The American Cinema Editors (ACE) 70th Annual Eddie Awards – the longest running below-the-line award show and third longest award show behind the Golden Globes and Oscars – took place at the Beverly Hilton Friday, January 17th, 2020. After a montage highlighting the best drama film editing of the last five decades, ACE President Stephen Rivkin welcomed the evening’s guests and honorees who were being celebrated for their creative achievements in the art of film and television editing.
Timing out of his second term as president, a sentimental Rivkin stated he was “proud of what we have all accomplished and what we will accomplish in the future,” noting that ACE has grown to over 1,000 members in ten countries.
The first award of the evening was one presented very sparingly: the ACE Heritage Award. The award was created to honor those present “unwavering commitment to advancing the image of the film editor, cultivating respect for the art and craft of the editing profession and tireless dedication to ACE.” Cathy Repola, National Executive Director of the Motion Picture Editors Guild (IATSE Local 700) humbly accepted the award for her past twenty seven years of service.
Noting luck put her in the position initially, Repola was proud of the work she had done advocating for editors and she pledged “to continue to do it for the art and artists.” After highlighting some difficult union battles that she fought through last year, she was “touched by the generosity of spirit you always afforded me.” Before leaving the stage, she receited a quote from Martin Luther King Jr.
“ The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy,” recited Repola. “There is nowhere I would rather stand than with all of you.”
Director Ron Underwood was on hand to present the ACE Career Achievement Awards to Tina Hirsch, ACE. In addition to Underwood’s film Stealing Sinatra, Hirsch edited films including Death Race 2000, Twilght Zone: The Movie, Independence Day, Gremlins and television including Party of Five and The West Wing.
After thanking Alfonso Carrion for editing her clip reel, an emotional Hirsch frequently lost her place in her speech. Re-energized by her main point, “if something is meant to happen, it will,” Hirsch recounted her entry into editing. After hearing a conversation about the craft as a teen, “it just felt right.” At a time when there were no internships she approached a production company and worked for free, allowing her to cut her teeth. The position led to her first assistant editor job on Woodstock under mentor Thelma Schoonmaker. “She would tell me what she needed, and I had to figure out how to do it.” Hirsch concluded her speech by stating “When you look at the screen and it plays the way you think it should, it is the right time to move on, which is about now.”
Actor and director Nick Cassavetes presented the evening’s second Career Acheivement Award to editor Alan Heim, ACE. Reminiscing about their early collaborations done on film, Cassavetes remarked that to him editing has become “an instant visual sport. Editors were more than fast hands (back then). The were equal story tellers; that is what Alan was for me.” Cassavetes further praised Heim’s integrity and abilities, noting “even if (the film) wasn’t his cup of tea, he went to work and he got it. He is tireless and obsessive. He fights for what’s right and has the best eyebrows in the industry.”
After a reel that included highlights of Heim’s work diverse work including Godspell, All that Jazz, Network, American History X and The Notebook amongst others.
Humbled by Cassavetes’ words, Heim recalled valuable lessons he learned early on, including “not to get to far ahead in the project” – a lesson he learned in trying to inform Sidney Lumet that a bad edit wouldn’t work. The insistent Lumet stated “We can blame it on the projectionist.” After working through the cut, Heim won his case. He spoke fondly of his time as president of ACE, and left the stage reminding the editors in the room to “work standing up. It will add years to your career.”
This year’s Golden Eddie recipient was producer Lauren Shuler Donner. With projects as diverse as Free Willy, The Secret Life of Bees, Deadpool, X Men and series including Legion and The Gifted, Donner worked with and started the careers of many of the editors in the room. She recalled the first time she understood the power of editing. As a high school student studying propaganda, she saw how the 1960 Berkeley College attacks were edited two different ways: one looked as if the students were uprising against the police, the other depicting the police attacking students. “That has a profound affect, and I recall that lesson to this day.” Having launched her career as an assistant on educational films, Donner praised the editors in the room, stating “you know how to make chicken salad out of chicken shit.”
Throughout the evening there were a number of emotional moments, such as when Best Edited Documentary Non-Theatrical winner Jake Pushinsky, ACE for What’s My Name/Mahammad Ali thanked his father who died before the project was completed. “My father was a boxing photographer and he laid the path to me getting this job.”
After receiving the Best Edited Drama Series For Non-Commercial Television Award for Game of Thrones episode “The Long Night”, Tim Porter thanked his GOT family wishing he could recall all their names. Throughout the series, Porter received five of GOT’s eight nominations, and won two ACE awards.
The evening ended on a high note with two surprise wins: Tom Eagles won the Best Edited Feature Film Comedy award for Jojo Rabbit and Jinmo Yang received the Best Edited Feature Film Dramatic Award for Parasite. Upon receiving his award, Eagles was befuddled, stating “the last time I won anything was when I was six years old. It was for disco dancing.” Before speaking through is interpretor to inform the audience that it felt like he was living in a dream, Yang stated “I didn’t’ see this coming, my brain is going crazy.”
Below is the complete list of the 70th ACE Eddie Award Winners:
The Anne V.Coates Student Award:
Chase Johnson, California State University Fullerton
Best Comedy Series for Commercial Television:
Better Things “Easter” – Janet Weinberg, ACE
Best Edited Comedy Series for Non-Commercial Television:
Fleabag “Episode 2.1” – Gary Dollner, ACE
Best Edited Drama Series for Non-Commercial Television:
Game of Thrones “The Long Night” – Tim Porter, ACE
Best Edited Drama Series For Commercial Television
Killing Eve “Desperate Times” – Dan Crinnion
Best Edited Feature Film Animated:
Toy Story 4 – Axel Geddes, ACE
Best Edited Feature Film Comedy:
Jojo Rabit – Tom Eagles
Best Edited Feature Film Dramatic:
Parasite – Jinmo Yang
Best Edited Documentary Non-Theatrical:
What’s My Name/Muhammad Ali – Jake Pushinsky, ACE
Best Edited Documentary Feature:
Apollo 11 – Todd Douglas Miller