‘Everything Everywhere All At Once’ Is the First Comedy to Win Best Film Editing Since ‘Roger Rabbit’

The Oscar category most favors war films, action epics and musical biopics

Everything Everywhere All at Once

With its win for Best Film Editing on Sunday, “Everything Everywhere All At Once” became the first comedy to score this statuette in an astonishing 34 years — since 1988’s “Who Framed Roger Rabbit.”

Editor Paul Rogers’ deft handling of multiverses is likely what garnered his work more votes from the Academy than his competition: “Elvis,” “Top Gun: Maverick,” “The Banshees of Inisherin” and “Tár.” But despite a heartwarming plot thread about the power of family, “EEAAO” is still at its heart an outlandish, overt comedy, complete with hot dog fingers, magical bagels and a racoon-meets-Ratatouille subplot.

A mere glance at winners in this category proves the extraordinary rarity of this victory. Limiting the list to recent decades, it has been thoroughly dominated by war films (“Dunkirk,” “Hacksaw Ridge,” “The Hurt Locker,” “Black Hawk Down”), ensemble pieces (“Traffic,” “Crash,” “Argo”), action epics (“Mad Max: Fury Road,” “The Bourne Ultimatum,” “Dune”) and musical dramas (“Bohemian Rhapsody,” “Whiplash”).

Between the Oscar for “Who Framed Roger Rabbit” in 1989 and the one for “EEAAO” tonight, the only other Film Editing winner that could possibly be categorized a comedy is 2002’s “Chicago.” That Best Picture Oscar winner did indeed sweep the Golden Globes in the musical/comedy category the same year. But it was the Rob Marshall movie’s musical elements that we suspect sealed its victory in the Best Film Editing race.

Not so in this case. Rogers’ accomplishment in editing connects more directly with Arthur Schmidt’s careful splicing of realistic and absurdist rhythms in his work on “Roger Rabbit.” In their respective films, Rogers and Schmidt also needed to blend special effects with live-action footage, often for comic effect.

Now 85, Schmidt won a second Oscar in 1995 for “Forrest Gump,” and his credits also include comedies such as “Ruthless People” and “Back to the Future.” Until now, Rogers has worked mostly in music videos, shorts, and television. His biggest previous feature editing credit was for “The Death of Dick Long” (directed by “EEAAO” co-director Daniel Scheinert), a dark comedy about a man killed during intercourse with a horse.