The Oscar-nominated "The Descendants," "The Artist" and "The Help" all took honors over a busy awards weekend, leaving the best picture race at this Sunday's Academy Awards ceremony as cloudy as ever.
On Saturday, the Hawaii-set family drama "The Descendants" was hailed at two ceremonies. The University of Southern California Libraries Scripter Award honored the film's writers -- director Alexander Payne and the screenwriting team of Jim Rash & Nat Faxon, along with the author of the film's source material, novelist Kaui Hart Hemmings.
The film also earned Kevin Tent the ACE Eddie Award for editing a dramatic motion picture. "The Artist's" Anne-Sophie Bion and director Michel Hazanavicius won the equivalent Eddie Award in the comedy or musical category.
Over the years, the editing Oscar has been the most closely aligned with the best picture winner. With each of the two favored films getting these early editing nods, a clear front-runner has yet to emerge.
In addition to best picture and editing Oscar nominations for each film, "The Descendants" is also up for lead actor (George Clooney), adapted screenplay and director, while "The Artist" is also up for lead actor (Jean Dujardin), supporting actress (Berenice Bejo), director and original screenplay for Hazanavicius and several technical awards.
Craig Wood won the Eddie for the animated feature "Rango," which is also nominated for an Oscar. On the TV side, editing awards went to "Curb Your Enthusiasm," "Breaking Bad," "Homeland," "Freedom Riders" and "Anthony Bourdain -- No Reservations." For a complete list of winners, go to www.ace-filmeditors.org.
"Hugo," director Martin Scorsese's family film about the early days of cinema, nominated for 11 Academy Awards, won the top prize Saturday night at the Cinema Audio Society Awards, which honors sound mixers. John Midgley, Tom Fleischman and Simon Rhodes took the awards.
Television awards went to "Too Big to Fail" in the outstanding achievement in sound mixing for a television movie or miniseries, "Boardwalk Empire" won in the television series category, and "Deadliest Catch: New Blood" won in the sound mixing for television nonfiction, variety or music-series or specials division. For a complete list of winners, go to www.cinemaaudiosociety.org.
Late Sunday, the Motion Picture Sound Editors presented its Golden Reel Awards for sound editing, where "Hugo" earned its second award of the weekend, winning for sound editing-music in a feature film. Steven Spielberg's "The Adventures of Tintin" won in the sound editing: sound effects, foley, dialogue and ADR in an animation film category, while his live action film "War Horse" took the prize for sound effects and foley in a feature film.
Scorsese's other film, "George Harrison: Living in the Material World," won for sound effects, foley, dialogue, ADR and music in a feature documentary. "The Muppets" won for sound editing: music in a musical feature film. For a complete list of film and TV winners, go to www.mpse.org.
Meanwhile, the NAACP Image Awards on Friday named the box office hit "The Help" the best picture of 2011.
Viola Davis was named top actress for the period drama about the lives of maids in the South on the cusp of the civil rights era, and her co-star Octavia Spencer took the prize for supporting actress at the ceremony at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles. The film has four Oscar nominations in those three categories, including a supporting actress nod for Jessica Chastain.
The romantic comedy-drama "Jumping the Broom" also scored well in the feature film categories with Laz Alonso earning the lead actor award, Mike Epps supporting actor and Salim Akil best director.
Other film awards handed out Friday evening included "Pariah" for outstanding independent motion picture, Angelina Jolie's "In the Land of Blood and Honey" won foreign film honors, and Ann Peacock won for her screenplay of "The First Grader." On the TV side, "Tyler Perry's House of Payne" won the comedy series prize, and "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit" took drama series honors.
For a complete list of winners, which also include music and literature categories, go to www.naacpimageawards.net.