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Mad Max: Fury Road and The Big Short Garner Top Honors at the ACE Eddie Awards

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Nancy Meyers
Nancy Meyers received the ACE Golden Eddie Filmmaker of the Year award. (Photo by Peggy Sirota).
At the 66th annual ACE Eddie Awards, Margaret Sixel took home the Best edited feature film (dramatic) award for Mad Max: Fury Road, while Hank Corwin, ACE won best edited feature film (comedy/musical) for The Big Short. Inside Out, edited by Kevin Nolting, ACE,won best edited animated feature film.

In accepting his award, Corwin shared, “It has been a pleasure meeting one of my heroes, Alan Heim. He cut All That Jazz. I’m thrilled to be doing what he did, and he still does.” Talking about his work with writer/director Adam McKay on The Big Short Corwin added, “I am so damn lucky to work on something that means something.”

Amy, edited by Chris King, won best edited documentary (feature). In the best edited documentary (television) category The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst – A Body in the Bay, edited by Zac Stuart-Pontier, Richard Hankin, ACE, Caitlyn Greene, and Shelby Siegel, took top honors.

King shared his thoughts about working on the documentary about the tragic life of the talented singer, “Every day when we went in there was an excitement that even though the story we were finding out and putting together was very messy and troubling and complicated and miserable, there was also a beauty to it. Ultimately those were the same characteristics that made Amy the wonderful person that she was. The film is a tribute to her.”

Recognizing the best editing of 2015, trophies were handed out in 10 categories of film, television and documentaries. The black-tie affair was held at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on Jan. 29 with over 1,000 in attendance. ACE president Alan Heim opened the ceremony by sharing the mandate of the American Cinema Editors to advance the art and science of the editing profession.

Heim announced a first for the annual awards when he noted, “The University of North Carolina School of the Arts swept the student competition category. Their professor is none other than one of our respected members, Michael Miller, ACE.” Chris Dold of the University of North Carolina, School of the Arts beat out hundreds of competitors from film schools and universities around the country to take home the student editing award presented by Star Wars filmmaker J.J. Abrams.

Serving as the evenings host, actor/comedian Adam DeVine (The Intern) stroked the crowd when he stated, “I would like to take this time to speak for all actors in this room… I want to say thank you to all the television and film editors, especially tonight’s nominees, for making us appear cooler, funnier and more talented ­– definitely more talented – than we actually are.”

Award-winning filmmaker Nancy Meyers received the ACE Golden Eddie Filmmaker of the Year honor presented to her by longtime friend and collaborator, actor Steve Martin, who said, “Nancy Meyers makes hits. She also writes hits. She directs hits and produces hits. She micro-manages hits. She suffers over hits and reinvests all her potential profits on hits. She has managed in a world where comedy often equals vulgarity to make humor personal, relevant, topical, adult and smart.”

Focusing on the female experience, Meyers is known for sophisticated comedies that go right to the core of modern relationships. As a writer/producer, her first film was the groundbreaking Private Benjamin starring Goldie Hawn. She also wrote and produced comedy classics Baby Boom, Father of the Bride and Father of the Bride II with Martin and Dianne Keaton. Following two decades as a screenwriter and producer, Meyers made her directorial debut with the remake of Disney’s The Parent Trap starring Dennis Quaid and Lindsay Lohan. She followed-up with the Mel Gibson starrer, What Women Want. Other credits include, Something’s Gotta Give, The Holiday, It’s Complicated and the recent hit, The Intern with Robert De Niro and Anne Hathaway.

Meyers spoke about the many collaborators she has worked with travelling through the filmmaking process, but revealed, “After we do all that crazy, impossibly hard work against all odds and it finally all comes to an end, I find myself breathless ­– and for a brief period of time at my optimum weight – and that is how I arrive in the cutting room, the place I dream of every night while shooting. When I walk through the doors of the cutting room, it’s like coming home.”

Meyers credited editors that she has collaborated with over the years including Joe Hutshing, Bob Leighton, Steve Rotter and Kevin Tent.

Career achievement awards went to industry veterans Carol Littleton, ACE and Ted Rich, ACE.  Their work was highlighted on screen with clip reels exhibiting their tremendous contributions to film and television throughout their careers.

