With just eight days to go before the Academy Awards, “The Trial of the Chicago 7” took the top prize at the ACE Eddie Awards, winning Best Edited Feature Film (Dramatic), for acclaimed editor Alan Baumgarten Matthew Friedman and Andrew Dickler won Best Edited Feature Film (Comedy) for “Palm Springs,” which did not receive any nominations for the 93rd Oscars, unlike “The Trial of the Chicago 7” with its six. But in two other categories, the likely Oscar winners gained steam: “Soul” won Best Edited Animated Feature Film and “My Octopus Teacher” Best Edited Documentary (Feature), solidifying both of those films as the frontrunners in the Oscars’ Animated Feature and Documentary Feature categories.
On the TV front, “Schitt’s Creek,” which won’t even be eligible for Emmy consideration this year following its series finale in early 2020, won Best Edited Comedy Series for Commercial Television, with “Ted Lasso” winning in the Comedy category for Non-Commercial Television. And “Better Call Saul” took Best Edited Drama Series for Commercial Television, while “Ozark” nabbed the Non-Commercial category.
It’s no surprise that Aaron Sorkin’s “The Trial of the Chicago 7” won the Dramatic award. Baumgarten, a previous co-winner for “American Hustle,” had the most ambitious editorial task: balancing three story threads in “Rashomon”-like fashion with multiple perspectives and jumping back and forth in time, from the overheated courtroom drama to the violent, vérité-like riots during the ’68 Democratic Convention to the bitter political rivalry between Tom Hayden (Eddie Redmayne) and Abbie Hoffman (Sacha Baron Cohen). Plus, Baumgarten oversaw a sprawling six-minute prologue that was like lighting a fuse with historical context and character introductions.
However, in terms of the Oscar race, the Academy often diverges from the Eddies (50 percent in the last decade), which means that “Sound of Metal,” the favorite, could still walk away the winner. Darius Marder’s powerful film about getting inside the head of Riz Ahmed’s heavy metal drummer as he’s slowly losing his hearing offered a unique collaboration between editor Mikkel E.G. Nielsen and the sound team, which is also favored to win the Oscar. Nielsen determined the order of scenes with and without sound for maximum impact, and worked closely with the sound team to stay with Ahmed’s POV.
Courtesy of Amazon Studios
Meanwhile, Best Director favorite, Chloé Zhao, still looms large as the dark horse in the editing race for her Best Picture frontrunner, “Nomadland.” This haunting odyssey through the American West about establishing a spiritual transcendence amidst nature would put Zhao in a select group of directors who nabbed the editing Oscar, including Alfonso Cuarón (co-winner for “Gravity”), James Cameron (co-winner for “Titanic”), David Lean (“A Passage to India”), Steve James (“Hoop Dreams”), Joel and Ethan Coen (“No Country for Old Men,” “Fargo”), Michel Hazanavicius (“The Artist”), and Jean-Marc Vallée (“Dallas Buyers Club”).
The TV winners indicate an especially exciting Emmy race ahead, at least in the comedy categories. As IndieWire’s Deputy Editor, TV, Ben Travers noted recently, there could be complete turnover in the Best Comedy category at the Emmys this year. Beyond the “Schitt’s Creek” finale episode winning the Eddie for Best Edited Comedy Series for Commercial Television, which won’t factor in the Emmys (having already swept the top categories at last year’s Emmys for the same eligibility window), “Ted Lasso” won Best Edited Comedy Series for Non-Commercial Television on account of its episode “Make Rebecca Great Again.” That undeniably makes “Lasso” the favorite for Best Comedy at the Emmys, though Hulu’s “Pen15” and HBO Max’s “The Flight Attendant” could still surge.
Less indicative in the Eddies’ results is anything that could shed light on the Emmys’ Best Drama race. In that category, “The Crown” is widely expected to be a near-lock, but it was absent altogether from the Eddie winners. Instead an episode from “Better Call Saul” won Best Edited Drama Series for Commercial Television (“Bad Choice Road”), while the episode “Wartime” won Best Edited Drama Series for Non-Commercial Television for “Ozark.” Both “Better Call Saul” and “Ozark” are expected to easily land Best Drama Series nominations at the Emmys, even if it seems likely that “The Crown” will triumph over both of them.
And don’t get too comfortable in the idea that “The Queen’s Gambit” will have a lock on Best Limited Series. Though it won the Eddie for Best Edited Limited Series or Motion Picture for its episode “Exchanges,” it will have major competition for Best Limited Series at the Emmys with the addition of Barry Jenkins’ “The Underground Railroad” to that race, when the slavery drama debuts on Amazon May 14.
The full list of Saturday’s ACE Eddie Awards winners can be found below.
BEST EDITED FEATURE FILM (DRAMATIC):
“The Trial of Chicago 7”
Alan Baumgarten, ACE
BEST EDITED FEATURE FILM (COMEDY):
Matthew Friedman, ACE and Andrew Dickler
BEST EDITED ANIMATED FEATURE FILM:
Kevin Nolting, ACE
BEST EDITED DOCUMENTARY (FEATURE):
“My Octopus Teacher”
Pippa Ehrlich, Dan Schwalm
BEST EDITED DOCUMENTARY (NON-THEATRICAL):
“The Last Dance” (“Episode I”)
Chad Beck, ACE, Devin Concannon, Abhay Sofsky, Ben Sozanski, ACE
BEST EDITED COMEDY SERIES FOR COMMERCIAL TELEVISION:
“Schitt’s Creek” (“Happy Ending”)
Trevor Ambrose, CCE
BEST EDITED COMEDY SERIES FOR NON-COMMERCIAL TELEVISION:
“Ted Lasso” (“Make Rebecca Great Again”)
BEST EDITED DRAMA SERIES FOR COMMERCIAL TELEVISION:
“Better Call Saul” (“Bad Choice Road”)
Chris McCaleb, ACE, Joey Liew
BEST EDITED DRAMA SERIES FOR NON-COMMERCIAL TELEVISION:
Cindy Mollo, ACE
BEST EDITED LIMITED SERIES OR MOTION PICTURE:
“The Queen’s Gambit” (“Exchanges”)
Michelle Tesoro, ACE
BEST EDITED NON-SCRIPTED SERIES:
“Cheer” (“God Blessed Texas”)
Kate Hackett, Arielle Kilker, Daniel McDonald, Mark Morgan, David Nordstrom, Sharon Weaver, Ted
BEST EDITED VARIETY TALK/SKETCH SHOW OR SPECIAL:
“David Byrne’s American Utopia”
Adam Gough, ACE
BEST EDITED ANIMATION (NON-THEATRICAL):
“Rick and Morty” (“Rattlestar Ricklactica”)