Monday, February 16, 2015

'Birdman' and 'Sniper' Both Win MPSE Awards

The Motion Picture Sound Editors spread the wealth at last night's Golden Reel Awards, bestowing trophies upon the Oscar-nominated sound editing teams of Birdman, American Sniper, Unbroken, among others not cited by the Academy's sound branch; Big Hero 6, Get On Up, The Liberator, and Warsaw Uprising.

American Sniper's victory came on its sole nomination, Best Sound Effects and Foley, commonly seen as the closest descriptor of the Oscar for sound editing.
I'm starting to smell a bit of a Hugo-v.-War-Horse situation brewing in the sound categories...

Remember back in 2012, when it was basically between Spielberg's war film and Scorsese's family drama for Best Sound Mixing and Editing? Hugo won the CAS and a single MPSE Golden Reel Award (for music editing), while War Horse won the MPSE's award for effects and foley.

In my nearsightedness, I fell back on the observation that the Oscar winner is almost always an MPSE winner. And since a split between mixing/editing had only once ever occurred between two films nominated for both (Slumdog Millionaire and The Dark Knight), I felt justified in predicting War Horse to take both golden boys from the Academy.

Well, I guess I was right about a split not happening. But I put my eggs in the wrong basket, For it was Hugo -- a far more beloved Best Picture option than War Horse -- that ultimately won both.

Now look what we have this year:

Birdman has been on a wicked tear with the guilds, winning prizes from the PGA, SAG, ADG, DGA, CAS, MHG, ASC, and now the MPSE, solidifying its grasp on the Best Picture Oscar in just under a week's time. Even though American Sniper looks like the far more traditional winner for sound, it doesn't have nearly the same passion behind it as Birdman (which, by the way, won the same MPSE category that Hugo did before upsetting War Horse).

So I'm going to do something I rarely do: I'm going to welch on my initial instinct and now predict a split between Birdman (mixing) and American Sniper (sound editing). I've done this once before with The Hurt Locker and Avatar, and that worked out in my favour because I originally thought Avatar would win both.

For the record, I don't truly believe this will happen. I am quite convinced that whatever wins one will win the other, but I just can't afford to blank these categories again. My record from 2012 is the lowest I've put up in six years (15/24), thanks in no small part to my underestimation of Hugo. At least this way I stand a reasonably good chance at salvaging one of my two sound predictions.

Check out the feature film winners from last night's Golden Reel Awards:

Feature English Language - Effects/Foley - American Sniper
Of the five Oscar contenders, this one is the most deserving. But among the eight films that were vying for the Golden Reel, it aught to have been Fury. That sound design was exceptional.

Feature English Language - Dialogue/ADR - Unbroken
Should have been Apes, which went 0/3 with this guild.

Feature Music - Birdman
I'd have gone with Gone Girl, but this is a close second. The integration of Antonio Sanchez's drums is so vital to the rhythm of this movie.

Feature Musical - Get On Up
Why is this not Whiplash? Excuse me while I hurl a chair at someone's head.

Feature Foreign Language - Effects/Foley/Dialogue/ADR - The Liberator
Yeah... Haven't seen it.

Feature Animation - Big Hero 6
Big Hero 6 has been cleaning up with the latest guilds: VES, CAS, and now MPSE. Could this late surge signal an upset over Dragons 2?

Feature Documentary - Warsaw Uprising


  1. The split is an accurate prediction. Sniper looks pretty secure for sound editing. But sound mixing is a bit iffy... Birdman might look like top dog with CAS + Music Reel, but there's also the Whiplash factor which should be considered. It smells to me like a Ray vs Aviator scenario

  2. Birdman and Sniper split is more like a Slumdog Dark Knight split.

    Do you have any idea why Whiplash was not nominated by the CAS?