Frame.io has done a commendably deep dive into this year’s Oscars and come up with some genuinely fascinating trends and workflow analyses. The answer? Oh, it will surprise you.
For a start, ‘Parasite’ wasn’t cut on Avid, which has dominated the Academy Awards of late. Indeed, in 2020 the vast majority of Oscar-nominated movies were cut on the software, but two that weren’t are well worth highlighting. ‘Parasite’ was cut on Final Cut Pro 7 and ‘The Irishman’ was cut on Lightworks.
As Frame.io writes in its excellent detailed blog post on the topic, “Jinmo Yang edited ‘Parasite’ on Final Cut Pro 7 because he taught himself to use FCP in college, and ‘The Irishman' was done on Lightworks, because Thelma Schoonmaker’s been using it since she cut ‘Casino’ in 1995.”
The two movies are at opposite ends of the budget spectrum of the winners too; ‘Parasite’ costing a comparatively meagre $11 million and ‘The Irishman’ a rather more whopping $160 million.
Most nominees were shot using Arri ALEXA, though four used film (Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood, Marriage Story, Little Women, and the non-FX footage for The Irishman), a trend which Frame.io attributes to attempts to bake in period authenticity. And invisible effects shots were legion; ‘Parasite’ used 400 alone.
There are some really interesting graphics in the analysis as well, such as the following tables of crew size and days of principal photography below, and some excellent insights from the people involved regarding the production details of ‘Parasite’ (“Despite FCP 7’s age, it was more than capable of handling ProRes HD proxies of the Alexa 65 masters, with After Effects alongside for timing and pre-visualization of the numerous invisible VFX shots,” says lead editor Jinmo Yang), ‘Marriage Story’, ‘Joker’, ‘Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood’ and others.
In fact, we don’t often link to other people’s articles, but this is one that’s definitely worth a few minutes of your time: Workflow Breakdown of Every 2020 Oscars Best Picture and Editing Nominee.