’s biggest film awards ceremony: the 95th Academy Awards. While every category up for the iconic golden statuette is defined by a career’s worth of experience and skill, two of the most technical awards featured at the awards show are Best Cinematography and Best Film Editing. What can the larger media industry takeaway, at an industry trend and technical level, from the 2023 Oscars cinematography and editing nominations?

Recent winners have included Rodger Deakins infamous ‘one take’ film 1917, as well as Alfonso Cuarón stunning the world by directing, shooting, co-editing, and producing his 2018 film Roma. This year’s nominees certainly follow in that ostentatious heritage. From Mandy Walker’s Elvis to James Friend’s All Quiet on the Western Front, cinematography is again soaking up the limelight in 2023.

When it comes to the Oscar for editing, not all recent winners are so flashy.  Sure, you’ve got Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirk winning the category in 2018 under editor Lee Smith, and Denis Villeneuve’s Dune winning last year under editor Joe Walker, but mellower cuts have taken the Oscar before. This year’s nominees showcase that divide specifically between the ostentatious Everything Everywhere All at Once under editor Paul Rodgers to the much mellower The Banshees of Inisherin under editor Mikkel E. G. Nielsen. Only time will tell which the Academy prefers.

Considering these are the Academy’s top picks for the cream of the cutting room crop, what do the nominees in both categories say about evolving tastes and trends among film professionals? For his thoughts on the 2023 Oscars cinematography and editing nominations lineup, creative lead at MarketScale Ricardo Santiago runs us through what to expect and what is catching his eye from the Best Cinematography and Best Film Editing nominees.

Ricardo’s Thoughts:

“Hello, my name is Ricardo Santiago. I’m the creative lead over video editing at MarketScale, and today I just wanted to go over the Oscar nominations for the cinematography and editing categories….

So first off, starting off with the cinematography category, we’re gonna talk about Elvis. Elvis is by far one of the best shot movies this year. It is one of the most excitingly shot movies. Baz Luhrmann, the director, is known for this very grandiose, very looking back at his older movies, like Great Gatsby-esque style, Roaring Twenties, just over the top hedonistic, and it pairs really well depicting the life of Elvis, one of the first major rock stars. And I think they knocked the cinematography out of the park.

Another one that I’ve really enjoyed from the cinematography category, Tár. Tár is a movie about a composer, one of the best composers in her cinematic universe, but the cinematography in Tár is stellar, not because of its grandiosity, but its subtlety. It knows how to bring the audience in and just give that elegant moment of release. They did a fantastic job with the cinematography and that one, personally that is my choice for the winner.

And then in editing…I can talk about editing all day, but Banshees of Inisherin, one of the most patient movies I think they’ve come out with in a very long time. And as far as editing goes especially with audiences nowadays, a patient edit is something that’s very hard to do, and they knock that one out of the park.

Elvis, it’s very easy to turn biopic into a glorified Wikipedia page, but the editing and stylistic choices that Matt Villa and Jonathan Redmond choose in sequencing Elvis really lends it this very unique…hedonistic feel. They did a really good job with the editing.

Everything Everywhere All at Once is a movie that I cannot talk about enough. It is a mid-budget movie with high-budget acting, high-budget directing it. It’s a mid-budget movie with a high-budget attitude and the editing really showcases that. So, it’s five people working on all the visual effects and all the editing for this movie, and you wouldn’t know. It gives the feel of a much higher budget movie than what it actually is. Very impressive. And as far as editing goes, that is my pick.

Tár is the last one that I’ll talk about in the editing category. Enough has been said about Top Gun: Maverick, but Tár as far as editing goes, you know, pointing back to what I said about it during cinematography, it’s a very elegant, very technically focused edit. And as far as classical editing goes, they really knocked it out of the park.”

Article by Graham P. Johnson.

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