91st Oscar Blast: Sound Editing & Sound Mixing – A Tighter Race Than Usual

Will A Quiet Place take home an Oscar for it’s use of sound?

Tonight is the 91st Annual Academy Awards! And all day today we’ll be bringing you a rundown of each category as well as reviews of the nominated films. Next up, we’re taking a look at two often overlooked categories, Sound Mixing and Sound Editing. These are two categories that tend to include Blockbuster films (Black Panther) or the occasional Horror film (A Quiet Place). But many people don’t understand what they truly mean. We’ll explain what the categories mean and who the frontrunner(s) is/are in each category.

Sound Editing

The Sound Editing category is essentially awarded to the film that has the best sound effects. It’s awarded to the Supervising Sound Editors and at times Sound Designers. The Academy looks at what film created the most unique and brilliant sound within the world of the film; essentially what doesn’t seem as though it was simply made in a room.

This year the nominees are, Black Panther, Bohemian Rhapsody, First Man, A Quiet Place, and Roma. A tough group this year, the Sound Editing category includes Roma as the only film that feels like an underdog/long shot. Honestly, Roma’s inclusion almost feels like a matter of Academy members nominating the film for everything they can. Which makes sense, but it’s a long shot here. Black Panther and A Quiet Place both have an edge for the fact that they had to create sounds for worlds that aren’t real, and in a way A Quiet Place had this nomination since its release given the way the film works. First Man gets the nom for the fact that they’re recreating sounds from shuttle launches. And Bohemian Rhapsody is almost a musical and as such gets included.

It’s hard to decide here but honestly A Quiet Place has to be the front runner here. The sound in this film is so specific and so important to the film as a whole, that if the film didn’t win this it would feel like a loss. There’s no other film that uses sound like this film does. Not in the nominees listed, and not in any release of recent memory. It would be a shock if that film didn’t take home the Oscar, and it’s surprising that it’s not also nominated for Sound Mixing. That being said, there’s been a lot of build up around First Man as of late, and it’s beginning to look like the likely front runner. First Man hasn’t seen much love this season, and it does deserve some sort of acknowledgement, but it feels odd to not give this award to A Quiet Place. But if this year has been anything, it’s odd.

Sound Mixing

This award goes to the production sound mixers and re-recording mixers. These are the people who make sure that everything in the film works together; like the songs and sounds of audiences roaring in A Star is Born and Bohemian Rhapsody flow together in the exact right way. Or that we can still hear mission control as the rockets take off in First Man. If it all sounds appealing and satisfying then they’ve done their job correctly.

The nominees this year are Black Panther, Bohemian Rhapsody, First Man, Roma and A Star Is Born. Essentially A Quiet Place got swapped out for A Star is Born, which sort of makes sense given that A Star is Born is almost a musical. To be honest, in the end this is A Star is Born’s Oscar to lose. It gets points for the fact that it knocked out A Quiet Place and unless Academy members decide to vote a straight ticket (every category possible) for Roma, it’s going to win here. One could argue that Bohemian Rhapsody could take it for the same reasons, but that film has a bit of a dark cloud over it for allegations against director Bryan Singer, and the LGBTQ community not being happy with its portrayal of Freddie Mercury. Those aspects are going to make it a tough race for the Queen biopic, and it’ll be surprising if it goes home with a single award.

So as of now here’s the final word:

Sound Editing: A Quiet Place

Sound Mixing: A Star is Born

A STAR IS BORN

Written by Alex Lancaster
(Alex is a life long film fan, and has dedicated his life to watching, making and obsessing over films. His favorite film is Big Fish, and he despises Avatar. He has a 4 year old son. And a bad habit of saying more than he needs to. Follow @alex5348 on Twitter)

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