Truth be told, there was only one film I saw (that is, heard) this year whose sound design is so embedded into the identity of the movie that it instantly became my defacto winner. That said, there were still plenty of other impressive aural accomplishments, so for now I'll let you guess which of these five Best Sound Editing showcases will take my esteemed prize:
ARRIVAL (Sylvain Bellemare, David Whitehead, Michelle Child)
Ominous and entrancing, from the heptapods' oblique vocals to the liberated echos in the Shell to the stifling noise of the base camp. Communicates volumes without spoken word; How apropos.
DEEPWATER HORIZON (Wylie Stateman, Renee Tondelli)
Intensely articulates the various mechanical malfunctions that led to the gusher – to say nothing of the gusher and ensuing explosions themselves – in gripping sonic detail.
HACKSAW RIDGE (Robert Mackenzie, Andy Wright)
Replaces an unusable production audio with an explicit, startling soundscape, maximizing the aural impact of every gunshot, blast and bodily mutilation.
ROGUE ONE (Christopher Scarabosio, Matthew Wood)
Continues to diversify the most distinctive sound library in cinema, lending a gritty war film vibe to the blasters and spaceships we already recognize.
THE SHALLOWS (Brandon Jones, Tobias Poppe)
An enveloping sound palette that keeps us precariously unnerved, both above and below the pounding surf. The movie has many moods, and so too does the ocean we hear.
Live By Night (Erik Aadahl, Ethan Van der Ryn)
13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi (Erik Aadahl, Ethan Van der Ryn)
The Jungle Book (Christopher Boyes, Frank E. Eulner)
The Red Turtle (Sebastien Marquilly)Sully (Alan Robert Murray, Bub Asman)