Oscar Artists: Lynzee Klingman–Film Editor

Film Editor Lynzee Klingman about Challenges of Breaking Into Hollywood


Lynzee Klingman edited Milos Forman’s One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest
Everett Collection; Donato Sardella/Getty Images

Lynzee Klingman (inset) edited Milos Forman’ ‘One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.’

The veteran — who was once told “You can’t carry a film can like a man, and we don’t want to have to watch our language around you” — will be honored Saturday with a career achievement award by the American Cinema Editors.

When Lynzee Klingman wanted to be an editor, she started looking for an apprenticeship in New York but couldn’t get a break.

“They would say, ‘You can’t carry a [film] can like a man, and we don’t want to have to watch our language around you. So no, no women.’ The other one was, ‘If we trained you, you would just get married and have a kid and leave.’ ” She finally landed a job, answering phones and cutting negatives. “I didn’t know what I was doing. I didn’t go to film school,” she says. “I learned by mistakes.”

Klingman (One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s NestHair) joins Sidney Wolinsky (The Shape of WaterThe Sopranos) in receiving a career achievement award April 17 during the American Cinema Editors’ virtual Eddie Awards.

When she was starting out, Klingman edited documentaries, including 1974’s Hearts and Minds, which won an Oscar. She then edited Cuckoo’s Nest with Richard Chew and Sheldon Kahn; the trio received an Oscar nomination.

Klingman also collaborated with Cuckoo’s Nest director Milos Forman on Hair and Man on the Moon. “He liked to try things,” she recalls. “I learned that if you keep at it, you’re going to come up with something pretty great. Follow your instincts, it’s a process.” She also cut multiple films for Jodie Foster (Little Man Tate) and Danny DeVito (Hoffa).

Klingman says she’s “thrilled” to see more women in the field. In her early days, “there were women working, but I never met them. And then one day I was in an elevator with a big pile of cans going to the lab and there was a woman in there with cans, and we just sort of laughed.”