Rich started out in the independent film library at the Hal Roach studios, but got his first real editing experience when he went to work at Desilu Productions on I Love Lucy, assisting editor Bud Molin, who allowed him to cut and hone his craft. Over his career he has edited iconic television series such as The Wild Wild West, McMillan & Wife and My Favorite Martian. Eventually, Rich’s knowledge of editorial and a business education positioned him to head postproduction departments. He supervised post on Get Smart and was then tapped to manage the editing on shows such as Hill Street Blues, Remington Steele, Lou Grant, and The Mary Tyler Moore Show.

The lifetime honor was presented to his mentor by Phillip Neil, ACE, who early in his editing career was told by Rich, “Hell if you can do it, anybody can do it!”

Writer/director/producer Lawrence Kasdan, who worked with Littleton on nine films, was on hand to present the award to her. He quipped, “My sons grew up in her cutting room. They thought she was a relative.” Commenting that the editor was a pernicious collaborator with the ability to “see the difference between the movie I shot and the movie I thought I shot,” Kasdan also noted that Littleton was fiercely loyal to her director, “even when she knew I was full of shit.” He bestowed the biggest compliment at the end of his speech saying, “I never met an artist with more heart.”

Nominated for an Oscar, a BAFTA, and an ACE Eddie Award for her work on Steven Spielberg’s classic, ET: The Extraterrestrial, Littleton got her start in television commercials. Her credit list includes The Big Chill, Body Heat, Places in the Heart, The Accidental Tourist, Grand Canyon, Beloved, The Manchurian Candidate and A Walk in the Woods. She took home an Emmy for Tuesdays with Morrie.

In accepting her honor, Littleton pointed out “how important postproduction is to making a successful movie.” After her four decades in the film business she advised, “Movies matter, directors matter, every shot, every cut matters, so choose wisely. We have one life to live and the closer I get to that distant horizon, everything in my life matters.”

ACE executive director, Jenni McCormack produced the show and ACE treasurer, editor Ed Abroms, ACE, chaired the Eddies’ committee. Among the evening’s presenters were actors Mindy Kaling (The Mindy Project), two-time Oscar nominated writer/director of The Big Short Adam McKay, creator of Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul Vince Gilligan, Michael Mando (Better Call Saul), star of Fox’s The Grinder Fred Savage, award-winning filmmaker Lawrence Kasdan, Santino Fontana (Crazy Ex-Girlfriend), writer/director Damien Chazelle (Whiplash and the upcoming La La Land), Oscar-winning actor J.K. Simmons and Oscar-nominated actress Jennifer Jason Leigh (The Hateful Eight, Anomalisa).

Pre-ceremony, Avid sponsored cocktails and hors d’oeuvres. The usual impromptu after party at Trader Vic’s was sponsored this year by Technicolor, but there was a bottleneck getting into Trader Vics and the adjoining poolside patio because of a guest list that excluded numerous attendees and members of the press, including some of the award winners who where kept standing with their statues at the entrance of the venue until some Technicolor employee vouched for them.

The 66th Annual Ace Eddie Award Winners are:

Best Edited Feature Film (Dramatic)
Mad Max: Fury Road
Margaret Sixel

Best Edited Feature Film (Comedy or Musical)
The Big Short
Hank Corwin, ACE

Best Edited Animated Feature Film
Inside Out
Kevin Nolting, ACE

Best Edited Documentary (Feature)
Amy
Chris King

Best Edited Documentary (Television)
The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst “A Body in the Bay”
Zac Stuart-Pontier, Richard Hankin, ACE, Caitlyn Greene, Shelby Siegel

Best Edited Half-Hour Series for Television
Inside Amy Schumer: “12 Angry Men”
Nick Paley

Best Edited One-Hour Series for Commercial Television
Mad Men: “Person to Person”
Tom Wilson

Best Edited One-Hour Series for Non-Commercial Television
House of Cards: “Chapter 39”
Lisa Bromwell, ACE

Best Edited Miniseries or Motion Picture for Television
Bessie
Brian A. Kates, ACE

Best Edited Non-Scripted Series
Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown: “Bay Area”
Hunter Gross, ACE

Best Student Editing
Chris Dold – University of North Carolina, School of the Arts

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