Cutting a wide swath

The ACE Eddie Awards shine a spotlight on a largely misunderstood craft.

For the American Cinema Editors, the 57th annual ACE Eddie Awards on Sunday at the Beverly Hilton's International Ballroom are more than just a chance to honor the past year's best work in their craft.

"We like to widen the appreciation of editing, which is still a pretty dark and lonely profession," ACE president Alan Heim says. "So, that's why we like to have our awards and get as much publicity for them as possible because we feel editors deserve it."

The heart of the Eddies is the presentation of awards in eight competition categories covering features, television, commercials and documentaries. But the event likely to draw the most press attention is Oscar-winning writer/director/actor Quentin Tarantino's acceptance of the ACE Golden Eddie Filmmaker of the Year Award. Like previous recipients such as James L. Brooks and Ron Howard, he is being honored not only for his accomplishments but also because he is a strong vocal supporter of the contributions of editors to filmmaking and shares a long and close relationship with his editor, Sally Menke, ACE.

The ACE also will bestow Lifetime Career Achievement Awards on two of its own: John Soh and Frank J. Urioste. Soh edited the syndicated series "The Undersea World of Jacques Cousteau" (1968-1973) and "The Cousteau Odyssey," the latter of which earned him an Emmy nomination in 1980, as well as edited, produced and directed "Jacques Cousteau: The First 75 Years," which was honored with the best documentary award by the International Documentary Assn. in 1986. Other career highlights include editing 1971's "The Hellstrom Chronicle," which won an Oscar for best documentary, and the 1995 mini "Hiroshima," which received the Humanitas Prize in 1996 and earned him his second Emmy nomination. Frank J. Urioste earned a reputation as one of the top film editors in the business with his Oscar-nominated work in 1987's "RoboCop," 1988's "Die Hard" and 1992's "Basic Instinct." Since 1998, he has served as senior vp in the feature development department at Warner Bros. Pictures, where he works with editors and directors in shaping many of the company's films.

For ACE members not being honored, the Eddies offer them a rare opportunity to emerge from their edit bays and mix with others of their kind.

"It's the highlight of our year as a social event," Heim says. "We have the Christmas party and occasional other meetings, but this is a black-tie event with a red carpet, good food and usually pretty good entertainment. People like to look at each other dressed up nicely. Usually, we work in the dark, and nobody sees what we wear or what we look like."

Cinematography: Foreign-born DPs dominate Oscar race
Editing: Knowing when to cut -- and when not to
Sound: Creating rich aural environments

Guild honors:
ASC: Big names turn out
ACE: Spotlight a misunderstood craft