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Oscar Watch: Editors Award Dramatic Feature to The Social Network, Doc to Exit Through the Gift Shop

by Anne Thompson
February 20, 2011 6:06 AM
3 Comments
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Thompson on Hollywood

At Saturday's ACE editing awards---where The Social Network won best dramatic feature, Exit Through the Gift Shop won best documentary, and Toy Story 3 won best animated feature, forecasting likely Oscar wins--I was moved by Steven Spielberg's warm tribute to ACE career award-winner Michael Kahn, age 75. (Video of show, tribute reel, interview with Kahn and full list of TV and film winners are below.)

The director has worked with the veteran editor for 35 years, on everything from the under-rated Empire of the Sun, starring the impossibly young Christian Bale, to Raiders of the Lost Ark, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Poltergeist, Hook, Saving Private Ryan and The War of the Worlds, to mention a few. The audience of editors and dates in black tie was rapt during the clip reel. "Michael Kahn is as much an artist as Frank Gehry is an architect," says Spielberg. "He is my flashlight, letting me see the movie over and over again." Spielberg added that he and Kahn are "finally being pushed to evolve," he said, of cutting on film with Kahn, who got a rousing standing ovation at the Beverly Hilton from the editors. "Editing becomes your life," Kahn said, with a sigh.

Thompson on Hollywood

That was a theme of the night. As indieWIRE editor-in-chief Dana Harris (@theknife) tweeted: "every winner has thanked his wife for her boundless tolerance. Film editing: the new martyrdom." Leo Trombetta, winner for Temple Grandin, best movie for television, said: "We spend every minute trying to make sure our work doesn't show and then we're disappointed when no one mentions us."

Of ACE Golden Eddie Award-winner Christopher Nolan, in the clip reel Michael Caine said that the writer-director "is like a laid-back razor blade." Presenter Aaron Eckhart described tea-drinker Nolan as possessing a wry wit and "consistent calm...He's fearless.. in reinventing franchises and inventing new ones." Nolan was also generous to his editor Lee Smith, who was tasked with making some sense out of Inception. "The combination of images is what I have always found most fascinating about editing," said Nolan. "At its best it is invisible and mysterious."

The Oscar question is, if The Social Network wins for editing, director and adapted screenplay, and The King's Speech wins original screenplay, actor and score, will The King's Speech still win best picture? I think so. But it is, needless to say, unusual. I am also changing my prediction on documentary from Inside Job to Exit Through the Gift Shop. But even though the top CAS sound prize went to True Grit Saturday night, I am sticking with Inception to win sound mixing and editing at the Oscars.

Here's where the Gurus 'O Gold are as of their last tally. And The Playlist interviewed folks on the ACE Red Carpet.

BEST EDITED FEATURE FILM (DRAMATIC):
The Social Network
Angus Wall, A.C.E. & Kirk Baxter

BEST EDITED FEATURE FILM (COMEDY OR MUSICAL):
Alice in Wonderland
Chris Lebenzon, A.C.E.

BEST EDITED ANIMATED FEATURE FILM:
Toy Story 3
Ken Schretzmann & Lee Unkrich, A.C.E.

BEST EDITED HALF-HOUR SERIES FOR TELEVISION:
Modern Family: “Family Portrait”
Jonathan Schwartz

BEST EDITED ONE-HOUR SERIES FOR COMMERCIAL TELEVISION:
The Walking Dead: “Days Gone Bye”
Hunter Via

BEST EDITED ONE-HOUR SERIES FOR NON-COMMERCIAL TELEVISION:
Treme: “Do You Know What it Means”
Kate Sanford, A.C.E. & Alexander Hall

BEST EDITED MINISERIES OR MOTION PICTURE FOR TELEVISION:
Temple Grandin
Leo Trombetta, A.C.E.

BEST EDITED DOCUMENTARY:
Exit Through the Gift Shop
Tom Fulford & Chris King

BEST EDITED REALITY SERIES:
If You Really Knew Me: "Colusa High"
Rob Goubeaux, Jeremy Gantz, Hilary Scratch, Ken Yankee, Mark S. Andrew, A.C.E., Heather Miglin, John Skaare & Paul J. Coyne

Student Competition
Ruben Jacques Sebban
A.F.I.

David Poland interviews Kahn:

ACE's official awards video:

The Kahn Tribute reel:

Tribute to Michael Kahn, A.C.E. from Carsten Kurpanek on Vimeo.

3 Comments

  • JAB | February 21, 2011 1:18 AMReply

    Great interview! Kahn has been as big a star as any actor for a very long time. If a movie doesn't flow it usually sucks. Flow means editing. "Inception" is a total mess without Lee Smith's work, but instead it is probably the best film of the year.
    Kahn obviously loves his work. I just wish that he could enjoy his final products as much as we have over the years.

  • witherholly | February 21, 2011 12:15 AMReply

    How fabulous for Kahn he has an operator! (Rigged with two keyboards, too, doubly cool.) He's like a DP with a camera operator. Love how he says he doesn't find it hard anymore, except for the challenges, like matching, performance and making people relate to each other on the screen. That's precious! He's a highly respectable icon, with exactly the right temperment and talent, representing a by-gone era of what was possible in a career. Sad and laudable and true of many fields, where 8 years of paid training would be welcomed!

  • Proman | February 20, 2011 4:45 AMReply

    Michael Kahn rules!

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