Just when you think you have this whole awards season thing figured out, along comes another fork in the road. Tonight’s American Cinema Editors Awards crowned three favorites including American Hustle as Best Edited Feature Film (comedy or musical), Frozen for Animated Feature and 20 Feet From Stardom in the corresponding Feature Documentary category. But when it came to the final award of the evening, presenter Leonardo DiCaprio opened the envelope and announced Captain Phillips which was edited by past Eddie- and Oscar-winner Christopher Rouse. This is the second week in a row where Phillips has pulled off a mini-coup after surprising at the WGA Awards by taking Best Adapted Screenplay. In retrospect that win wasn’t that stunning since Oscar front-runner in the category 12 Years A Slave was ineligible as was another major contender, Philomena. But Friday night at the ACE Eddies Phillips pulled off a major win by besting favorites Slave, and especially Gravity which was co-edited by its DGA winning and Oscar-favored Director Alfonso Cuaron.
Gravity has been the favorite to win this award and several other crafts honors at the Oscars. This slowed a little of its momentum at least for the night. Will the surprise ambush at ACE mean Captain Phillips, another superbly edited nail-biting achievement, suddenly has turned the category into a real race and put a roadblock in the way of a possible Gravity sweep? We do have to remember that it is only editors themselves voting at ACE while the entire Academy membership votes in this category, and all others, for the final Oscar winner. I still think that gives Cuaron’s space drama the upper hand, but who knows? It was the Academy that bypassed both star Tom Hanks and director Paul Greengrass making it a bit of an underdog to the front-runners but it is on something of a roll right now.