'Artist,' 'Rango,' 'Descendants' earn feature film kudos

“The Descendants,” “The Artist” and “Rango” took feature film kudos as the American Cinema Editors gave out their ACE Eddie Awards.

“The Descendants” and editor Kevin Tent won for best-edited dramatic feature. “The Artist” editor Anne-Sophie Brion and editor-writer-director Michel Hazanavicius won for comedy or musical feature. “Rango’s” Craig Wood won for animated feature.

The award for Tent and “The Descendants” spurred an especially loud ovation, as it came just minutes after the ACE had saluted the pic’s helmer, Alexander Payne, with its Golden Eddie filmmaker of the year award, and Payne had delivered a wry speech describing how he works with Tent.

Payne, who always referred to Tent by his full name and affiliation, explained he stops watching dailies after about two weeks of shooting and trusts Tent’s report on how the dailies look. “Highly attuned over the years to even the subtlest nuances in the mellifluous voice of Kevin Tent, A.C.E., I can readily discern when he lies and when he tells the truth.”

“On set I alone am the audience,” said Payne, “mentally scanning this raw material for believability, rhythm, vividness and cutting points. But Kevin Tent, A.C.E., is my audience, and I hunger to please him.”

Payne offered three thoughts about editing itself: “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.”

In the TV categories, Steven Rasch took the half-hour series award for “Curb Your Enthusiasm – Palestinian Chicken.” Rasch, who was also nommed for an espisode of “Modern Family” quipped that “Of my fellow nominees, I can say at least one was extremely worthy.”

“Breaking Bad – Face Off” and editor Skip Macdonald won for hourlong for commercial television. The “Homeland” pilot and editors Jordan Goldman & David Latham took non-commercial hourlong honors.

The “Cinema Verite” team of Sarah Flack & Robert Pulcini” won for miniseries or TV movie. “Anthony Borudain: No Reservations – Haiti” and editor Eric Lasby won for reality series. “Freedom Riders” editors Lewis Erskine and Aljernon CQ Tunsil took documentary honors.

Anne V. Coates, editor of “Lawrence of Arabia” among other classic films, got a loud standing ovation as she came to the podium to present the student award to Eric Kench.

Two editors received Career Achievement Awards: Doug Ibold and Joel Cox.

Dick Wolf introduced Ibold, recalling an episode of “Miami Vice” Ibold edited that had been directed by Don Johnson. “It went a half-million dollars over budget, and this was 1986,” recalled Wolf. “The episdode made no sense.” At the climax, Ibold intercut a scene of Johnson making love to guest star Melanie Griffith with a scene of drug dealers killing guest star Vanity. “You’ll notice in the last 26 years nobody has intercut sex and violence on network TV,” quipped Wolf.

Ibold noted it was 20 years since the ACE decided to upgrade the Eddie Awards. In 1992, he said “Clint Eastwood was our first filmmaker of the year and Joel Cox won an Oscar for editing ‘Unforgiven.’ And guess what? We’re all here tonight.”

Eastwood introduced Cox, who received the other Career Achievement Award. Eastwood said “Joel and I were here 20 years ago. We’ve often wondered why you haven’t invited us back.”

Fast-paced ceremony was held at the Beverly Hilton.

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