On Sunday, February 27thThe Academy of Motion Arts and Sciences will present the 83rd Academy Awards. The elite of Hollywood, filmmakers and stars, will converge on the most special day of the year. This year the Academy Awards will be hosted by actress Anne Hathaway and actor James Franco.
My Oscar nominations are broken down by category. This is in-depth look at each nominated film.
Best Sound Mixing in the Academy Awards, recognizes the finest sound mixing or recording in a Motion Picture and was known previously as Best Sound.
The Movie Awards Examiner’s pick for Best Sound Mixing is Lora Hirschberg, Gary A. Rizzo and Ed Novick for the film Inception.
This year there are five films nominated for Best Sound Mixing (previously known as Sound):
- Inception – Lora Hirschberg, Gary A. Rizzo and Ed Novick
- The King’s Speech –Paul Hamblin, Martin Jensen and John Midgley
- Salt –Jeffrey J. Haboush, Greg P. Russell, Scott Millan and William Sarokin
- The Social Network –Ren Klyce, David Parker, Michael Semanick and Mark Weingarten
- True Grit – Skip Lievsay, Craig Berkey, Greg Orloff and Peter F. Kurland
In The King’s Speech, Paul Hamblin, Marin Jensen and John Midgley were the sound mixers. There are some tricky technical moments when adding in the radio broadcasts, but that was the limit to any challenging tasks. Being there were limited sound effects to mix with film’s music and dialogue, the only way for this film to win is if the film has a major sweep across all categories.
Jeffrey J. Haboush, Greg P. Russell, Scott Millan and William Sorakin for Salt do an excellent job of mixing a plethora of sound effects with music and dialogue. They also excel at isolating sounds from each other. And there may be some sympathy for Greg P. Russell as this is his fourteenth nomination without a win. But Salt has no other nominations and doesn’t have the same cache as some of its other competitors.
In The Social Network, Ren Klyce, David Parker, Michael Semanick and Mark Weingarten also excel at the main function of sound mixing. Special note can be made of their excellence at emphasizing the dialogue during scenes that also contained loud music. But this film lacks the special effect sounds to make it as difficult as some of the other competitors.
In True Grit, the Coen brothers employed the same sound mixing team as that for No Country For Old Men: Skip Lievsay, Craig Berkey, Greg Orloff and Peter F. Kurland. They excel at differentiating between space and setting. When the dialogue is quiet the remaining sounds (effects and music) continue to tell the story. But unfortunately, westerns do not win sound awards.
Inception, a film by Christopher Nolan, however is my pick for Best Sound Mixing. This film weighs heavily on sound effects along with the visual effects to tell the story of this intricate film. This team, same as Nolan’s The Dark Knight team, are Lora Hirschberg, Gary A Rizzo and Ed Novick. This film relies on music to help tell the story (although the over use of “La Vie en Rose,” was a bit irritating) and getting a good combination of all sounds without overshadowing necessary and complex dialogue are unique and well-executed.
Whatever your movie choice this week, please remember your movie theater etiquette: silence your cell phones, no texting, don’t talk during the film and remove your children if they become a distraction to other audience members. Don’t forget that laughing, crying and cheering are always approved behavior and even encouraged.
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-Kay Shackleton is a film historian with special focus on Silent Film, see her work on SilentHollywood.com