The 60th Annual ACE Eddie Awards, Feb. 14, recognized the outstanding editing of 2009. Top honors for Best Edited Feature Film, Drama went to The Hurt Locker, edited by Bob Murawski and Chris Innis, while Best Edited Feature Film, Comedy or Musical went to The Hangover editor Debra Neil-Fisher, A.C.E.
The black-tie ceremony was held in the International Ballroom of the Beverly Hilton Hotel with over 1,000 in attendance to celebrate the achievements in the art and craft of editing. The glittering, crystal-embellished stage was a fitting backdrop for the star-studded event. ACE president Randy Roberts, A.C.E. presided over the evening, which was produced by the organization’s executive director, Jenni McCormick. Joel McHale, the star of Talk Soup and NBC’s Community, served as the evening’s master of ceremonies. He quipped to the enthusiastic crowd that, “Without editors, films would be wandering, confusing and hundreds of hours long.”
Rob Reiner received the ACE Golden Eddie Filmmaker of the Year honor presented to him by friend and longtime collaborator Christopher Guest. Although Reiner joked that he usually makes fun of awards, as he did in the film For Your Consideration, he admitted that, “It is very nice to get something like this, particularly from the editors. The most fun part of making a movie is the editing process. It is truly where you can fix things. It is the confessional. It is where you sit in a dark place and go ‘Oh s**t, I shot that!’ But you can make it better.”
Actor, Morgan Freeman, director, Phil Alden Robinson, and producer Mace Neufeld were on hand to present editor Neil Travis, A.C.E. with a Lifetime Career Achievement Award. Robinson revealed “the religion” of the “great practitioners” of film editing, of which Travis is one, “Every cut… is informed by what advances the story, what enhances the performance and what reveals the truth of the moment.”
Robinson concluded, “Neil’s version of heaven is to work on a film that he loves… For a director, heaven is working with Neil Travis.”
Upon receiving his Lifetime Career Achievement Award, 30-year industry veteran, Paul F. LaMastra, A.C.E., was visibly emotional, “I am overwhelmed and nothing I can say can top that… I am just a passing symbol of all of our efforts. My being here is a matter of luck and divine province.” Oscar-winning editor, Michael Kahn, A.C.E., with whom LaMastra had apprenticed, and Emmy-winning producer, Dorothea Petrie praised LaMastra’s dedication to editing and film preservation and presented the award.
Clip reels highlighted the achievements of career honorees and the nominated works. Trophies were handed out in nine categories of film, television and documentaries.
Kevin Nolting was awarded Best Edited Animated Feature Film for his work on Disney/Pixar‘s charming adventure, Up. For the hard-hitting, dolphin hunt exposé, The Cove, Geoffrey Richman took home the Best Edited Documentary Eddie. Grey Gardens, edited by Alan Heim, A.C.E. and Lee Percy, A.C.E., won Best Edited Miniseries or Motion Picture for Television.
Television winners included the popular comedy 30 Rock, “Apollo Apollo,” edited by Ken Eluto, A.C.E., for Best Edited Half-Hour Series for Television. The award for Best Edited One-Hour Series for Commercial Television, recognized Lynne Willingham for Breaking Bad, “ABQ.” Dexter, “Remains to be Seen,” edited by Louis Cioffi, received the Eddie for Best Edited One-Hour Series for Non-Commercial Television. The Eddie for Best Edited Reality Series went to Kelly Coskran and Josh Earl for The Deadliest Catch, “Stay Focused or Die.”
Chapman University’s Andrew Hellesen beat out hundreds of competitors from film schools and universities around the country to win the Student Editing Competition. Avid received ACE’s first-ever Technical Excellence Award for their contributions to editing.
Presenters included distinguished industry veterans along with fresh faces paying tribute to the evening’s honorees and nominees including Oscar nominees Lee Daniels and Gabourey Sidibe (Precious), Michelle Rodriguez (Avatar), Bryan Cranston (Breaking Bad), the hilarious Ken Jeong (The Hangover) and many others. Distinguished guests included actor, writer and producer, Carl Reiner, director Katherine Bigelow, and writer Mark Boal (The Hurt Locker).
Venue: The Beverly Hilton
Parking: Discounted parking $15
Open Bar: If you had the extra ticket for the Lantana sponsored VIP cocktail party
Quality of Wine: Good table wine – red and white
Food: Salad, surf and turf, and a yummy trifecta of chocolate and coffee-flavored mini-desserts
Attire: Black tie optional
Show Length: Done by 9:50. Always the tightest pacing of any awards show.
Host: Comedian Joel McHale, the star of “Talk Soup” and NBC’s “Community,
Swag: ACE pen and votive candleholder
High Point: Chatting with Katherine Bigelow and Phil Alden Robinson after the show
Low Point: Having all the clips from nominated shows at the beginning of the show instead of before each award
Best Quote of the Night: M.C. Joel McHale’s assertion,” Without editors, films would be wandering, confusing and hundreds of hours long.”
After-Party: Gathering at Trader Vic’s and sharing the traditional Scorpion
Overall Score: 9.5/10