The ACE Eddie Awards

Posted By Daniel Restuccio on February 21, 2012 10:31 am | Permalink
By Daniel Restuccio

The Descendants, The Artist and Rango took home the top honors for feature dramatic, comedy/musical, and animation at the ACE Eddie awards Saturday night for Kevin Tent, ACE, Anne-Sophie Bion/Michel Hazanavicius, and Craig Wood, ACE, respectively, at the gala awards show at the Beverly Hilton, which was hosted by a very funny Patton Oswalt.

Randy Roberts, ACE, president, opened the evening reaffirming ACE's mission to advance the art and science of the editing profession.

Kevin Tent said the secret of editing "human" is, "You have to have great performances and you have to have realistic performances and then you have to be very sensitive to them and make sure they don't feel cut. Letting performances breath so people have time to feel them."

Craig Wood, who previously worked with Rango director Gore Verbinski on Pirates of the Caribbean, commented that when you're, "cutting animation you cut before it's shot," referring to the existence the detailed storyboards and storyreels used in animation. "Cutting live action you cut after it's shot." Nevertheless he said, "We made a very serious effort to make it seem like it was cut after it was shot."

Anne-Sophie Bion, who shares the editing award with Michel Hazanavicius (both are pictured below with Kevin Tent), said The Artist is their "history of cinema." The movie took over four months to edit. Hazanavicius gave her a list of classic silent movies to watch, including King Vidor and City Girl.  "I paid attention where they placed the title cards because I didn't know where to do that," she said charmingly.

Alexander Payne received the ACE Golden Eddie Filmmaker of the Year honor presented to him by Reese Witherspoon and Kevin Tent, ACE  

Payne noted, "The five features that I have made have received some degree of recognition for writing and acting, but the secret is that Kevin Tent and I spent a long time in the cutting room. More than written and more than acted or directed, the films we make together are edited. As I gain experience, the more my screenwriting and on the set my choice of angles, but even how I direct and the way I judge performance increasingly involves thinking exclusively about the editing. I was quoting (director Akira) Kurosawa, who said the only reason to write and direct is to get material to edit."

Payne then quipped, "Here are some of my own lines about editing. Number one: editing is the ongoing process of disguising how bad the film really is. Number two: every day we edit we make the film suck less. And number three: editing is the natural state of man."  

Lifetime Career Achievement Awards went to industry veterans Joel Cox, ACE, and Doug Ibold, ACE, presented by industry luminaries Clint Eastwood and Dick Wolf, respectively.

Cox who's career spans over 50 years advised,  "On your way up, take your time. Don't be in hurry to be an editor." It's really important, continued Cox, to study and learn your craft and have a full understanding of the whole process. That way you're prepared "when you have the opportunity for someone to trust you and allow you the opportunity to edit you can be fully functioning. When they say, 'Go ahead, sit down' you'd better be ready, because you can't BS that. People can see what you're doing."

Clint Eastwood (pictured below with long-time editor Joel Cox) said what makes a great editor is someone who "has faith in the material, stays true to the material. A bold editor is someone who is not afraid to let loose on the material." He noted that because a lot of times directors fall in love with every shot, sometimes you have to make a "cruel cut" and then later put things back.

Other winners for television: Steven Rasch, ACE, Curb Your Enthusiasm-Palestinian Chicken, (half-hour series); Skip MacDonald, Breaking Bad: Face Off (commercial one-hour series); Jordan Goldman & David Latham, Homeland: Pilot (non-commercial one-hour series); Sarah Flack, ACE, and Robert Pulcini, Cinema Verite (miniseries or motion picture); Eric Lasby, Anthony Bourdain - No Reservations: Haiti (reality series)

Rasch, who was also nominated for editing Modern Family - Express Christmas, said the way is edit "funny" is "to go back to before you were editing and when you were a kid and what kind of family environment you grew up in. Maybe in your family environment your dad was funny. In my case (my dad) was the jokester and his dad was a big fan of comedy. You just learn through osmosis what timing is, then when you're pushing the button on the machine later it's just translation. It's just a different medium really." He said he usually has "a hunch" when something is funny. "Enough that they pay me to do it."

Freedom Riders editors Lewis Erskine and Aljernon Tunsil won for best documentary. Eric Kench from Video Symphony won the ACE Eddie student competition.

ACE organizes the EditFest and Invisible Art/Visible Artists events; runs a prestigious internship program and publishes the ACE magazine CinemaEditor to increase awareness of the art and craft of editing worldwide.

(All photos: Linda Treydte/Tilt Photo)