There is under a week remaining before the biggest movie awards ceremony of the year and more of the categories are becoming clear with each passing day. The last of the major guilds announced their annual awards over the weekend, giving awards pundits a slightly better idea of which films are garnering the most buzz. Oscar ballots have already been submitted, of course, so these awards cannot change the race in any way, but since many voting members of the various guilds are also voting members of the Academy, it does give us a picture of where their minds are.
Two of the latest guild groups to announce their awards were the Cinema Audio Society (CAS) and the Motion Picture Sound Editors (MPSE). The CAS Awards most closely mirror the Best Sound Mixing category with many of their previous winners going on to take the Academy Award. Variety recently announced that this year the group gave Les Miserables their Best Sound Mixing in a Motion Picture – Live Action award, which is in keeping with my prediction for the category. Musicals tend to do very well in the Sound Mixing category and Les Miserables has the added benefit of the very appealing and well-publicized live recorded songs. This award announcement should be just what it takes to cement the film’s status as the frontrunner in this category.
Best Sound Editing is a much more trickier beast, however. Two weeks ago I made the prediction that Zero Dark Thirty might take this category because it was a war movie in a category that has been historically dominated by the genre. However, my opinion has since changed due to a combination of lack of overall appreciation for Zero Dark Thirty, a surge in technical buzz for Life of Pi, and the recently announced MPSE awards. According to In Contention, Ang Lee’s film took home two awards from the MPSE: Best Sound Editing: Music in a Feature Film and Best Sound Editing: Dialogue and ADR in a Feature Film. However, the prize for Best Sound Editing: Sound Effects and Foley in a Feature Film went to Sam Mendes’ Skyfall.
If the vote for the Best Sound Editing Oscar was solely up to the Motion Picture Sound Editors, one would assume that Skyfall would be the frontrunner after winning their most sound effects driven award. However, the entire voting body of the Academy gets to vote including members of other branches who may not be as familiar with the sound effects work on a film. Typically voters seem to choose the movies they like best or have the best overall technical achievement to win in this category. This may mean that Argo or Life of Pi could take the award. For now, I’m going to go with Pi, but don’t be surprised if I change my mind before Oscar night.
Below are the official winners from the CAS and MPSE:
Cinema Audio Society
Award Winners 2013
Outstanding Achievement in Sound Mixing – Live Action
Outstanding Achievement in Sound Mixing – Animated
Motion Picture Sound Editors
Award Winners 2013
Best Sound Effects, Foley, Dialogue and ADR in an Animation Film
Best Sound Effects, Foley, Dialogue, ADR and Music in a Documentary
Last Call at the Oasis
Best Sound Effects, Foley, Dialogue and ADR in a Feature Foreign Film
Rust and Bone
Best Music in a Feature Film
Life of Pi
Best Music in a Musical Feature Film
Best Dialogue and ADR in a Feature Film
Life of Pi
Best Sound Effects and Foley in a Feature Film
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