The Oscars predictions continues and this time it’s all about the heroes in the sound mixing department, one of the toughest jobs in all of filmmaking. We look at who will of the five nominees will potentially be taking the prize.
Star Wars: The Force Awakens
This was tougher than I thought it would be. Mad Max: Fury Road was wall to wall action and the sound mix had so much to do with how captivated I was by the entire spectacle. But when we talk spectacle, one film in 2015 takes it and that’s Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
I can’t imagine how difficult it must be to work on a film with so much going on at any given time. Not everyone understands that the sounds we hear are carefully layered and strategically blended together to give us the immersive feeling of being in a galaxy far, far away. This installment in the franchise took special care in ensuring the aural experience complimented and even amplified what we saw on screen.
Star Wars: The Force Awakens
This is going to be a close call with some monstrous competition, but if my IMAX 3D big screen experience is anything to go by, I’m pretty sure Star Wars: The Force Awakens is going to take the win. The film has a huge, sprawling universe and moves from large-scale, high-speed action scenes, to more intimate one-on-one or group conversations, seamlessly transitioning in terms of story, visuals, and with the accompanying sound.
The way sounds are layered on top of one another to create a tangible environment is unbelievable. The one perfect example in the film is Maz Kanata’s castle has a host of humans and aliens doing a variety of activities from playing instruments, to talking, walking, and breathing, and all of these sounds are captured with such intricacy that it’s hard to overlook how amazing it’s all put together. Another example are the chase scenes using ships, especially when moving quickly from long shots outside of the ship to in-ship shots; the change in sound that accompanies these visual changes is seamlessly crafted.
Mad Max: Fury Road does a great job of layering sound as well, but I don’t think it has anything on Star Wars, while The Martian makes an inferior attempt at mixing the elements of sound in space when compared to the Oscar-winning Gravity.
Mad Max: Fury Road
Chaos, noise and extremely disruptive. A mess like a child playing with their food, but at the end of it, you love the mess because of the bundle of joy looking up at you with their innocence. Mad Max was an outstanding movie but what it made better was the sound. In an apocalyptic world, chaos is the only form of normal and the sound in every scene portrayed the end of the world. There was beauty in the chaos.
Not to forget the sounds of the engine. Had Top Gear not being scrapped, 2-3 episodes would have been dedicated to the vehicles of Mad Max and the roaring engines that would tame any beast. That includes the bear in The Revenant.
What is your prediction for Best Sound Mixing?
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