Thursday, February 2, 2017

Awards-Nazi Award Nominations: Sound Mixing

Last week I gave the sound designers and editors their due, and today I look at those who best implemented their sounds into the acoustic machinery. As usual, there's often some overlap between my nominees for Best Sound Editing and Best Sound Mixing (though not nearly as much overlap as the Academy's), so two movies are double-dipping as the best sounding film of the year for me. Find out which two they are, plus three other terrifically mixed projects after the jump.

(Greg P. Russell, Gary Summers, Jeffrey J. Haboush, Mac Ruth)

It never ceases to amaze me how Michael Bay's movies sound way less confusing than they actually are. Every sound is placed so carefully and none of the dialogue (disposable as it is) gets drowned out.

ARRIVAL (Bernard Gariépy Strobl, Claude La Haye)

So many distinctive elements to balance: Alien vocals, unusual score, machines and crowds. In order to truly absorb this movie we need to be immersed in its rich soundscape, and it is an immersive one.

LA LA LAND (Andy Nelson, Ai-Ling Lee, Nicholai Baxter, Steve A. Morrow)

Small quibbles about lip synch aside, this mix is incredibly attuned to the instrumentation of the music. Not unlike Whiplash before it, it gives the audience a great appreciation for arrangement.

LION (Robert Mackenzie, Steve Burgess, Nakul Kamte, Andrew Ramage)

Blends the chaotic ambiance of India to put us in the headspace of a panicked child, before turning to a more artistic collage of aural memories that haunt a guilt-ridden adult.

ROGUE ONE (Christopher Scarabosio, David Parker, Stuart Wilson)

One of the busiest mix jobs of the year, wherein the score and sound effects must bridge the crosscuts between several layers of action without jarring the viewer out of it. That last hour... Whoa.

Other considerations:
Allied (Randy Thom, Ben Procter, Dennis S. Sands, Simon Hayes)
Deepwater Horizon (Mike Prestwood Smith, Dror Mohar, David Wyman)
Hacksaw Ridge (Robert Mackenzie, Andy Wright, Kevin O'Connell, Peter Grace)
The Jungle Book (Christopher Boyes, Lora Hirschberg, Ron Judkins)
Moana (Gabriel Guy, David E. Fluhr, Paul McGrath)


  1. Wonderful observation on Rogue one...not my #1 on your list (or the Academy's) but definitely one of the year's best!

  2. Replies
    1. Decent. Certainly an important part of the vibe Scorsese's going for, but it didn't jump out at me as a particularly awards-worthy accomplishment.

  3. Ditto that question. Silence cracked my top five personally.