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ACE Eddie Nominations. Will They Transfer to Oscar?

The editors have spoken. Though editing is an artform that greatly fascinates me I nearly always take issue with the ACE nominations. More than most craftsmen, the editors in the guild and in Oscar's editing branch seem to just pick their favorite Best Picture contenders every year even in cases where the editing might not be anywhere close to its strongest element. I understand why people love Hugo for example -- I really do despite my protestations -- but even though I think Thelma Schoonmaker is one of the most gifted editors who ever walked the earth, her work on Hugo is not up to her general (very high) standards. I've discussed this with Nick several times so I know I wasn't imagining it. We were both flabbergasted at the amount of shot / reverse shots where the children just sort of stare at each other blankly in scene after scene.

There is so much dead space in that picture weighing it down. Not trying to pick on Thelma but their choices across the board just look like they were trying to catch up on the Oscar buzz.


  • The Artist - Anne-Sophie Bion & Michel Hazanavicius
  • Bridesmaids - William Kerr & Michael L Sale
  • Midnight in Paris - Alisa Lepselter
  • My Week With Marilyn - Adam Recht
  • Young Adult - Dana E Glauberman

Another interesting point of discussion is Bridesmaids. Given the improvisational nature of the performances, it must have been hell to edit (a very enjoyable kind of hell) so points for managing and it definitely takes great editing skill to make that many jokes land. So props to Kerr & Sale (who are far from the least worthy nominee in this lineup). But, with the compliments out of the way, isn't one of the main criticisms of Bridesmaids that it feels shapeless, haphazard and that it's way too long? And isn't editing a great factor in whether or not movies feel that way?

Dana Glauberman at the Hollywood Awards last yearMy favorite nomination here might be Dana Glauberman's (pictured left)  for Young Adult. I think she's really special as editors go (see also: Up in the Air for which she was absurdly not Oscar nominated). Her work for Reitman tends to have great rhythm, the cut choices are smart and it's just tight tight tight. There is no fat on that picture whatsoever.

Will any of the comedy nominees make it to Oscar? The Artist might. You could also argue that editing is even slightly more crucial to the success of comedy (it's all in the timing) and action (it's all in the rhythms and sustained tension) than to dramatic pictures. And yet with Oscar you'll find that mostly drama is honored... because that's where the "best pictures" are located. In short, I'd like the editors to think a little harder on their selections from year to year. 

DRAMA Nominees

  • The Descendants -Kevin Tent
  • The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo - Angus Wall & Kirk Baxter
  • Hugo - Thelma Schoonmaker
  • Moneyball - Christopher Tellefsen
  • War Horse - Michael Kahn

Christopher Tellefsen in the editing bayMy vote -- if only I had one -- would go to Christopher Tellefsen in a split second. Moneyball had such great easy flow, consistently engaging whether it was cutting from footage to flashback to the linear story being told, and really attuned to the nuances of Brad Pitt's star turn.

Will all of these make it to Oscar?
I truly think Tellefsen is deserving, which is why I worry he's the most likely to be dropped when Oscar nominations roll in. Argh!


  • The Adventures of Tintin - Michael Kahn
  • Puss in Boots -Eric Dapkewicz
  • Rango - Craig Wood

More nominations for television over at the American Cinema Editors official site

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Reader Comments (22)

I always find this the hardest category to judge properly, a good friend of mine is a film editor and the stories he tells of finding one good take of actors among the many many that don't or of certain shots and having everything come together it just makes you wonder how can you judge the finished product without actually seeing all the starting material they had to work with.

January 16, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterramification

I don't see how The Descendants gets nominated for editing. There is nothing interesting about the editing.

I am tired of reading the trashing of Hugo here.

January 16, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterGabriel Oak

And if you're going to talk about pacing Moneyball was one of the talkiest, longest sports movies I've ever watched.

January 16, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterGabriel Oak

But being a talky movie is not a problem. It is talky but it has grace, like The Social Network, for example. That is important about editing. Grace, rhythm. MOneyball's editing is pitch perfect.

I would go here with Tree of Life. Its editing is wonderful, dreamy, mixing several times in a very special flow. It seems to be messy, but it organically messy. It is supposed to be messy. Like Nature. Still, it has a lot of grace, and Grace. It's a perfect job of editing.

January 16, 2012 | Unregistered Commentercal roth

One movie I wouldn't hesitate to single out due to its editing in The Ides of March. Before watching it, I thought It would be long and boring, but the pacing was fast and kept me interested. A really good job for that really improved the experience of watching that film.

