2012 American Cinema Editors Nominees
You know how when watching the credits of a movie and the editor’s name is usually followed by the acronym “A.C.E.”? Why is that? I remember when I was a kid, I used to think it was some sort of self-designated achievement. Once they’ve been around in the industry long enough, they earn the right to call themselves an “ACE.” Well, the truth of what A.C.E. stands for isn’t far from that logic, though it isn’t exactly the same as what WWII fighter pilots saw it as.
The American Cinema Editors is the guild belonging to motion picture editors. While not to be confused with a dues-paying union, the ACE serves more as a society, inducting new members via a voting process based on their experience and skill. Each year, for the last fifty years, the guild has been hosting the Eddie Awards, awarding the best achievements in film editing for each year. While probably not its primary purpose, this award is very influential in each year’s Oscar race.
One of the most interesting facts about the Academy Awards involves feature film editing. In the last thirty years, no film has earned a victory for Best Picture of the Year without also gaining at least a nomination for Best Editing. Since the ACE’s nominations usually line up with it’s equivalent Oscar at least 4/5, this is as good of indicator of the what nominations will look like next week as you can get. In the case of these nominations, not a lot of surprises, being that all of the projected frontrunners have happened to show up here.
The nominees are:
BEST EDITED FEATURE FILM (DRAMATIC)
“The Descendants” – Kevin Tent
“The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” – Kirk Baxter and Angus Wall
“Hugo” – Thelma Schoonmaker
“Moneyball” – Christopher Tellefsen
“War Horse” – Michael Kahn
BEST EDITED FEATURE FILM (MUSICAL or COMEDIC)
“The Artist” – Anne-Sophie Bion and Michel Hazanavicius
“Bridesmaids” William Kerr and Michael L. Sale
“Midnight in Paris” – Alisa Lepselter
“My Week with Marilyn” Michael Recht
“Young Adult” – Dana Glauberman
BEST EDITED FEATURE FILM (ANIMATED)
“The Adventures of Tintin” – Michael Kahn
“Puss in Boots” – Eric Dapkewicz
“Rango” – Craig Wood
BEST EDITED FEATURE FILM (DOCUMENTARY)
“Cave of Forgotten Dreams” – Joe Bini and Maya Hawk
“Freedom Riders” – Lewis Erskine and Aljernon Tunsil
“George Harrison: Living in the Material World” – David Tedeschi
The Dramatic category is all but exactly what we’d expected it to be. With the kind of bad guild luck that “War Horse” has been experiencing as of late, it’s a little more surprising that it has been able to achieve recognition, however, it’s really difficult to snub Michael Kahn for anything, these days. He really is a master craftsmen, having just received the ACE’s Lifetime Achievement Award the previous year.
As far as Musical/Comedy is concerned, “The Artist,” “Midnight in Paris” and “Bridesmaids” were all likely contenders in this category. One surprise is the absence of such popular comedies as “50/50” and “Win Win” which seem to have been doing well with both critics and industry types up to this point. If only the folks at the top could get their heads screwed on straight and realize that “My Week with Marilyn” is about as comedic as it is musical. It honestly shouldn’t be on either one of these lists, but should at least get it’s classification right.
What does this mean for Oscar? At this point, I would consider “The Artist” and “Hugo” to be locks for a Best Editing nomination. “The Artist” is simply a juggernaut at this point and respect and admiration for Thelma Schoonmaker’s craft is beyond reproach. Following these two would be “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo,” who’s editors took home the gold last year for “The Social Network,” and “Moneyball,” which is here perhaps completely off of quality and merit. A perfectly edited film.
For the fifth slot, odds are on either “War Horse” or “The Descendants.” The first definitely has the chops, but has lost an immense amount of steam in the last month. At the Golden Globes, the film was treated almost as an afterthought in the awards race. “The Descendants” is far from having anything that resembles showy or standout editing. Yet, probably well-aware of the thirty-year curse, Fox Searchlight has been trying desperately hard to campaign for the film’s editors in a last ditch effort not to fall victim to Oscar voodoo. In the end, there’s always the chance that an unforeseen contender might sneak in. “Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy,” “The Ides of March” and “Drive” are superbly edited features and could easily find their way in much like “Blood Diamond,” “Children of Men” and “Cinderella Man” (none of which received ACE nominations) did in past years.
Only three primary guilds are left to release their nominations (the Costume Designers Guild, the Cinema Audio Society, and the Motion Picture Sound Editors). However, those organizations have not indicated as to when said announcements will take place. Stay up to date when they do at The Edge of the Frame.