The key to Dunkirk is the high-wire balancing act between three different timelines in three different locations (land, sea, and air). Lee Smith’s work editing the film earned him Best Film Editing at the 2018 Oscars at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles on Sunday.
“This is the most awesome thing that can happen to a guy like me,” Smith said in his acceptance speech.
This award marks Smith’s first win, on his third nomination, having previously earned nods for his editing on Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World and a previous collaboration with director Christopher Nolan, The Dark Knight.
Smith beat out Paul Machliss and Jonathan Amos (Baby Driver), Tatiana S. Riegel (I, Tonya), Sidney Wolinsky (The Shape of Water), and Jon Gregory (Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri) for the win.
Backstage, Smith spoke to reporters about his fruitful working relationship with Nolan. “I think if you have similar tastes as the people you work with, you tend to work with them on many, many films,” he said. “Some people say a combative relationship does wonders for films, but in my experience the complete reverse is that if you’re looking at things and you’re liking them and you’re hearing music and you’re feeling the same emotion, then you’re in sync with each other. So that rolls over into many, many films of collaboration, and of course there becomes a shorthand.”
For the full list of 2018 Oscar winners, click here.