The 84th Academy Awards is almost here! Leading up to the event, we’re going to put all the hours we spent watching these films to good use by giving our thoughts on all the categories, big and small. We may not be experts on everything, but I daresay that’s never stopped anyone from blogging before. On the (very remote chance) you disagree with us or the (much more likely chance) you want to applaud our picks, please chime in below.

Sound Editing

The nominees are:

  • Drive Lon Bender and Victor Ray Ennis
  • The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Ren Klyce
  • Hugo, Philip Stockton and Eugene Gearty
  • Transformers: Dark of the Moon, Ethan Van der Ryn and Erik Aadahl
  • War Horse, Richard Hymns and Gary Rydstrom

And also:

Sound Mixing

The nominees are:

  • The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, David Parker, Michael Semanick, Ren Klyce and Bo Persson
  • Hugo, Tom Fleischman and John Midgley
  • Moneyball, Deb Adair, Ron Bochar, David Giammarco and Ed Novick
  • Transformers: Dark of the Moon, Greg P. Russell, Gary Summers, Jeffrey J. Haboush and Peter J. Devlin
  • War Horse, Gary Rydstrom, Andy Nelson, Tom Johnson and Stuart Wilson


Sound Editing is basically sound effects and do you know what had great sound effects? Drive. I’ve seen plenty of movie car chases in my day, but the sounds of a car engine have never made an impression on me like they did here. It made me want to go out and drive! I saw Drive about five months ago and I still think of it when I’m driving and the engine revs. But it’s not all mechanical noises here. Another one that made quite an impression on me is the sound of Ryan Gosling’s leather driving gloves and their creaks as he pulls them on or adjusts his hands on the wheel.

Sound Mixing is the mix of all audio elements of a film: dialogue, music, ADR, sound effects. People who have actual knowledge of the subject sayMoneyball has a great mix. But I think I’ll plump for Transformers. It sure has a lot of sound! But I was also struck with how it isn’t overwhelming. The dialogue remains clear even in the busiest action sequences while the music is complementary: notable but not overwhelming. Plus it would be nice to see Greg P Russell finally win an Oscar on his fifteenth try. The film would probably also make a good fit in the Sound Editing category for all those mechanical noises.

Something that crossed my mind during the big Chicago shoot-out at the end of Transformers is what would happen if they went for more realistic sounds as buildings crash and Transformers clang around? We think we know what disasters sound like from seeing so many movies, but think about footage from true disasters like 9/11 or the Japanese tsunami. The sounds are not like the movies and they are horrifying. An action movie should try it some day, unless they are worried about freaking people out for being too real.

The real best sound mixing of the year is Hanna. Truth be told, I’m kind of excited just to have an actual favorite sound mix. Since when does that happen? Anyway, Hanna has a great audio design with, like the rest of the movie, a bit of flair. They really put the thumping Chemical Brothers score to great use.

Hugo, War Horse, and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo all got nominations in both categories. I can see Tattoo for Mixing while war films generally do well in sound categories, but I don’t get Hugo. How about some Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol.


Sound just isn’t something I notice terribly often.  So if I really had to pull for someone, I’d probably go with what the guilds went for.  The MPSE honored War Horse for Sound Effects and Super 8 for Dialogue and ADR.  I will make the case, though, for Transformers.  That movie is pure eye and ear candy.  The Michael Bay conversation probably isn’t appropriate here, but to me, those movies are all whiz-crack-bang-boom, and that isn’t a bad thing.  Sound plays rather heavily into that sugar symphony, but it never gets distracting, just a natural part of the metallic cacophony.


Transformers for both.