Editing is one of the hardest aspects of filmmaking to reward from memory because you generally aren’t trying to keep track of every little cut while you’re watching a movie. I’ve tried my best to remember which movies had editing that really stuck out to me, but just the same try to take this with a grain of salt.
- Boyhood: I’m not exactly sure whether Richard Linklater cut the various sections of Boyhood as he went along or whether it was one big massive cutting session at the end. I suspect it was the former, but either way it’s amazing how cohesively the various sections came together at the end. I feel like most people trying to make a movie like this would have had some cheesy transition effect inbetween the various years but Linklater finds the most natural of ways to go from section to section.
- Captain America: The Winter Soldier: Captain America: The Winter Soldier probably had the best pure action editing of the year. The film has a lot of really spread out set-pieces that could have been a huge mess if they weren’t edited together properly, but the editing team did a great job of keeping these sequences fast, clear, and exciting. This is especially true of the final set piece, which involved the intercutting of a number of action scenes in a number of different places.
- Edge of Tomorrow: Within the action scene Edge of Tomorrow is a solidly but not exceptionally edited film. What really pushes it into the realm of the awards-worthy is the way it handles the film’s “relive a day” gimmick. It’s a trick that had been previously done in the movie Groundhog Day, but the editors on that film didn’t need to cut into and out of action sequences. The editors here need to figure out exactly where in a day they needed to start a scene in order to make it clear which part of his repeated day we’re jumping into.
- Gone Girl: The editing style of David Fincher’s films noticeably changed with the movie Panic Room, where he started working with an editor named Angus Wall and this new style solidified when they started to be co-edited by a guy named Kirk Baxter. Gone Girl is the first Fincher film that Baxter has the sole editing credit on and he’s continued the tradition of amazingly crisp Fincher editing without really missing a beat.
- Whiplash: Something about the title “Whiplash” just seemed to demand some really strong fast paced editing, and the people working on cutting this movie were able to rise to the occasion. The cutting really picks up during the musical performance sequence where they need to rapidly cut between wide shots of the whole orchestra, mid shots of Teller’s playing, closeups of Teller’s intense focus, and reaction shots of J.K. Simmons conducting. Then there was that whole car crash scene they needed to cut.