Tuesday, Feb. 22, 2011

Best Sound Mixing

Inception (WINNER)
The King's Speech
The Social Network
True Grit

You wonder every year, as do we: What is sound mixing? What is sound editing? And how do we tell them apart? For an expert's explanation, we turn to In Contention's very thoughtful Oscar guru Kris Tapley: "Sound editing ... concerns the manifestation of artificial sound effects and the overall manipulation of the sonic identity of a film. Sound mixing concerns the balance of those various elements, in addition to music and dialogue, as well as the on-the-set maintenance of production audio."

Clear? No? Then let's begin eliminating films. The Social Network is an all-talkie, and script-driven movies rarely win in this category. Further, it wasn't nominated for Sound Editing, where its intelligible mix of overlapping dialogue and droning Trent Reznor score should have earned mention. Salt: lots of tire screeches in the chase scenes, but this is the only nomination the film received, and in this category, Academy voters typically choose pictures they liked for other reasons. True Grit: those woodland sounds and the ominous silences were plenty eloquent, but we can't help feeling this is one of those films (like The Turning Point in 1978) that gets a ton of nominations but no wins.

So it's Inception vs. The King's Speech. Our hunch is that the voters will remember the sound of that metal doohickey spinning at the end of the film and pick Inception.