Surrounded

Posted by · 12:53 am · July 19th, 2011

I would love to have attended last week’s Dolby seminar “Surrounded: 7.1 Cinema and Beyond.” I’ve been eager to read more about it, but unfortunately it seems the press that did attend haven’t bothered covering it in any real fashion (unless I’m missing something). Leave it to the folks at SoundWorks Collection to cut out […]

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On the sound of ‘Transformers: Dark of the Moon’

Posted by · 7:18 pm · June 28th, 2011

I think “Transformers: Dark of the Moon” will be back for the full trio of Best Sound Editing, Best Sound Mixing and Best Visual Effects at the Oscars this year, after the franchise’s second installment managed only one of those. The sound work in particular is once again top notch, one of the most carefully […]

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Another barrier broken?

Posted by · 6:12 am · March 3rd, 2011

Amid the barrage of critical brickbats tossed at Sunday night’s Oscar show — plus the widespread dissatisfaction with certain winners — I didn’t see much mention made of this particular milestone, but it strikes me as worthy of note, particularly a year after Kathryn Bigelow’s history-making Best Director win. I’m happy to say that one […]

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TECH SUPPORT: ‘Inception’ dominates below the line

Posted by · 8:47 am · February 28th, 2011

So, the morning after a terrible prediction record at this year’s Oscars, I’ll try to make some sense of what the Academy told us, and what it means for the crafts artists we got to know along the circuit this year. As the evening went on, many people began to wonder if “The Social Network” […]

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How ‘Salt’ could surprise and win Best Sound Mixing

Posted by · 10:21 am · February 25th, 2011

I stopped researching somewhere in the 1970s, but as far as I can tell going back that far, the Best Sound Mixing (formerly Best Sound) category has never included more than three Best Picture nominees. In a number of cases there were two, a great many years saw one and often enough, there were none. […]

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‘True Grit’ wins CAS

Posted by · 11:07 pm · February 19th, 2011

The second industry organization of the night has announced, and as a tip of the hat to the SoundWorks Collection (which reported the news via Twitter), I figured I’d offer up their custom profile of the film. I knew there was some complaining about the “Inception” mix in the sound community, but I don’t know […]

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Predict the weekend in societies

Posted by · 6:00 pm · February 17th, 2011

Anne and I will be briefly previewing the American Cinema Editors and Cinema Audio Society awards in tomorrow’s Oscar Talk, and maybe a little Motion Picture Sound Editors thrown in to boot.  All three will be announcing winners this weekend, while members of the Costume Designers Guild will put a bow on the guild season […]

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On the sound of ‘The King’s Speech’

Posted by · 10:16 am · February 14th, 2011

In today’s Oscar Guide, I addressed one of the biggest surprises of this year’s slate of below-the-line Oscar nominees: “The King’s Speech” being recognized for Best Sound Mixing. It’s easily attributable to sweeping love for the film, but I tried to give some context for why sound is actually integral to the experience of the […]

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OSCAR GUIDE: Best Sound Mixing

Posted by · 9:59 am · February 14th, 2011

I feel like we’ve done a pretty decent job of educating some of our readership on the difference between Best Sound Editing and Best Sound Mixing over the last five years here at In Contention. It struck me that we haven’t really covered it in a focused way this season, and the Oscar Guide seems […]

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2/11 OSCARWEB ROUND-UP: Franco couldn’t care less, love letter to Annette Bening, Hammond polls voters

Posted by · 8:37 am · February 11th, 2011

• James Franco: “If it’s the worst show in the history of the Oscars, who cares?”  I love this guy. [Screening Room] • David Poland on how the Academy is missing a golden opportunity by essentially banning Banksy from the ceremony.  Not that Banksy would even humor his suggestions, but still. [The Hot Blog] • […]

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TECH SUPPORT INTERVIEW: ‘Salt’ sound re-recording mixer Greg P. Russell and ‘Unstoppable’ supervising sound editor Mark P. Stoeckinger

Posted by · 4:13 pm · February 3rd, 2011

When Oscar voters spoke up last Tuesday, two intriguing craft category nominations stuck out, both coming from the same branch: Mark P. Stoeckinger’s third bid to date for the sound editing of “Unstoppable” and Greg P. Russell’s fourteenth — yes, fourteenth — for the sound mixing of “Salt.” The Academy’s sound branch consists of 405 […]

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TECH SUPPORT: Analyzing the nominees

Posted by · 11:53 am · January 28th, 2011

So the 83rd Annual Academy Award nominations were finally announced this week, and I did fairly well in handicapping the nominees. Outside of Best Sound Mixing, I never missed more than one nominee in a category. Unfortunately, there were no categories where I scored 100% (apart from Best Picture and Best Adapted Screenplay). Oh well. […]

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TECH SUPPORT: Final analysis, part one

Posted by · 8:57 am · January 20th, 2011

It seems hard to believe that it’s been more than six months since I wrote this year’s introductory Tech Support column ( a dissection of the art direction race). Much has changed since then, naturally, as we are less than a week away from the big day when we find out the nominees for the […]

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FIRST-HALF FYC: Below-the-line standouts

Posted by · 11:45 am · January 11th, 2011

For the penultimate installment in our reflection on the most Oscar-worthy achievements from the largely forgotten first half of 2010’s release calendar, I’m backtracking away from the major categories to the place I should perhaps have started: the technical sphere. Had I thought to start this column 20-odd weeks in advance of nomination day, I […]

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‘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 […]

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On the sound of ‘Black Swan’

Posted by · 9:03 am · December 14th, 2010

One of the most under-appreciated (I think) aspects of Darren Aronofsky’s “Black Swan” this year is the sound design. It’s a film that evokes not just an atmosphere but an overall experience, and a lot of that has to do with booming Tchaikovsky as well as suggestive aural effects. So, leave it to the wonderful […]

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On the sound of ‘TRON Legacy’

Posted by · 8:50 am · December 7th, 2010

For me, “TRON Legacy” is all about what you hear, and how you hear it.  The team at Skywalker Sound did a hell of a job creating a dynamic and unique aural environment.  In my opinion, it’s tops in both sound categories for the year. So, naturally, I delighted in the SoundWorks Collection’s recent piece […]

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WEEKLY WRAP: Holiday cheer and seasonal grousing

Posted by · 11:24 pm · November 26th, 2010

• Calmed by the holiday spirit, this week’s Off the Carpet column took stock of the season, and gave thanks where appropriate. • The Long Shot looked at the number of one-time rebel auteurs in this year’s Oscar race, and wondered if awards glory comes at the expense of creative edge. • Life Without Oscar […]

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