January 16, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterLucky

Midnight in Paris's editing is soooo bad.

And, wtf, where is Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy?

This nominations are so bad.

January 16, 2012 | Unregistered Commentercal roth

Yes, The Ides of March. Great editing.

January 16, 2012 | Unregistered Commentercal roth

omg, they're crazy. NO SENNA FOR DOCUMENTARY????

January 16, 2012 | Unregistered Commentercal roth

The Artist
The Descendants
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

Done deal.

January 16, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterErik Anderson

Count me in for third for IDES OF MARCH. If that didn't have great editing to keep the pace, it would've fallen on its face. With that said, I *like* BRIDESMAIDS and HUGO, a lot even, but I don't share the love that many people have for either one and at least some of that is because they're both probably 30 minutes too long.

January 16, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterRyan T.

Is it normal for that many women to be nominated? I think its great, but it is somethig that ghappens every year or a nice quirk this one ???

January 16, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterBrooooke

I can't comment on the editing - but I finally think I recognize all the "backs" in the banner except the one on the far left (ok, we can see Ewan and Natalie's faces, so that's a cheat) but you've got Ewan, Nicole in EWS (clever juxtaposition), Schwartenegger, Renee in Down with Love, and the lovely Natalie. (Yes?) So who is that woman on the far left, Nat?

I agree with ramification, in that I don't see how you can judge how good of a job an editor did without knowing what they started with - and that's well nigh impossible.

January 16, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJanice

Isn't it the director that determines how long a film should be, what scenes are essential, etc... (as in the "director's cut" of a film)? I always thought the editor was told by the director which scenes and lines were crucial and it was his/her job to include all, choose which take/angle was the best, and then navigate between the scenes.

If a movie is too long, then wouldn't it be the director's fault for not recognizing the lulls in plot?

January 16, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDan

I completely agree with the dead space problem of Hugo, and from what I gather, so does Joe Morgenstern. He says it best: "Yet thematic potency and cinematic virtuosity... can't conceal a deadly inertness at the film's core. The young actor in the title role, Asa Butterfield, is a bland presence with a painfully narrow range of facial expressions."
But is it a problem of acting, directing, or editing? or all of them?

January 16, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterRic_H

Dan, here you can find a director's point of view of the editing process, Fernando Meirelles on the editing of Blindness. I think it may help:

Brooke, editing has always been more kind to women than the other craft categories. Lots of women nominated since the 30's.

January 16, 2012 | Unregistered Commentercal roth

I'm surprised we didn't see any bonafide action movies like Rise of the Planet of the Apes make it here. I can see that film crashing the Oscars Editing category in place of The Descendants.

Factoid: Kevin Tent has been nominated for the ACE for Sideways, About Schmidt and Election.....but it never translated into an Oscar nomination.

January 16, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterErik Anderson

"The Artist might"? For realz?

Two crimes here: Drive snubbed and My Week with Marilyn included. Oh my god, that editing in MWWM. The Eddies just did some devastating credibility stripping in my book. Holy hell.

January 16, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKurtis O


TREE OF LIFE and DRIVE got robbed. in terms of Oscar, i know both are longshots although both have such baity, #1 placement angels.

January 16, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterRyanSt

I know Nat is not a fan but the editing for We Need to Talk About Kevin was purely masterful, in my opinion. The film had such a tricky tone and was such a visually daring directorial effort, but the editing was tight, complex, and truly added to the heightened sense of dread and paranoia that permeated throughout the whole piece.

And I also echo the snubs for Tree of Life and Drive...both would've been very deserving.

No for The Ides of March. Was never a huge fan of that film.

January 16, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAaron

What should have Schoonmaker done differently with those kids shots? I'm not well versed in editing speak, and I'm curious at what went wrong. I thought she did a fine job.

January 16, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterOrion

Cal thanks for the link (I saw in the intro there that our Nathaniel translated 10 of Meirelles' blog posts - Nat, you're fluent in Porteguese?) I was impressed by how beautifully readable the translation one, and I loved the way it ended.

Meirelles talks about having a goal of "not wasting the audiences' time" and wanting Blindness to not go over 90 minutes. I'm not sure having a rigid goal is always a good thing - but then I think of Baz and his insistence with MR that everything "serve story" (and MR was 90 minutes) vs the mess that Australia was at some three hours, so maybe there is something to be said for having that sort of goal to focus on. (Lately in movies I've noticed "longer" does not translate into "better".)

January 17, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJanice

Janice -- no, i don't know portuguese. a reader translated them for me if i recall correctly! ;)

January 18, 2012 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R
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