‘King Richard’ Editor-in-Chief Pamela Martin Is an Industry Pioneer


NEW YORK — At the Oscars next Sunday, Will Smith is the big favorite to win his first Oscar for playing the title role of “King Richard,” the father of Venus and Serena Williams.

But as part of Women’s History Month, we’re going behind the scenes at this film to recognize another of the nominees.

Pamela Martin was editor-in-chief of “King Richard”, in a field still dominated by men, even if editors have worked in Hollywood since the birth of cinema.

Thelma Schoonmaker has won three Oscars for half a century of working with director Martin Scorsese, but she remains an exception – and that’s why Martin has worked so hard behind the scenes to help diversify the ranks of editors working at the big movies.

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Martin said the pace of the sport of tennis is crucial in telling the story of how two sisters became superstars.

Venus and Serena Williams were trained by their father, known as “King Richard” Williams.

“You got a lot of balls in the air on that one, and it took a lot of tweaking to get it right,” she said.

Martin grew up in New York but “didn’t have a movie family”.

“I didn’t know anyone who had done that,” she said. “I was just interested in that.”

A 30-year-old NYU graduate, she found very few female mentors in the city’s cutting rooms.

“It actually boiled down to me working my cock,” she said. “And I’ve always been recommended by everyone I’ve worked with.”

Her career took a boost when she was recommended to two filmmakers who would later be nominated for Oscars: Ang Lee, who won multiple times, and David O. Russell.

Russell’s film “The Fighter” will result in Martin’s first Oscar nomination for editing and will lead directly to “King Richard” and its director Reinaldo Marcus Green.

“Reinaldo told me he came to see me to do this film because two of his references for this film are two films that I edited,” she said. “‘Little Miss Sunshine’ and ‘The Fighter’, and he’s a huge fan of both.”

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The two met years ago at the Sundance Institute in Utah, which was created by Robert Redford to train young filmmakers.

Martin has long taken contact with these emerging artists seriously.

“People from all walks of life want to see their stories on screen,” she said. “And it’s our responsibility, especially the people who have made it there and are at a good stage in their careers, to bring everyone with them. It’s very important.”

Martin believes that those who have struggled to find opportunities in the film industry have an obligation to open the doors to others, and that commitment must start at the top.

She reports that when she first started attending American Cinema Editors (ACE) meetings, she was one of the few women. She also did not see people of color at the meetings.

Fortunately, that has changed and the members of this professional society are now more diverse. In fact, it won an ACE award earlier this month for Best Edited Feature (Drama).

Mark your calendar: March 27 is Oscar Sunday. Special “On the Red Carpet” coverage begins at 1 p.m. ET 10 a.m. PT and continues all day until the 94th Academy Awards. After the final award ceremony, stick with “On The Red Carpet” for continued coverage. Be sure to follow @OnTheRedCarpet on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and TikTok for all your Oscars news and information. Click here to download our CTV apps to watch “On The Red Carpet” wherever you are.

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