'Hanna,' 'Pirates' among Cinema Audio Society surprises, 'Transformers' snubbed

Posted by · 4:30 am · January 19th, 2012

And now, as they say, for something completely different.

The guild nominations these last few weeks have been rank and file, the usual mish-mash of the same titles reflecting a bit of group think and perfunctory nominations. That ends today, though, as the Cinema Audio Society’s crop of selections for excellence in sound mixing includes some eyebrow-raising, refreshingly singular choices.

First and foremost, “Transformers: Dark of the Moon” was snubbed, and I’m shocked by that. The sound mixers carried the franchise’s last two films to nominations with both the CAS and the sound branch of the Academy, but stopped things dead in their tracks today by ignoring the year’s best work in the field. Will it still be able to grab a mention from the smaller group within AMPAS? Maybe, but this is a blow.

In its place, actioner “Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides” filled out the summer blockbuster spot, along with the expected inclusion of “Super 8.” But the real surprise is “Hanna” turning up, completely out of left field.

The Joe Wright film has received a little bit of love this season for star Saoirse Ronan, but mostly for The Chemical Brothers’ unique score. The music’s implementation in the movie is very much a part of its drive and effect, so this is a nice notice for it. It was one of the early screeners to go out, but nevertheless, it’s a brave change of pace for the Society. And how fitting it is, with all that in mind, that this year scoring mixers have been included in the list of CAS nominees for the first time ever.

Also a bit unexpected, but not entirely shocking, is the inclusion of “Moneyball,” a meat-and-potatoes movie if there ever was one this season. I don’t think it will turn the trick with Oscar, but it certainly could. Nevertheless, I’d consider it and “Hanna” to be at the bottom of the pile here.

“Hugo” was the only serious Best Picture contender named, keeping its guild and society showing strong. It’s a likely Oscar nominee, too, and I’d chalk “Pirates” and “Super 8” up alongside it. The “Pirates” franchise has twice been nominated for Best Sound Mixing and each time with a CAS nod to go along with it.

Elsewhere, Steven Spielberg’s “War Horse” suffered yet another precursor set-back as the work from his trusted team of mixers did not register with the Society. That marks misses with the DGA, WGA, ADG, SAG and CAS, with only PGA and ACE nods to show for itself from the industry awards so far. It did, however, get a Best Sound nod from BAFTA and was also chalked up by the sound chapter there in the longlists, which is why, for now, I’m keeping it in my predictions. I’m also banking on “Transformers” finding its way there, too.

“The Artist” popped up in the Best Sound category with BAFTA, though it wasn’t a choice from the chapter. Nevertheless, it could ride a lot of goodwill to a “surprise” nomination like this. It seems like a nod that could happen and then we all go, “Of course.”

Other BAFTA nominees included “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2” and “Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy.” Each was also selected by the chapter.

My fingers are crossed that CAS voters just didn’t get around to “Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol” in time, and that it and “Rango” might still find some play.

You can follow the race at the Best Sound Mixing category’s Contenders page.

Once again, the 2011 Cinema Audio Society nominees are:

“Hanna” (Roland Winke, Christopher Scarabosio, Craig Berkey, Andrew Dudman)

“Hugo” (John Midgley, Tom Fleischman, Simon Rhodes)

“Moneyball” (Ed Novick, Deb Adair, Ron Bochar, David Giammarco, Brad Haenel)

“Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides” (Lee Orloff, Paul Massey, Christopher Boyes, Alan Meyerson)

“Super 8” (Mark Ulano, Andy Nelson, Anna Behlmer, Dan Wallin)

The 48th annual Cinema Audio Society Awards will take place on Saturday, February 18 at the Millennium Biltmore Hotel in downtown Los Angeles. As previously announced, director Rob Marshall will receive the organization’s Filmmaker Award. Meanwhile, Scott Millan will receive the CAS Career Achievement Award.

Remember to keep track of the ups and downs of the 2011-2012 film awards season via The Circuit.

For year-round entertainment news and awards season commentary follow @kristapley on Twitter.

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