The 60th annual  ACE Eddie Awards, at the Beverly Hilton Hotel yesterday evening, honored the best of 2009 film and TV work as well Career Achievement Awards to veteran editors Paul LaMastra, ACE and Neil Travis, ACE and the ACE Godlen Eddie Filmmaker of the Year Award to Rob Reiner. With laughter and tears, a great script and pacing, a comedic host and long list of stellar presenters, the evening also underscored the fact that editors–as embodied in ACE–know how to keep an audience rapt and tell a good story.

Hosted–with much hilarity–by actor Joel McHale (Community), the awards ceremony began with an introduction by Randy Roberts, ACE who is current President of the American Cinema Editors and producer of Law & Order: SVU. Roberts gave praise not only to the organization but to its magazine, Editor’s Guild and the internship program, which now adds two international students to the program each year. He also noted that, for the first time, the organization would bestow an ACE Technical Award, to Avid.

That first ACE Technical Award was presented to Avid CEO/president Gary Greenfield, who noted that “ACE shares our passion for solving problems.” “Some people in this audience have worked with Avid from the beginning,” said Greenfield. “Your input keeps up on our toes. Avid’s success is based on listening to you.”

The event also honored Rob Reiner, with an award presented by his friend and long-time collaborator Christopher Guest. “Chris and I aren’t really awards people,” said Reiner. “In fact, we make fun of awards. But I love editing. It’s the most fun part of filmmaking. It’s like a confessional. I sit in the dark room and look at footage and say…oh my God, did I shoot that?” Reiner thanked his long-time editor Bob Layton and noted that he “likes editors more than actors.”

The emotional part of the evening were the Career Achievement Awards, to LaMastra and Travis. Lamastra’s award was presented by two-time Emmy winner, producer Dorothea Petrie and editor Michael Kahn, ACE. Kahn told the tale–to huge applause from the audience–of how when LaMastra heard that a 3-stripe Technicolor print of Godfather Part 1 was about to be destroyed, took it off the lot, reel by reel. An emotional Lamastra thanked ACE for this acknowledgement.  The second award went to Travis, presented with comedy and gravitas by actor Morgan Freeman, director/writer Phil Alden Robinson (HBO’s Band of Brothers; Field of Dreams) and producer Mace Neufeld (Invictus, Patriot Games).

Precious Academy Award nominated actress Gabourey Sidibe presented the Eddie for Best Edited Feature (Dramatic) to Bob Murawski and Chris Innis for The Hurt Locker, which beat out Avatar, District 9, Star Trek and Up in the Air. Editor Debra Neil-Fisher, ACE won Best Edited Feature Film (Comedy or Musical) for her work on The Hangover, which was presented by actor Ken Jeong (Community, The Hangover).

Pixar’s UP garnered Best Edited Animated Feature for Kevin Nolting, presented by actress Michelle Rodriguez, and beating out Coraline and Fantastic Mr. Fox. Best Edited Half-Hour Series for Television went to Ken Eluto, ACE, editor of 30 Rock episode “Apollo, Apollo.” This award was presented by editor Stuart Bass, ACE (The Office, Arrested Development) and The Office actor Paul Lieberstein, who is also EP and writer on the series.

The award for Best Edited One-Hour Series for Commercial Television–which for the first time had five nominees–went to Lynne Willingham, ACE for Breaking Bad episode ABQ.  Best Edited One-Hour Series for Non-Commercial Television went to Louis Cioffi for the “Remains to be Seen” episode of Dexter. Best Edited Miniseries for Motion Picture for Television, in an award presented by Scott Powell, ACE (24) and 24 actress Mary Lynn Rajskub, went to Alan Heim, ACE and Lee Percy, ACE for Grey Gardens.

Actor Bryan Cranston (Breaking Bad) and Lynne Willingham, ACE (Breaking Bad) presented the award for Best Edited Documentary to Geoffrey Richman for The Cove.  The Best Edited Reality Series was presented by Steven Sprung, ACE (Community, Arrested Development) and actor Danny Pudi (Community) to Kelly Coskran and Josh Early for The Deadliest Catch: Stay Focused or Die. The two editors thanked the ACE and dedicated their award to Captain Phil, who just died. Finally, director Lee Daniel (Precious) and editor Joe Klotz (Precious) introduced the student award, which was given to Andrew Hellesen of Chapman University.

AMERICAN CINEMA EDITORS (ACE) is an honorary society of motion picture editors founded in 1950.  Film editors are voted into membership on the basis of their professional achievements, their dedication to the education of others and their commitment to the craft of editing. ACE also produces EditFest (a weekend editing festival in the summer) and Invisible Art/Visible Artists (annual panel of Oscar® nominated editors).