The LAMB Devours the Oscars: Best Sound Editing

by Rachel · February 15, 2012 · LAMB Devours the Oscars · 3 Comments

Editor’s note: Welcome to the twenty-second of a 32-part series dissecting the 84th Academy Awards, brought to you by the Large Association of Movie Blogs and its assorted members. Every day leading up to the Oscars, a new post written by a different LAMB will be published, each covering a different category of the Oscars. To read any other posts regarding this event, please click the tag following the post. Thank you, and enjoy!

By Joel of Deny Everything

My definition of this category will be based on all the sound work on the film excluding the mixing process, which is awarded in its own category (brilliantly run-through here).
Since I don’t have access to the original sound recordings from the set, I’ll be basing my opinions on the nominees from my general impression of the sound design in the films.
When it come to these more technically specific categories some say it’s preferred to re-watch the films with that element solely in focus.  I’m of the opinion that I rather analyze the specific category from how well it’s intertwined with the rest of the film. With that in mind I really dislike overly showy performances that bring too much attention to themselves rather than serving the greater good of the film.
I have seen three of the nominees, Drive, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and Transformers 3. I’ll be trying to catch War Horse in the cinema when it’s released in Sweden, but Hugo I won’t be seeing anytime soon. So on the last two I’ll do some guesswork on what I think their chances are for picking up the statue.
To my surprise none of the previous Harry Potter films were nominated in any of the sound categories and neither was the final installment.
A film that I liked and think should have gotten nominated is Real Steel which had a good balance between audio and visual elements. 
I haven’t really had that much time to do research, but I do think there have been some animated films nominated through the years and with that in mind, I’m kind of surprised Tintin was not nominated.
I’d have to say this is my front-runner of the entire category. Drive uses audio very subtly and it also uses silence in a great way, as seen in the opening sequence. The sound is also used as a catalyst when switching tone and pace within scenes. A good example is the elevator scene (even though some of that impact comes from the score).
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
Here’s a film that I came the closest to actually hearing some on-set sounds, since I worked on the Swedish crew. When I saw this at the cinema nothing really stood out in either way and I have to say it felt a little bland audio wise.
Transformers 3
Where to start??? The standouts here are of course the massive action sequences, especially the final one that lasts about 50 minutes. I’m not a big fan of carpet-bombing esque sequences so I’ll just cross my fingers that this one doesn’t go places.
War Horse
I actually think War Horse has a slight chance of upsetting Drive since it’s more of an emotional story set during war circumstances. This means it could have a duality in its sound design in both having and eating  the cake with the excess war setting and a more emotional environment to play with. And from what I have heard, the horse is more or less the main character of the film and that does certainly open up for some interesting sound work.
I’ll go out on a limb here and say that even if Hugo slams it and wins big, I doubt it will win this category. Scorsese is foremost a great visual director and most of his films are heavy visual feasts. However, I have to say that Shutter Island had some really good use of sound, but that story opened up to that kind of narrative in a way that I don’t think Hugo does.

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3 Responses to The LAMB Devours the Oscars: Best Sound Editing

  1. le0pard13 says:

    I agree with you on your points, Joel. Especially concerning DRIVE.

  2. It would be great to see Drive pick up an Oscar somewhere (and I guess this would have to be it), but I think War Horse probably has this for the dual reasons you mention.

  3. Shep. says:

    le0pard13, NTEMP: Thanks guys!

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