Wednesday, February 10, 2010

One Category at a Time: Best Sound Editing

As I did with Sound Mixing yesterday, I approach this category with apprehension, because even though the awards bulldozer Avatar seems locked and loaded in this category, the Academy's general ignorance toward the intricacies of sound design have resulted in epic fails for the last several years, with the Oscar often going to whichever film was the most liked (Letters from Iwo Jima, The Bourne Ultimatum, The Dark Knight) as opposed to whichever film truly deserved it (Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest, Transformers, WALL-E). But it seems that this kind of uninformed, lazy voting will actually benefit the most deserving nominee this year, as Avatar is not only the best of the five, but is also likely the automatic selection for those Academy members who simply don't care to give their vote any thought.

It's worth giving mention to the other nominees. In another year, Star Trek would have won this easily for its wonderfully inventive and simply awesome effects. The Hurt Locker, as a Best Picture nominee, gets a token nomination here, but that's not to undermine Paul Ottosson's work. His own military experience paid off in aiding his creation of those incredibly realistic and involving war sounds. Pixar's sound quality is always top notch, and its status as a perennial nominee in this category is well earned, although I don't know if Up belongs in the lineup more than District 9 or Transformers. The most surprising nominee of the five is Inglourious Basterds, but if Wylie Stateman could manage nods for Wanted and Memoirs of a Geisha, it shouldn't be a huge shock to see him pop up here again.

If for no other reason, look at this category as an indicator for potential sweepers. If either The Hurt Locker or Inglourious Basterds manage to upset (fat chance), there's your Best Picture winner.

Will/should win: Avatar

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