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Meet the Charmingly Nerdy Oscar-Winning Editors of The Hurt Locker

In an Oscar ceremony filled with expected wins and sedated speeches, it was refreshing to see editors Bob Murawski and Chris Innis take the stage for the Hurt Locker. The cute married couple seemed genuinely thrilled to be up there together, and their behind-the-scenes quirkiness stood out among the polished masses. We caught up with Murawski and Innis last night and spoke to them about their joint Oscar win, learning to navigate the red carpet, and their shared love of cutting film in a dark room (without any photographers nearby).

What was it like as non–movie stars attending the Oscars?
Chris: Thankfully, someone hosted us and walked us through the red carpet, and a good friend of ours who runs Below the Line magazine gave us a prep talk about how to get through that area. Obviously, we're not stars, so we're not doing all the interviews they're doing.
Bob: So we walked the entire red carpet, and the person who was leading us
through had a little sign that they were holding up to the photographers with our names, and surprisingly, a lot of the photographers were interested in taking pictures of us, so it was pretty cool.

So had you perfected a pose at that point?
Chris: No!
Bob: A little bit, after all the shows, sort of.
Chris: The first time someone takes pictures of you, you’re just a deer in headlights, and you gradually start to get a little used to it.
Bob: It’s a little easier ‘cause we’re a couple — we can squeeze together and smile. Now I’m more used to tuning into the photographers, ‘cause they’re all yelling at you to look in different directions.
Chris: It does make me feel for actors and directors who get this all the time. The whole process leading up to the Oscars is so exhausting, and all these different obligations and events were so overwhelming, because we’re usually in a dark room, working with the film, and not going out and dealing with all these people.

How prepared was your speech?
Chris: I had prepared something, and then I got up there, and then Bob jumped in first, so that totally threw me off.
Bob: As much as you try to practice, when you get up there, you’re so overwhelmed that you just forget everything.
Chris: I wanted to say something poignant about editing and the pain and anxiety that we were working with, but there wasn’t enough time.
Bob: They were really adamant about that 45-second rule.

What’s it like working as a married couple?
Chris: We understand what the other does. When Bob’s on a movie and I’m on a different one, and he’s coming home at 2 a.m. in the morning, I’m not worried where he is. I know he’s stuck in a cutting room, which is his other love.

Not out with someone else.
Chris: Exactly. We met on Sam Raimi’s television show American Gothic; he introduced us.
Bob: That was about fifteen years ago, but we actually only got married after The Hurt Locker. We knew if that didn’t break us up, nothing would.

How so?
Chris: It was a painful movie to make; it was really hard. The conditions, the artistic personalities behind the scenes, it was low-budget, it was in the Middle East. I had post-traumatic stress disorder after that movie.
Bob: Yeah, it was miserable, that movie.

What was the process of working together like?
Chris: We both cut different segments, then traded them back and forth so it looked like one vision. We wanted to approach it from the standpoint of the characters and the tension, foreshadowing things, and then tricking the audience and foreshadowing things when they weren’t going to happen. We wanted the audience to expect that there was always going to be a bomb going off.

Back to the Oscar speech: It’s lucky that you were up there together, so that you couldn’t forget the other, right?
Chris: It’s funny: When someone's standing right next to you, that’s when it’s easiest to forget them. Your mind and your mouth just disconnect at that moment. It feels like centuries are passing.

Photo: Frazer Harrison/Getty Images