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Patrick Goldstein Reveals True Barometer for Best Picture Winners

From the get-go this awards season, the race for the Academy Awards’ top prize of Best Picture has always been seen as coming down to a fast-talking Harvard student vs. a stuttering British King. Following Tuesday’s nominations, LA Times media columnist Patrick Goldstein is still of that opinion, but in pooh-poohing Variety‘s separate pronouncement that True Grit is a renewed Best Picture contender, he shares a fascinating predictive stat.

If there is one key indicator that provides the most accurate prediction of a film’s Best Picture chances, it is not how many nominations the film received, but whether it earned an all-important nomination for Best Editing. In fact, not since Ordinary People way, way back in 1980 has a film won Best Picture without also being nominated for the Best Editing award.

The five nominees for Best Editing this year are The Social Network, The King’s Speech, The Fighter, 127 Hours and The Black Swan. Unless True Grit is able to ride off with an Ordinary People-like upset on February 27th, those final three Best Editing nominees are your best Oscar pool bets for a split-vote Best Picture upset.

It has been said that a film is “written” three times: once on the page, once when filmed and once more in the editing suite. Still, who knew bleary-eyed editors had such power beyond post? Word up, MPEG!

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