It’s very odd that two leading Oscars contenders — “Selma” and “How to Train Your Dragon 2” — weren’t nominated by the American Cinema Editors’ Golden Eddie Awards. “Selma” has a perfect 100 score from film critics at Rotten Tomatoes and it’s tied for second place with “Birdman” in our Oscar Best Picture predictions, which means it’s within striking distance to take down frontrunner “Boyhood” for the win.
There’s an obvious, mysterious connection between the ACE Award and Oscar. Since 1990, no film has won the top Academy Award without being nominated by ACE. Seventeen of ACE’s 24 winners went on to snag the Oscar for Best Picture. So, if “Selma” is really in the Oscar running for Best Picture, why was it overlooked by ACE? It’s possible that lateness of the DVD shipment had something to do with the snub. Screeners didn’t reach guild members till the end of the voting period. Paramount was also late sending out DVDs of “Interstellar,” which may also explain that snub.
But that wasn’t an issue with “How to Train Your Dragon 2.” That DVD arrived at voters’ homes in plenty of time to be viewed. So why isn’t it nominated for Best Animated Feature? Its 92 score at Rotten Tomatoes is higher than two of the three ACE nominees: “The Boxtrolls” (74) and “Big Hero 6” (88). In terms of its actual editing, well, those zig-zagging scenes of flying dragons are marvels of artfully cut video, of course. Similar ones were obviously admired by ACE voters back in 2010 when they nominated the first “How to Train Your Dragon.”
Granted, ACE Eddie only issues three nominations in the category for Best Animated Feature compared to three to five at the Oscars, but sometimes peculiar snubs occur due to weird bias against studios. The Annie Awards have been accused of that sometimes in past years, but they were generous to Dreamworks Animation this year, giving 10 nominations to “Dragon 2.” A spokesman for ACE denies that bias exists against any studio within the guild.
Sometimes a bias exists among award voters against film sequels, but that can’t be the case with ACE. “Toy Story 3” was not only nominated in 2011, it won.
Already this awards season, “How to Train Your Dragon 2” won Best Animated Feature from National Board of Review. It’s been nominated for that same prize by the Golden Globes and Critics Choice Awards plus film critics’ groups in Boston, Chicago, Houston, Phoenix, San Francisco, St. Louis, Toronto and Washington D.C.
So what happened to “Dragon 2” at ACE? Apparently, it just suffered from an unlucky draw of the numbers. The guild only has 700 members and not all of them vote in the animation race. That means “Dragon 2” probably lost out by just a few votes. Rumor has it that voting was very close in this race. It was also very close in the race for best edited drama feature. That category ended up with six nominees instead of the usual five due to a tie for that fifth spot.