Friday, 15 June 2012

Summery Incoherent Oscar: Sound

“Why do you insist on predicting the Oscars when you’re so bad at it?”

For the record I don’t think I’m specifically terrible at Oscar prediction, but when my friend asked me that I couldn’t help but smile because granted, I don’t particularly engage in Oscar prognostics in the hope of being “right”. Which, of course, emerges as something counterintuitive – why predict if you don’t hope to be right?

I think the most ardent of Oscar predictors would admit that there is not rigid rule as to what makes Oscar fall in love and what does not. Words like “Oscar bait” and “surefire nominee in the making” and the like will be tossed around, but nothing’s definitive. So, why predict? Because, it’s fun – list making, i.e. – and the Oscars’ are ultimately a token of good, and not evil, because they propagate conversation about film, which we all like, right?

So…Sound. It’s not a category that tends to get much heat since the specificity of what makes for a good or bad use of sound in a film still seems inconclusive. Case in point - Hugo too home both sound prizes at the last ceremony, a decision I agreed with but which almost everyone else seemed less than enthused about. Still, sound is imperative to modern cinema – obviously – silent films are not en vogue. So, it’s June – predictive dissertations are folly, but humour me.

….wherein we assess which films have the finest artificially created sounds

My Predictions (alpha): The Amazing Spider-Man; Brave; The Dark Knight Rises; The Hobbit; Les Misérables

sound editing and sound mixing predictions after the jump....

A great deal of the middle section of Les Misérables occurs in and around the French Revolution, revolution is war and war is loud and loud is sound and that’s what we’re talking about. Even though I worry that Les Misérables shall not be as successful as general consensus indicates (I’m willing to proven wrong) I think its bid here is not a longshot.

Although my choice of the as yet unreleased Amazing Spiderman over The Hunger Games and Prometheus (both below) might be a longshot. Yes, the previous instalment of the series made good on sound nominations, but what will the technical effects be like in the reboot? I’m more confident in the trio of Brave, The Dark Knight Rises and The Hobbit. Oftentimes, an animated film will pop up here and I choose Brave as that one – the sound team of the other two have been proven before, even if they’re both sequels.

Then Again, Perhaps (by probability): The Hunger Games; The Life of Pi; Prometheus
In a way, I’d not be surprised if these three end up unseating as much as three of my actual predictions. The Hunger games success has been proven and despite lack of consensus on Prometheus technical aspect does not seem to be coming under fire. The Life of Pi sees its protagonist shipwrecked on the Pacific for months. I suspect sound shall be a key aspect of its production.

Below we’ve got one of the most commercially successful films – ever, a Tarintino period piece, a sci-fi time travel film and Kathryn Bigelow’s Osama project. Artificial sounds might feature in all, but how will voters respond? We’ll see.

More Possibilities (by probability): The Avengers; Django Unchained; Looper; Zero Dark Thirty

….wherein we assess the way created sound, dialogue and score all coalesce to form the complete sound design

My Predictions (alpha): Brave; The Dark Knight Rises; The Great Gatsby; The Hobbit; Les Misérables

Yes, the difference is always stressed between sound editing and sound mixing but for some reason or the other (not necessarily insidious) the crossover between the two categories is strong. So, ergo, my top 5 above. How plausible is The Great Gatsby as a contender here? Like everything here, it’s all up in the air. If my inclinations are accurate I suspect that five period heavy pieces (Les Miz and The Great Gatsby above and Anna Karenina, Django Unchained and The Life of Pi could battle out for one or two spots here.
Logic would suggest, then, that the other three (The Dark Knight Rises, Brave and The Hobbit) are assured of their places. Of course logic in June for a ceremony in February is suspect, so make of that what you will.

Then Again, Perhaps (by probability): The Amazing Spiderm-Man Anna Karenina; Django Unchained; The Hunger Games; Life of Pi

Will love for The Hunger Games carry through to award season? At first it seemed vaguely possibly but a great deal of that stemmed on its commercial success which The Avengers has throttled with generally the same positive reviews. It would be likely nominee here, as would The Bourne Legacy depending on how the film is received.

More Possibilities (by probability): The Bourne Legacy; Looper; Prometheus

Although the technical voters of the Academy are more likely to disregard critical response when casting their ballots, the general response does tend to affect its luck to some degree. Will Looper and Zero Dark Thirty get good reception? Will period pieces Anna Karenina and The Great Gatsby be revered enough to earn multiple technical nods? It’s all supposition at this point in time, but film talk is fun.

Any hunches on how the sound races will shape up 8 months before the fact? Are Brave; The Dark Knight Rises and The Hobbit heading to easy nods?

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