Anne V. Coates

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Anne V. Coates
Born Anne Voase Coates[1]
(1925-12-12) 12 December 1925 (age 92)
Reigate, Surrey, England
Occupation Film editor
Years active 1947–present
Spouse(s) Douglas Hickox (? – ?)
Awards Academy Award for Film Editing
1963 Lawrence of Arabia
American Cinema Editors
1995 Career Achievement Award

Anne Voase Coates (born 12 December 1925) is a British film editor with a more than 60-year-long career. She is perhaps best known as the editor of David Lean's epic film Lawrence of Arabia in 1962. Coates has been nominated five times for the Academy Award for Film Editing for the films Lawrence of Arabia, Becket (1963), The Elephant Man (1980), In the Line of Fire (1993) and Out of Sight (1998). In an industry where women accounted for only 16 percent of all editors working on the top 250 films of 2004, and 80 percent of the films had absolutely no females on their editing teams at all, Coates continues to thrive as a top film editor.[2] She was awarded BAFTA's highest honour, a BAFTA Fellowship, in February 2007[3] and was given an Academy Honorary Award, which are popularly known as a Lifetime Achievement Oscar, in November 2016 by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.[4][5]

Life and career[edit]

Coates was born in Reigate, Surrey, England, the daughter of Kathleen Voase (Rank) and Major Laurence Calvert Coates.[6] Her first passion was horses. As a girl, she thought she might become a race-horse trainer.[7] She graduated from Bartrum Gables College, and before becoming a film editor, she worked as a nurse at Sir Archibald McIndoe's pioneering plastic surgery hospital in East Grinstead, UK.[8][9] She is the godmother to Samuel and Thomas Moore, son of Patrick Moore.

Coates decided to pursue film directing and started working as an assistant at a production company specializing in religious films (also doing projectionist and sound recording work). There she fixed film prints of religious short films before sending them to various British church tours.[9] This splicing work eventually led to the rare job as an assistant film editor at Pinewood Studios, where she worked on various films. Her first experience was assisting for film editor Reggie Mills.[7] Anne V. Coates later worked with film director David Lean on Lawrence of Arabia. Coates has had a long and varied career, and she continued to edit films, including Out of Sight and Erin Brockovich for Steven Soderbergh. Coates is a member of both the Guild of British Film and Television Editors(GBFTE) and American Cinema Editors (ACE).

Variety's Eileen Kowalski notes that "Indeed, many of the editorial greats have been women: Margaret Booth, Dede Allen, Verna Fields, Thelma Schoonmaker, Anne V. Coates and Dorothy Spencer."[10]

Coates is at the centre of a film industry family. Besides being the niece of J. Arthur Rank, she was married to the director Douglas Hickox for many years. Her brother, John Coates, was a producer (The Snowman and Yellow Submarine), and her two sons, oldest Anthony Hickox (b. 1959) and youngest James D.R. Hickox (b. 1965) used to be directors, and her daughter Emma E. Hickox (b. 1964) is also a film editor.


  • "In a way, I've never looked at myself as a woman in the business. I've just looked at myself as an editor. I mean, I'm sure I've been turned down because I'm a woman, but then other times I've been used because they wanted a woman editor." [7]
  • "...I guess I've been lucky that most of the time I've been in the same direction as the director. I try to work with directors whose work I like and find interesting. When I was younger, I had to find work where I could, and I had some not great experiences with directors."[7]
  • "I like having a little edge with the director – you know, discussions and arguments. I think that's what editors are partly there for, like a sounding board. When I first worked on Out of Sight, I knew that Steven (Soderbergh) did things in a fairly far-out way. So I said to him, "Stretch me." We tried a lot of things that we didn't put in the picture. Steven was always coming up with great ideas. I like working with him a lot."[7]
  • "I like to take time off between films. I think it's important to live your life. I don't think that if you are just an editor all the time that you are going to be a good editor. You've got to go out and experience things, see things and travel."[7]
  • "You have the courage of your convictions. When you're editing you have to make thousands of decisions every day and if you dither over them all the time, you'll never get anything done."[11]
  • "I seem to get the rhythm from the performances. I like to feel I'm very much an actor's editor. I look very much to the performances and cut very much for performances rather than the action. I think that's important, what's in the eyes of the actor."[11]
  • On previews: "I hate them more than I hate anything else that I can possibly think of."[11]
  • On collaborating with the directors: "I don’t care if a director tells me to take 10 frames off – because I don’t take 10 frames off. I take off what I think would be appropriate. Most directors have no idea what 10 frames looks like. If you work with Sidney Lumet, he knows what 10 frames are. Milos Forman does, too. But most directors, when they say “take 10 frames off,” they’re just kind of showing off to you. I’ve learned through the years you just do what you think is right. And they’ll think that’s great because they’ll never count the frames."[12]

