Golden Rule: Dunkirk’s Sound Gives it a Boost

Leading up to the 90th Academy Awards on March 4th, we’re diving into as many of the nominated films as possible to look at what their chances are for taking home the Oscar. Today we’re looking at Dunkirk, which is nominated for Best Picture, Best Director (Christopher Noaln), Best Original Score, Best Sound Editing, Best Sound Mixing, Best Production Design, Best Cinematography, Best Film Editing.

Dunkirk examines the Dunkirk evacuation of World War II where civilian boats worked to evacuate over 300,000 Allied soldiers from the beaches of Dunkirk. The film is split into three perspectives: Land, Sea, and Air. The film follows a soldier (Fionn Whitehead) attempting to escape the beach, a fighter pilot (Tom Hardy) as he battles German aircraft, and a British citizen (Mark Rylance) who leads his boat across the English Channel with his son (Tom Glynn-Carney) and one of his friends (Barry Keoghan).

Dunkirk is a great film. It deserves the recognition it’s gotten and possibly all of the nominations. It’s also a fantastic war film, that keeps you on your toes throughout. But the film’s biggest flaw is that it lacks the heart needed in this. There are thrilling moments where you want to see the “good guys win.” When they don’t and things fall apart again and again, it hits you. But it doesn’t grab you. Chris Nolan once said that he doesn’t like 3D because it forces the audiences to sit back in their seats, and he wants them to be on the edge. Dunkirk never feels like an edge-of-your-seat film. It’s a great film. But it’s not as good as some of Nolan’s other work.

Overall Dunkirk’s best chances of winning any Oscars rest on the technical categories. It will probably win Sound Editing, Sound Mixing and Editing. Right now, it’s the frontrunner in all three categories. It’s also got a decent shot at Cinematography. But there’s a good chance that Roger Deakins will win for his work on Blade Runner 2049. Deakins has been nominated 14 times and has not yet won. Deakins should win this year. But if he doesn’t it will go to Dunkirk and cinematographer Hoyte van Hoytema.

Dunkirk is currently available on DVD, Digital and Blu-Ray. Be sure to keep following Poor Man’s Spoiler for all of our Oscar coverage. The Oscars air on ABC on March 4th at 8pm ET.

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