Critical Confabulations

a theatre, film & pop culture review

Oscars Predictions 2015: Best Sound Mixing

Note: This is my personal ranking, listed in order from best to worst, with #1 being my favorite. Prediction for the actual winner is in orange.

2015 ACADEMY AWARDS PREDICTION:
ACHIEVEMENT IN SOUND MIXING

Miles-Teller-Whiplash

1. Craig Mann, Ben Wilkins, & Thomas Curley
WHIPLASH

2. Jon Taylor, Frank A. Montaño, & Thomas Varga
BIRDMAN (OR THE UNEXPECTED VIRTUE OF IGNORANCE)

3. Gary A. Rizzo, Gregg Landaker, & Mark Weingarten
INTERSTELLAR

4. John Reitz, Gregg Rudloff, & Walt Martin
AMERICAN SNIPER

5. Jon Taylor, Frank A. Montaño, & David Lee
UNBROKEN

Musicals always show up in this category, so it’s very strange that Into the Woods is not represented here. It also makes predicting that much harder because when a musical is nominated, it very often wins. Thanks a lot, Into the Woods.

Most of the time, the winner here coincides with the winner of Sound Editing. Using solely that criteria, Whiplash would be out, except that it’s actually – to this untrained ear anyway – the best one here. Mixing all of that percussion, driving the tempo of the film and building the tension – Whiplash‘s über-aggressive sound is actually what scares the shit out of us, more so than Fletcher. So Mann, Wilkins, and Curley could definitely be positioned to spoil.

Birdman‘s percussive sound works in a similar way, driving the pace of the film and amping up the neuroses of its characters before melting away into the classical stylings of Mahler, et. al, in the more serene and sweeping emotional moments. The constant, enveloping, clanging and riffing as Riggin paces the narrow confines of the theatre makes us as agitated as he is. And that’s good sound.

What I remember most about Interstellar‘s soundscape is that it’s loud. Very, very loud. So loud, in fact, that the score and sound effects drown out a good chunk of the dialogue. Should you think I’m too sensitive – don’t. It’s not just me. Yet, here I am predicting Interstellar a winner, mostly because even if the only thing folks remember is that it’s loud, they at least remember it. Unlike, say, Unbroken. Does anyone remember anything about that film, let alone the sound? Doubtful.

On the other hand, American Sniper will likely take the editing category, so does that make it a winner here too? Probably. But with such obviously strong competition like Whiplash, let’s hope not.

 

 

 

 

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