The 62nd annual ACE Eddie Awards, recognizing achievement in film editing, were held this evening, and the big surprise came in the drama category. Alexander Payne's "The Descendants" beat out fellow Best Picture nominees "Hugo," "Moneyball" and "War Horse," as well as the slickly cut (by last year's Oscar winners) "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" for the award.

Meanwhile, "The Artist" predictably took the comedy/musical prize, besting "Bridesmaids," "Midnight in Paris," "My Week with Marilyn" and "Young Adult." And "Rango" beat out "The Adventures of Tintin" and "Puss in Boots" for the animated prize. (I might have gone with the former instead, as Michael Kahn's work there was really a virtue and part of the film's identity. But I'm happy I'm such a fan of both of those films this year and any success either gets is fine by me.)

But getting back to "The Descendants," what does it mean for Oscar? Well, it means editors are in love with the work done on the film, but it doesn't necessarily mean that translates throughout the Academy all that much. I'd still wager the Oscar race is between "Hugo" and "The Artist," the latter likely taking the prize in the end.

As previously announced, Payne received ACE's Filmmaker of the Year Award (which was presented by editor Kevin Tent and "Election" star Reese Witherspoon), so it all made for a nice pick-me-up for his film. "The Descendants" has been suffering a bit of an awards hangover following a great night at the Golden Globes last month, coming up empty-handed at all guild awards ceremonies as of late. Perhaps it'll add to this newfound momentum tomorrow night with a WGA victory in the adapted screenplay category.

In addition to all of that, Clint Eastwood was on hand to present a Career Achievement Award to his frequent collaborator, Joel Cox. Cox has worked with Eastwood ever since 1976's "The Enforcer" and "The Outlaw Josey Wales" (most recently on "J. Edgar") and won an Oscar for 1992's "Unforgiven." TV editor Douglas Ibold also received a career achievement honor.

For year-round entertainment news and awards season commentary follow @kristapley on Twitter.

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