At the 63rd Annual ACE Eddie Awards on Saturday, trophies were handed out in 10 categories covering film, television and documentaries. Presided over by ACE president Alan Heim, the black-tie ceremony was held in the International Ballroom of the Beverly Hilton Hotel with over 1,000 celebrating the year’s best editing. Warming up the audience as master of ceremonies was actor and comedian David Cross. Feature film editing honors were awarded in four categories – best edited feature film (dramatic), best edited feature film (comedy/musical), best edited animated feature film and best edited documentary.
William Goldenberg, ACE took the dramatic prize for his editing of Argo, continuing a long string of awards for the film. Based on the ACE win Goldenberg should be regarded as the favorite for the best editing Oscar, and because the craft is so inherently tied to film storytelling, the editing kudos send a strong signal that a best picture win for the film from the Academy is also highly probable. Goldenberg, who was up against his mentor Lincoln editor Michael Kahn for the award, graciously acknowledged the talents of all his competitors in the category.
Director David O. Russell was on hand to see editors Jay Cassidy, ACE and Crispin Struthers garner the comedy/musical Eddie for his film The Silver Linings Playbook. Struthers thanked Russell for “making this movie with heart and passion and honesty that is so rich and fulfilling to work on.”
Nicholas C. Smith, ACE and Robert Grahamjones, ACE won the animation award for Brave while documentary honors went to Searching For Sugar Man editor Malik Bendjelloul, another Oscar favorite.
Clip reels highlighted the careers of three special honorees. Iconic director Steven Spielberg received the ACE Golden Eddie filmmaker of the year honor presented to him by longtime collaborator and friend Kathleen Kennedy. In addition, lifetime career achievement awards went to feature film editor, Richard Marks, ACE and documentary editor, Larry Silk, ACE.
In accepting the honor, Spielberg credited the craft of editing in general and Michael Kahn, his editor of 37 years, in particular, for much of his success. “There is no possible way I’d be standing up here tonight, receiving this tremendous honor from the American Cinema Editors without what you have done to my life,” Spielberg said. The director shared that when he was 19 years old and first starting in the business, he would hang out with the television editors at Universal. Recounting the experience Spielberg commented, “That was my film school. That was my USC. That was my UCLA. That was my NYU.” He advises young people who desperately want to direct, to study films with the sound turned off “to really understand how the director and the editor have constructed the visual narrative, because editing and directing are almost interchangeable.”
Last year’s ACE Golden Eddie award honoree director, Alexander Payne, and film critic Kenneth Turan presented to Marks, whose prolific career includes four Oscar nominations – As Good as It Gets, Broadcast News, Terms of Endearment and Apocalypse Now, and such disparate films as The Godfather: Part II and Pretty in Pink. In receiving his honor, Marks quipped that he had “re-edited his speech 50 times.”
Esteemed documentarian Barbara Kopple presented to Silk. Having worked on several films with him, she spoke about his mentoring of young filmmakers saying, “Larry’s about openness, collaboration, just getting to the story, no ego involved… He’s a remarkable man.” Silk’s impressive body of work includes Oscar winners American Dream and Marjoe, the Emmy nominated One Survivor Remembers and The Twentieth Century (1957), and Pumping Iron – the doc that made Arnold Schwarzenegger a household name. Reflecting on his extensive career, Silk said, “The editing process is so much fun… you have all that stuff to play with.”
Hemingway & Gellhorn, edited by Walter Murch, ACE, garnered best edited miniseries or motion picture for television. In a newly created category this year, Pamela Scott Arnold won best edited documentary (television) for American Masters – Phil Ochs: There But For Fortune.
Breaking Bad – Dead Freight, edited by Skip MacDonald, ACE, took the award for best edited one-hour series for commercial television, while Nurse Jackie – Handle Your Scandal, edited by Gary Levy, won best edited half-hour series for television. The Eddie for best edited one-hour series for non-commercial television went to Anne McCabe, ACE for The Newsroom – We Just Decided To (Pilot). Andy Netley and Sharon Gillooly were honored for best edited non-scripted series, Frozen Planet – Ends of the Earth.
Oscar-winning actor Jon Voight presented the ACE Eddie Award to student editing competition winner Michael Smith of the American Film Institute who beat out hundreds of competitors from film schools and universities around the country.
Following ACE tradition, editors teamed up with actors and filmmakers to help present awards. In addition to those already mentioned, the list of the evening’s presenters also included editor Michael R. Miller, ACE with Josh Radnor (How I Met Your Mother); editor Jordan Goldman, ACE with David Harewood (Homeland); Skip MacDonald, ACE and Aaron Paul (Breaking Bad); Eliza Coupe and Damon Wayans, Jr. (stars of Happy Endings); editor Susan Vaill, ACE with Kevin McKidd and Jessica Capshaw (stars of Grey’s Anatomy); editor Kevin Tent, ACE and Will Forte (SNL and Alexander Payne’s upcoming film Nebraska), and writer/filmmaker Mark Andrews (Oscar nominee this year for Brave), and one of this year’s Oscar nominees for best supporting actress Jacki Weaver. Other VIP guests included Oscar-nominated director Ang Lee and producer Frank Marshall.