Oscarthon: Best Sound Effects Editing

They really need to rename the two sound awards, to avoid the yearly confusion about which is which. Don't get me wrong, I don't think people at large care all that much about the tech awards, but at least all the rest are self-explanatory (we all know what costumes, makeup, visual effects, and cinematography are, right?).

To wit: sound effects editing should really be called Sound Effects Creation- it's for the making, from scratch, of footsteps and explosion sounds and gunshots to match pre-existing footage (or CGI-work). To a lesser extent Editing is also about cleaning up dialogue shot on-set and removing background noises and imperfections to make it better for the finished film.

Got that? Sound Mixing is exactly what it sounds like: mixing all of the finished audio together- the effects that the sound designers created, the on-set dialogue they've cleaned up, Additional Dialogue Recording in post-production, and the score.

An analogy: Sound Effects Editing is to Sound Mixing what Cinematography is to Film Editing- the first one designs the raw materials, the second one fits it all together.

Now, let's see what kind of effects our five nominees had to create.

1. Avatar- Christopher Boyes (4 for 11) and Gwendolyn Yates Whittle (0 for 0)

If this seems like another Avatar vs. The Hurt Locker category, remember this: Critics Don't Matter. Past winners of this trophy include Pearl Harbor, U-571 and Peter Jackson's King Kong. They like big things, expansive projects- Avatar fits that bill to a T and should win this award- Boyes is also the only heavyweight in the field with four sound wins.

It's got everything: explosions, multiple alien creature noises- they even made Sam Worthington sound like he had a pulse two or three times.

2. The Hurt Locker- Paul N.J. Ottosson (0 for 1)

Another war film, with plenty of explosions, lots of gunfire, and what must've clearly been difficult dialogue to record onset in blistering conditions. If people are really in love with this film, it has the potential to sweep (except for Best Actor), but considering the indie darling (Slumdog Millionaire) lost to the popular action movie (The Dark Knight) in this category last year, I wouldn't bet on it.

3. Inglourious Basterds- Wylie Stateman (0 for 4)

Not really one that occurred to me would be here, but hey- it had as much going on as any other. I wouldn't necessarily vote for multiple sounds of Christoph Waltz chewing things over a giant spaceship shattering every window in Johannesburg, but I don't get a ballot, do I?

4. Star Trek- Mark Stoeckinger (0 for 1) and Alan Rankin (0 for 0)

Another worthy entry, perhaps a winner in a weaker year. Between the background noises on the enterprise, the destruction of planets, and your various beeps and boops, there were more sounds to create than there were lens flares to perfect.

5. Up- Michael Silvers (1 for 4) and Tom Myers(0 for 1)

Pixar is a frequent combatant in Effects Editing, but has only won for The Incredibles, which Silvers shared. Up, however, is the least sonically diverse thing they've made in a while, and another thing that I think shouldn't have beaten out District 9.

So for the record that's my pick going to Avatar. But will it win any more than this and Visual Effects? Stay tuned to find out.

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