70th annual ACE Eddie Awards makes history
Iain Blair
January 24, 2020

70th annual ACE Eddie Awards makes history

BEVERLY HILLS — The ACE Eddie Awards may not be the Oscar bellwether that some other awards shows are, but they carry a lot of weight in Hollywood. And this year’s black-tie ceremony, held at the Beverly Hilton Hotel, with over 1,000 editors and guests in attendance, packed quite a punch and delivered some surprises as trophies were handed out recognizing the best editing of 2019 in 11 categories of film, television and documentaries. 

Two Oscar Best Picture nominees — Parasite (edited by Jinmo Yang) and Jojo Rabbit (edited by Tom Eagles) won Best Edited Feature Film (Dramatic) and Best Edited Feature Film (Comedy) respectively. And the win by the acclaimed Korean comedy thriller Parasite marked the first time in ACE Eddie Awards history that a foreign language film won the top prize, which may boost its chances at the Oscars, especially as Yang beat a field of heavyweight nominees that included the editors of The Irishman, Joker, Ford v Ferrari and Marriage Story. And Jojo Rabbit beat nominees Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, The Farewell, Knives Out and Dolemite is My Name. Both Yang and Eagles, along with Eddie nominees Michael McCusker and Andrew Buckland for Ford v Ferrari, Thelma Schoonmaker for The Irishman and Jeff Groth for Joker are also nominated for the Oscar in film editing. And it’s worth noting that in 11 of the last 15 years, the Eddie winner of the dramatic feature category went on to take home the Oscar for film editing. 

Two other big winners were Toy Story 4 (edited by Axel Geddes, ACE), which won Best Edited Animated Feature Film, and Apollo 11 (edited by Todd Douglas Miller), which won Best Edited Documentary (Feature).

In the television categories, winners included Better Things: Easter (edited by Janet Weinberg, ACE) for Best Edited Comedy Series for Commercial Television, Fleabag: Episode 2.1 (edited by Gary Dollner, ACE) for Best Edited Comedy Series for Non-Commercial Television and, for the second year in a row, an episode of Killing Eve won in Best Edited Drama Series for Commercial Television with Killing Eve: Desperate Measures (edited by Dan Crinnion, ACE) winning for AMC's hit series. Game of Thrones: The Long Night (edited by Tim Porter, ACE) won Best Edited Drama Series for Non-Commercial Television and Chernobyl: Vichnaya Pamyat (edited by Jinx Godfrey & Simon Smith) won Best Edited Miniseries or Motion Picture for Television while Vice Investigates: Amazon on Fire (edited by Cameron Dennis, Kelly Kendrick, Joe Matoske, Ryo Ikegami) won for Best Edited Non-Scripted Series and What's My Name: Muhammad Ali (edited by Jake Pushinsky, ACE) won Best Edited Documentary (Non-Theatrical).

Prolific producer Lauren Shuler Donner, whose films, including Deadpool, the X-Men franchise, and You’ve Got Mail, have grossed $7 billion plus worldwide, received the organization’s prestigious ACE Golden Eddie honor, presented to her by Marvel's Kevin Feige. Donner joins an impressive list of industry luminaries who have received ACE’s highest honor, including JJ Abrams, Norman Jewison, Nancy Meyers, Francis Ford Coppola, Clint Eastwood, Robert Zemeckis, Alexander Payne, Ron Howard, Martin Scorsese, George Lucas, Kathleen Kennedy, Steven Spielberg, Christopher Nolan and Frank Marshall. Alan Heim, ACE, and Tina Hirsch, ACE, received Career Achievement awards presented by filmmakers Nick Cassavetes and Ron Underwood respectively, and their work was highlighted with clip reels showcasing their contributions to film and television throughout their careers. Heim has edited for such directors as Sidney Lumet, Mel Brooks, Bob Fosse, John Hughes and Milos Foreman, and he won an Academy Award for editing Fosse’s All That Jazz and was Oscar nominated for his work on Lumet’s Network.

Hirsch, who made history in 2000 when she was elected as the first female president of American Cinema Editors, gave a heartfelt and amusing speech, which included shout-outs to early mentors such as legendary producer-director Roger Corman and Thelma Schoonmaker (she was her assistant on the 1970 classic Woodstock).  She made her film debut with the box-office sleeper, Macon County Line, and her work caught the eye of Corman, who hired her to edit three of his classic films, Big Bad Mama, Death Race 2000 and Eat My Dust. She then moved into the mainstream “studio” world, editing The Driver for Walter Hill, who was a fan of the Corman films, and More American Graffiti for George Lucas. Then she teamed up with Joe Dante and Steven Spielberg, and cut Twilight Zone, The Movie and Gremlins.  Other film credits include Explorers, Mystery Date, Captain Ron and Dante’s Peak. Television credits include the acclaimed series The West Wing (for which she won an Eddie and earned an Emmy nomination).  

National executive director of the Motion Picture Editors Guild, Cathy Repola, was presented the ACE Heritage Award in recognition of her contributions, and actor Cary Elwes presented the Anne V. Coates Student Editing Award to Chase Johnson of California State University, Fullerton, who beat out hundreds of competitors from film schools and universities around the country.

ACE president Stephen Rivkin presided over the evening’s festivities, with actress D'Arcy Carden, star of NBC's The Good Place, serving as the evening’s very entertaining host.