Selected filmography[edit]

As film editor[edit]

As assistant film editor[edit]

  • The End of the River (1947) (second editor) (uncredited)
  • The History of Mr. Polly (1949) (assistant editor) (uncredited)
  • The Chiltern Hundreds (1949) (assistant editor) (uncredited)

Academy awards and nominations[edit]

see: Academy Award for Film Editing

BAFTA awards and nominations[edit]

see: BAFTA Award for Best Editing

Other honors[edit]

  • 1963 – Lawrence of Arabia (nominated), American Cinema Editors, ACE Eddie for Best Edited Feature Film
  • 1965 – Becket (nominated), American Cinema Editors, ACE Eddie for Best Edited Feature Film
  • 1994 – In the Line of Fire (nominated), American Cinema Editors, ACE Eddie for Best Edited Feature Film
  • 1995 – American Cinema Editors, Career Achievement Award (won)
  • 1997 – International Award, Women in Film Crystal Awards (won)
  • 1999 – Out of Sight (nominated), American Cinema Editors, ACE Eddie for Best Edited Feature Film
  • 1999 – Out of Sight (nominated), Online Film Critics Society Award (OFCS) for Best Film Editing
  • 2012 - The Motion Picture Editors Guild included two films edited by Coates in its list of the best-edited films of all time: Lawrence of Arabia (1962) was seventh, and Out of Sight (1998) was fifty-second.[13]


  1. ^ BFI biodata
  2. ^ British Independent Film Awards – (BIFA) Archived 8 May 2007 at the Wayback Machine.
  3. ^ "BAFTA crowns 'Queen' best film" 11 February 2007 – Variety (subscription)
  4. ^ "Honorary Oscar for British trailblazer editor Anne V Coates". BBC News. BBC. Retrieved 13 November 2016. 
  5. ^ "Jackie Chan, Anne V. Coates, Lynn Stalmaster and Frederick Wiseman to Receive Academy's 2016 Governors Awards". Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Retrieved 13 November 2016. 
  6. ^
  7. ^ a b c d e f Murch, Walter (2000). "Walter Murch interviews Anne V. Coates", webpage originally posted at the website; webpage archived at WebCite on 2008-07-07 from this original URL.
  8. ^ Erickson, Hal (undated). "Anne V. Coates"[permanent dead link], webpage from Allrovi Guide; online version retrieved 7 July 2008.
  9. ^ a b IMDB Biography
  10. ^ (Editor) "Tina Hirsch" By Eileen Kowalski – Variety 11/14/2001 (subscription)
  11. ^ a b c Coates, Anne V. (2007). "Things I've Learned As A Moviemaker" Archived 14 November 2006 at the Wayback Machine., article posted on 3 February 2007 at MovieMaker website retrieved 7 July 2008.
  12. ^ Atchison, Doug. "Oscar-Winning Perspectives on Editing". MovieMaker. Winter 2002 (45). Archived from the original on 10 January 2006. Retrieved 2009-09-13. 
  13. ^ "The 75 Best Edited Films". Editors Guild Magazine. 1 (3). May 2012. 

External links[edit]