Critical Confabulations

a theatre, film & pop culture review

Oscars 2011: Sound Mixing

The Oscar race begins!

While I still have many, many more films to see (17 + all the shorts), I have managed to complete quite a few of the categories already, so let the blog-o-thon commence! Let’s ease into it with one of the easier categories: Sound Mixing. I say easy, because I believe the winner to be obvious, not because sound mixing is an easy art. It is certainly not my area of expertise.

Note: My personal rankings are listed in order from best to worst, with #1 being my favorite, while predictions for the actual winners will be in orange.

(a film’s overall sound)

1. Inception
2. The Social Network
3. Salt
4. True Grit
5.  The King’s Speech

Missing: Tron

True Grit sounds every bit the western with its desert desolation and comical gun-slinging, and Salt does just fine with predictable aural espionage, but only The Social Network puts up a fight in this category simply because it’s a film about computers and  servers and typing and hacking and loyalty and friendship and revenge and, ultimately, connection. And it actually sounds it. Speaking of servers and computers: where the heck is Tron? Its absence is ludicrous, especially considering that The King’s Speech inexplicably nabbed its spot.

Now let’s be honest: despite all its flaws — and it has many — Inception is the clear winner here. One of the most impressive aspects of the visual stunner is actually its amalgamation of sound by some of director Christopher Nolan’s fave sound mixers, Lora Hirschberg, Gary A. Rizzo, and Ed Novick. Melding Richard King’s stellar sound effects together with the surrealistic aural landscape they created to parallel the malleable physical world dreamt up by the imaginative Nolan, and you hear the spooks steal intel from others’ minds.  It’s by far the most creative and intelligent sound mixing of the group, so let’s go ahead and give these three their first Oscar (they were nominated, but lost, for The Dark Knight).


2 comments on “Oscars 2011: Sound Mixing

  1. Aaron
    February 7, 2011

    You are SO correct about this. And I was wondering the same thing about Tron: Legacy. King’s Speech is (I guess?) occasionally about radio so I suppose that’s why it made an appearance here. Dumb.


    • Julie
      February 7, 2011

      I thought about the “radio” aspect of it too, but decided that was a poor excuse for a nomination over a film that heavily relied on its (impressive) sound.


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This entry was posted on February 7, 2011 by in Award Predictions, Oscar-Nominated, Sound Design.



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