Categories One-by-One: Sound Mixing & Editing

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Big Magilla
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Re: Categories One-by-One: Sound Mixing & Editing

Postby Big Magilla » Tue Feb 19, 2013 10:23 am

Sound Mixing generally goes to the film with the clearest sounds which is why musicals when nominated generally win this category. There is no reason to expect anything other than Les Misérables winning this one. Sound editing generally goes to the film in which the special effects sounds are most audible which is why this one generally goes to action films. All the nominees fit the bill on this one, but I think Zero Dark Thirty is the one that stands out. A win for Argo would suggest that the film really is on a roll, a win for anything else will keep the suspense up until the last envelope is opened which is all the more reason to hope for something other than Argo to win this one.
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Re: Categories One-by-One: Sound Mixing & Editing

Postby dws1982 » Tue Feb 19, 2013 7:54 am

The Original BJ wrote:I'd probably rule out Lincoln in the Sound Mixing category. This nomination mostly struck me as of the Shakespeare in Love/King's Speech variety -- a coattails nomination for a well-liked movie rather than something sonically notable enough to win.

Well, it's not the kind of movie that's going to win, but I think this is more than a coattail nomination. There was a good bit of publicity when the movie came out about the meticulous levels of research the sound team went to--recording the sounds from Lincoln's actual watch, etc. I think the respect for that kind of work is what got it nominated.

As for the winners, I think Les Miserables for Sound Mixing and Life of Pi for Sound Editing. Although I think that Argo (in both categories), Skyfall (in both), Life of Pi (in Mixing) and Zero Dark Thirty (in Editing) are all in play. My personal votes would be for Skyfall in Sound Mixing and Zero Dark Thirty in Sound Editing.

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Re: Categories One-by-One: Sound Mixing & Editing

Postby Sabin » Tue Feb 19, 2013 2:09 am

It's important to remember (and keep in mind, no it's not) that Letters from Iwo Jima certainly did win Best Sound Effects but against what? Apocalypto, Blood Diamond, Flags of Our Fathers, and Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest. Zero Dark Thirty is up against Argo, Django Unchained, Life of Pi, and Skyfall. If Zero Dark Thirty was up against The Avengers, The Dark Knight Rises, The Hunger Games, and Safe House, I'd say sure, maybe. Hugo didn't have much to contend with last year. What was its biggest competition? War Horse? Likewise, I'd have an easier time picking Life of Pi for both Sound Mixing and Sound Effects if Les Miserables wasn't in the mix. Or Argo, which is entirely possible as well. Opting for a musical in the Sound Mixing category is a better bet than not, so it'll likely go the way of Les Miserables while Sound Effects seems likely to go to the animal noises and rolling water of Life of Pi although it certainly does seem to be a likelier tandem victory for the film.

I'd say on the whole, this is a very strong group of nominees. Except for Les Miserables, I can't say I'd find any of them to b undeserving winners. For instance were Argo to win, I can't say I'd have much of a problem. It's also the kind of film that does not get a nomination for Sound Effects that actually deserves one. Still, I'll go for Skyfall in both categories. It's such a slick production.
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Categories One-by-One: Sound Mixing & Editing

Postby The Original BJ » Tue Feb 19, 2013 1:13 am

I'll combine this discussion, both because we're running out of time, and because these categories traditionally either go in tandem, or split in fairly typical ways.

I do think both of these categories are among the most competitive of the down-ballot races -- I'd think an intelligent predictor could place a bet on any number of candidates.

I'd probably rule out Lincoln in the Sound Mixing category. This nomination mostly struck me as of the Shakespeare in Love/King's Speech variety -- a coattails nomination for a well-liked movie rather than something sonically notable enough to win. (Of course, in both of those cases, the sound mention seemed an early bellwether that the movie had enough support to come from behind to win Best Picture, though Lincoln's trajectory seems to have gone the opposite direction.)

In Sound Editing, I'd probably write off Django Unchained as well. Most of what the nomination is for -- the loud gun battles -- doesn't occur until the last act of the movie, and though the movie is definitely in play for some above-the-line awards, I doubt its pull will be large enough to scoop up this prize.

Argo's, though, might. It isn't a wall-to-wall loud movie, but it's got enough engaging suspense sequences -- all of which involve carefully crafted and layered noises -- that enthusiasm for the movie might carry it along. A recent precedent for an Argo win might be Slumdog Millionaire, which wasn't the most obvious sound choice, but which had enough going on aurally to allow its Best Picture sweep to carry it along here. The thing is, I don't think Argo's dominance will be nearly as intense, and even then, Slumdog only won the Mixing prize. I could see Argo doing the same, though I don't think I'll be betting that way, and both prizes seems a real stretch.

Letters From Iwo Jima provides a solid enough precedent for a Zero Dark Thirty win, in that it was curiously omitted in Sound Mixing, but still managed to win Sound Editing due to its war-time battle scenes, which have carried many a movie to victory here. I think Zero Dark Thirty is definitely in the running -- the bin Laden compound raid is a really visceral piece of sound work -- but it's worth noting that its competition is a lot stronger than Letters From Iwo Jima's was, where the Eastwood film benefited from being the only picture on the ballot anyone much liked.

Musicals have often done very well in the Sound Mixing category, up to recent wins by Chicago, Dreamgirls, and Ray, so Les Mis could definitely follow in the footsteps of those films. Les Mis also has the selling point that all the vocals were recorded live, which has been front and center in promotion for the film, so perhaps voters looking to honor that achievement might give the film an extra boost. (Never mind that a number of the actors weren't up to the challenge of singing live, and so parts of the movie are an assault on the ear drums.) I rate it a decent shot to win its category.

Many well-liked blockbusters have snagged wins in both categories -- The Bourne Ultimatum, The Matrix, Speed, Jurassic Park -- so votes for Skyfall seem very possible. The movie's healthy down-ballot nomination total suggests that this Bond film was viewed as a significant technical achievement, and the fiftieth anniversary hoopla may give this entrant an even further sense of prestige that could result in wins beyond Adele's assumed victory. And with one big action set piece after another, it probably fits the "loudest movie" bill out of any nominee in either category.

Though not as loud, I do think Life of Pi could end up being the Hugo of this year -- a movie seen as such an overwhelming technical accomplishment that it manages to win sound prizes even though it's not as loud as many typical winners. Which isn't to say Life of Pi would be undeserving -- the storm sequence was pretty ear-catching, and once the movie settles into the main portion of its narrative, the dialogue-less nature of its story allows one to notice a lot of the environmental (and animal) sounds that really transport the viewer into the world of the film.

I'm not sure where I'll be placing my bet yet. Tandem wins for Life of Pi and Skyfall both seem very possible, as do split decisions involving some combo of those movies and Les Mis, Zero Dark Thirty, and maybe even Argo. These categories get very little discussion, but I think if you correctly predict BOTH sound prizes this year, you're a lot closer to winning your Oscar pool than those that don't.


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