‘Shutter Island,’ ‘Social Network’ surprise with Cinema Audio Society, ‘TRON’ snubbed

Posted by · 5:30 am · January 6th, 2011

The immediately striking thing about this year’s slate of nominees from the Cinema Audio Society (which honors sound mixing) is the appearance of “Shutter Island.” This is the film’s second below-the-line guild citation in as many days (following an Art Directors Guild nomination yesterday).

If it had managed a PGA nomination earlier this week, I’d be saying, “Watch out.”  But the crafts are what were going to help this film along, if anything.  Just remember, there’s a 10th Best Picture slot somewhat up for grabs and there is always the “steak eaters” theory (however overstressed) to consider.  People in the industry do like the film, though maybe for its parts more than their sum.

The second thing that’s striking is “The Social Network” making it in.  Though that shouldn’t be too unexpected.  It’s an amazing mix from veteran craftsmen.  But could this be the “Finding Neverland” or “Babel” of this year’s slate?  It’s possible.  (Check back later this morning for more on that as today’s Tech Support interview includes sound mixers Ren Klyce and Michael Semanick.)

The other three nominees were less surprising, but I’m really happy the quality work on “Black Swan” made it in.  I’ve always been blown away by the sonic environment of that film, and the effects editing, as well.  (This was discussed at length in a recent SoundWorks Collection profile.)  I’ve been thinking for some time that the balance of those elements could draw goodwill.

The most stunning snub, if you ask me, is “TRON Legacy.” I thought that was a killer mix and a lot of key players were involved on it up at Skywalker Sound.  But we’re in a time of nuance appreciation in this field, so maybe they felt like it blew the speakers off the wall or something.  Still, to snub that in favor of the (however expected) tip of the hat to the somewhat muffled “Inception?” Bah.

The other nominee I’m predicting for Oscar which missed was “Unstoppable.” I would still keep it in mind, though.  There’s a lot of respect for that work out there and Fox has a concentrated below-the-line campaign going for it, so it could surprise a la “Wanted” two years back.

Anyway, have a look at the CAS nominees for yourself over at The Circuit.

[Photo: Paramount Pictures]

→ 21 Comments Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Filed in: Daily

21 responses so far

  • 1 1-06-2011 at 5:44 am

    Carson Dyle said...

    Muffled? Apart from one line of dialogue from Cotillard which is Zimmered out, Inception’s sound mix is pretty bloody impressive.

    Oh, wait. The film’s officially in the doghouse now. I forgot.

  • 2 1-06-2011 at 5:45 am

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    I disagree. Snide final comment not really necessary.

  • 3 1-06-2011 at 5:49 am

    Estefan said...

    I agree with Tapley on the muffled assessment. There are points where the dialogue was barely audible over Zimmer’s score. And I’m somebody who really liked Inception.

    And I thought the Cinema Audio Society had more categories, like best sound mixing in an animated film and best sound editing in a musical? Or am I thinking of another awards organisation?

  • 4 1-06-2011 at 5:50 am

    Estefan said...

    Oops. Never mind that last question. I just looked it up and it’s the Motion Picture Sound Editors I was thinking of. When do they announce?

  • 5 1-06-2011 at 5:53 am

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    MPSE used to be post-Oscar nods. I think last yer they came before. Not sure of the date this year, though.

  • 6 1-06-2011 at 6:09 am

    JJ1 said...

    Stunned by lack of TRON, but so very happy for Black Swan and Shutter Island!

  • 7 1-06-2011 at 6:54 am

    Loyal said...

    Go Black Swan!!! Like The Social Network, it’s the only film to go 5 for 5 with the guilds thus far


  • 8 1-06-2011 at 7:19 am

    Sam C. said...

    What about 127 Hours? The Sound in that was fantastic.

  • 9 1-06-2011 at 7:25 am

    Graysmith said...

    The Tron snub is ridiculous, but yay for some surprising choices! Pretty interesting that they skipped nearly all of the big, loud blockbusters in favor of so many “smaller” films like Black Swan and True Grit.

  • 10 1-06-2011 at 7:35 am

    DylanS said...

    I just don’t think “Shutter Island” is going to happen, but I’m turning around on “Black Swan”, it was a killer mix and I just wasn’t sure it would be up the academy’s ally. Also, I had “The Social Network” as a predicted surprise nominee in this category, and this nom definetly solitifies my belief that it will show up here on announcement day.

  • 11 1-06-2011 at 8:32 am

    Paul Outlaw said...

    True Grit continues to be a strong presence. Bravo. Anyone know how much money I could make if I bet $50 on Matt Damon getting a BSA nod?

  • 12 1-06-2011 at 9:09 am

    Dreyer. said...

    More unnecessary negative Inception grunts; I guess Tapley’s gotta Tapp.

  • 13 1-06-2011 at 9:13 am

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    Not unnecessary. Legitimate beef that’s shared by others, clearly.

  • 14 1-06-2011 at 9:35 am

    Hans said...

    No, I’ve expressed my adoration for Inception, and even I have to agree on the muffled dialogue. My biggest beef is with Watanabe’s dialogue, he has some extremely key lines and between the mixing and his accent they just do not come out clear at all; it took me three viewings to figure out what he was saying after talking about buying the airline.

    That said, to end on a positive note, the mix has its great moments as well; the explosion of the Paris cafe scene is very rich and layered.

  • 15 1-06-2011 at 9:36 am

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    “the explosion of the Paris cafe scene is very rich and layered”

    Honestly I think what resonates sonically with that scene is owed more to the sound effects editing, but that’s just me.

  • 16 1-06-2011 at 9:43 am

    Hans said...

    I think it might have been a sound featurette you posted, Kris, that highlighted the layers involved in that scene, so now whenever I see it I notice the whomping bass and whatnot. Then again, I may be perceiving a mixture of the mix and the effects editing; perhaps it’s a credit to the mix that the two blend so well in that scene =)

  • 17 1-06-2011 at 9:51 am

    JJ1 said...

    I would agree that the only aspect of the sound of Inception that bothered me WAS Watanabe’s dialogue.

    Even when I watch it with subtitles, I’m shocked that that is actually what’s supposed to be coming out of his mouth; though, I suppose that’s part the fault of the actor – whom I love, but hasn’t mastered assertive English language.

  • 18 1-06-2011 at 9:52 am

    Guy Lodge said...

    Not that it’d ever show up here, but I was struck by the density of detail in the “Winter’s Bone” sound mix on a second viewing.

    And while I’m talking about long shots — well, flying-pig impossibilities, really — the sound work in “The Temptation of St. Tony” is stunning.

    As for the obvious “noisy” contenders, however, I agree with Kris — “TRON Legacy” blows them out the water.

  • 19 1-06-2011 at 8:19 pm

    Glenn said...

    “Black Swan”‘s sound work is incredible.

    That’s all I’ve got to say, really.

  • 20 1-06-2011 at 8:54 pm

    John said...

    These are 5 perfectly good nominees. TRon 2 and Unstoppable seem like pretty glaring omissions, though. I’d have to give The Social Network and True Girt the boot.

    Inception seems like the obvious winner, though.