Do you know who directed your favorite film? The answer to that is probably, “yes”. Now, do you know who edited your favorite film? That’s a fact that far less people know. You see, any good editor will say they want their work to go unnoticed because that means they did a good job. Since it is good practice to learn from the best, we’re going to unveil the five of the best modern day professional movie editors so you can learn who is really behind the magic of the movies.

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1. Michael Kahn

Michael Kahn

Michael Kahn is a three time winner of the Academy Award for film editing. He works primarily with Steven Spielberg, and his awards come for three of Spielberg’s most popular movies: Raiders of the Lost Arc, Schindler’s List and Saving Private Ryan. Since Spielberg loves the feel and smell of film, this dynamic pair still works on a Miviola. Even though he’s not using the most modern of equipment, Michael Kahn is still regarded as one of the most successful film editors in recent years.

2. Thelma Schoonmaker

Thelma Schoonmaker

Much like Michael Kahn, Thelma Schoonmaker is also a three time winner of the Academy Award for film editing. She has been working with Martin Scorsese for over 40 years and has edited every single one of his films since Raging Bull. It was for that first Scorsese film, along with The Aviator and The Departed, that she was awarded the Oscars. Schoonmaker once said, “… Editing is a lot about patience and discipline and just banging away at something, turning off the machine and going home at night because you’re frustrated and depressed, and then coming back in the morning to try again.”

3. Walter Murch

Walter Murch

Walter Murch is an extraordinary editor, not because of the number of awards he has won, but how he achieved them. Murch is the only person to have won an award for both sound mixing and editing on the same film (The English Patient). He was also the first person to win an award for editing on a non-linear editing system. In fact, Murch is the only editor to have been nominated for editing using four different editing platforms. Clearly, this is a man that has learned to adapt and excel with today’s ever changing technologies.

4. Chris Dickens

Chris Dickens

Chris Dickens is the man who edited the Academy Award winning movie Slumdog Millionaire. He received rave reviews for successfully braiding together three separate story lines in that movie, creating one of the most compelling and cohesive films of modern days. Dickens has also edited some recent pop culture hits, including Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz.

5. Angus Wall

Angus Wall

Angus Wall was one of the editors on last year’s winner for Best Film Editing, The Social Network. The fact that The Social Network did not go on to win Best Picture actually speaks quite a bit to Angus’ skill as an editor. He was able to take a story that the Academy did not consider award-winning and he turned it into an artistic masterpiece that they though was deserving of an Oscar. In addition to his work on The Social Network, Wall was also nominated for Best Film Editing for his work on the very visually complex film, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.

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