Porirua editor up for Os­car


Os­car nom­i­na­tions are an­nounced at 5am and that’s ex­actly when Kiwi film editor John Gil­bert was sud­denly wo­ken up.

‘‘The phone started go­ing ding, ding, ding with all the mes­sages and I knew it must be good.’’

The Porirua-based free­lance film editor re­ceived an Os­car nod for Best Edit­ing last week for his work on Hack­saw Ridge, pro­duced by Mel Gib­son.

Speak­ing from Los An­ge­les, Gil­bert said he was ‘‘happy, but re­ally quite ex­hausted’’ with all the at­ten­tion.

‘‘It’s been a nor­mal work day for me, but I think I’ve had around 500 emails, which is a bit dis­tract­ing,’’ he said.

‘‘I did send Mel a mes­sage to con­grat­u­late him. It was a sur­prise, we re­ally weren’t that op­ti­mistic.

‘‘An­drew Garfield [the lead ac­tor] was go­ing off his nut.’’

Set in World War II, Hack­saw Ridge tells the story of United States Army medic Des­mond T Doss, who was at the Bat­tle of Ok­i­nawa and re­fused to kill peo­ple.

He was the first man in Amer­i­can his­tory to re­ceive the Medal of Hon­our with­out fir­ing a shot.

The nom­i­na­tion fol­lowed a BAFTA nod ear­lier this month and was the cul­mi­na­tion of a year’s work for the editor.

He said au­di­ences were in for a treat.

‘‘Mel wanted it to be un­com­pro­mis­ing in terms of the bat­tle scenes and we’ve achieved that.

‘‘Think Sav­ing Pri­vate Ryan, but that scene opened that movie - in ours you get to know the char­ac­ters be­fore they’re blown up.’’

Spend­ing three months piec­ing to­gether a ‘‘vis­ceral and hor­rific bat­tle scene’’ might sound daunt­ing, but Gil­bert said he was not af­fected by the gore.

‘‘I’m very aware of the ar­ti­fice of it - it doesn’t bother me which may well be a fail­ing on my part.’’

The film was shot in Aus­tralia which dou­bled as Ok­i­nawa - a long way from the house where Gil­bert lives with his fam­ily in Seav­iew Rd, Pare­mata.

‘‘I’ve spent a lot of time over­seas in the last ten years. A lot of the chal­leng­ing, big-bud­get work is over there. I’ve prob­a­bly done only three New Zealand films in 18 years.’’

His fam­ily trav­els with him and his two young daugh­ters have been tak­ing the Os­car nom­i­na­tion in their stride.

‘‘My 12-year-old will take a photo if my name ap­pears some­where and post it to her In­sta­gram, but that’s about it.’’

Hack­saw Ridge is up against Ar­rival, Hell or High Water, La La Land and Moon­light for the Acad­emy Award for Best Edit­ing.

The Os­cars cer­e­mony is on Fe­bru­ary 26.

‘‘The phone started go­ing ding, ding, ding with all the mes­sages and I knew it must be good.’’

John Gil­bert in Porirua. The free­lance film editor has been nom­i­nated for an Acad­emy Award for Best Edit­ing for his work on Hack­saw Ridge.

Hack­saw Ridge fea­tures the Bat­tle of Ok­i­nawa from World War II.

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