Monday, 20 February 2012

Incoherent Oscar: Sound Editing

The Motion Picture Sound Editors had their awards over the weekend, and it’s getting to that time where who wins what, and what we think about it turns into this uncomfortable scenario where X person knows better than Y person what deserves to win, etc. Oscar season gets rough, y’all. But, moving along, I covered the nominees for sound mixing…now the editing – the creation of specific sound and created soundscape.

The Nominees: Drive; The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo; Hugo; Transformers: Dark of the Moon; War Horse

We have two best picture nominees, and four nominees also cited for Sound Mixing. So, I guess it’s easy to say that voters don’t “know” what they’re looking for here, yada yada ya. Well, I have my own sound awards, and I probably don’t either. So here we are

Drive Lon Bender, Victor Ray Ennis
I actually anticipated Drive would be a more likely candidate for its sound mixing, but either way the soundscape of Drive is both noticeable, well integrated into the film and well used. It’s also creative, even though I’m neither here nor there on whether good work must be “original” to take laurels, the sound of Drive is inextricably linked to its general demeanour. Bender was nominated previously here for his work on Blood Diamond and Braveheart, winning for the latter. This is Ennis’ first nomination.

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo Ren Klyce
Even ardent fans agree that style is intrinsic to the success of this film, and all its technical aspects are obtrusively – its sound in particular which is forced to the front from the opening. I feel just the slightest as if buddy-voting lands it here as well as sound mixing (where I’m more inclined to leave it), but I’m overthinking the equation. It’s credible work. In addition to 3 nominations for sound mixing (for the last 3 Fincher films) he’s been nominated once before for sound editing in Fight Club.

Hugo Philip Stockton, Eugene Gearty
This was the MPSE winner, and I predicted it win sound mixing two weeks ago (back when I thought I was making a ballsy choice). There are rumblings of it being undeserved, but what do I know? Its sound mixing is more celebratory, I’d agree, but the low-key but no less significant work on the sound editing is laudable too. I do love how the soundscape feels decidedly magical and unreal, in the best of ways. Both gents are celebrating their first nominations in this category, although Gearty was nominated for mixing on Gangs of New York.

Transformers: Dark of the Moon Ethan Van der Ryn and Erik Aadahl
Should it win here? I don’t know, I wouldn’t mind although I didn’t watch it in its entirety (hence its absence from my own nominees), but the work is generally good here. It’s a sound spectacle, after all. This is Aadahl’s first nomination, Van Der Ryn has won for King Kong and The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (and a nomination for the first entry in the Transformers’ series.)

War Horse Richard Hymns, Gary Rydstrom
This is being touted as the deserving winner. I wasn’t much enthused with it, though I will say it’s good work nonetheless. It’s war, after all, and as much as the visual the sound is significant in making it work. I am more at peace with its mixing nod than its sound editing one, but the fact that I’m bringing this up probably shows how little I know about soundscape. Hymns has won thrice here, with five previous nods, Rydstrom has also won thrice with four previous nods.

I’m actually generally clueless about what to predict here. To predict Hugo seems lazy, to predict War Horse seems lazy (I’d only be doing it because I heard people chatting it up), predicting Transformers is logical, and yet I don’t see it winning here unless it wins both – which I don’t think it will. I’m overthinking this….

Prediction: Transformers: Dark of the Moon
Alternate: Hugo


What do you think?


Squasher88 said...

I am very confused about Drive being in this category. I also thought of it more in Sound Mixing.

NeverTooEarlyMP said...

I'm thinking War Horse for the reasons you mention. It's true that it's probably a bit of a lazy pic on my part, but I suspect that a lot of Academy members get lazy by the time they get to this point on the ballot!

Andrew: Encore Entertainment said...

squasher i, too, but clearly we have no idea what we're talking about ;)

nte:MP i hope war horse doesn't get it, though. in an ideal world, i think it should be between hugo and transformers.