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Oscars 2011 Update: WGA Awards & MPSE Awards

Tonight, two major awards were given out, the first being the WGA Awards. I’ll do those quickly, since they were the least surprising and interesting of the two.

The Descendants won Best Adapted Screenplay, pretty much cementing that as the probable Oscar winner (over Moneyball, which hasn’t really made enough of a push to seem poised for an upset), and Midnight in Paris won for Original Screenplay, which was a given, since The Artist was ineligible. That’s always been the favorite for the Oscar alongside (and probably ahead of) The Artist. So no surprises there.

The other awards given out today were the Motion Picture Sound Editors Awards. There were lots of categories there, so I’ll do my best to make it brief and sum it up as best I can. Cutting out all the awards not relevant to the Best Sound Editing category at the Oscars (The Muppets winning Best Music in a Musical Film and Tintin winning for Animated): Hugo won Best Sound Editing: Music in a Feature Film. War Horse won Best Sound Editing: Sound Effects and Foley in a Feature Film. And Super 8 won Best Sound Editing: Dialogue and ADR in a Feature Film. What this means and a more thorough (barely) breakdown of these awards after the jump.

Okay, as I said — only three categories here matter for the Oscar (not that this really matters that much for the Oscar, but it is a point in the right direction). The first is Dialogue and ADR, which went to Super 8. It beat only War Horse in terms of Oscar nominees. Most people considered the sound design on Super 8 to be top notch, and it was actually surprising to not hear its name called on nominations day. Either way, this category really isn’t too helpful for the Oscars, since the winner (as well as most of the nominees) wasn’t even nominated.

The other two, however — pretty much what we learned all the way through. Hugo won for Best Music in a Feature Film. It beat Drive, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and Transformers: Dark of the Moon, which is the rest of the Oscars category minus War Horse. It’s pretty clear the music wasn’t as integral to War Horse‘s sound design as it was to the rest of the nominees. So that makes sense. Hugo won the CAS Award, and is threatening somewhat to win both Sound categories.

However — War Horse won Best Sound Editing: Sound Effects and Foley in a Feature Film, which, to me, epitomizes what Sound Editing really is if we’re talking Oscar category. I mean, sure, it’s all three put together, but really — I think this is the one. All of the Oscar nominees were win this category except for Hugo. Which is somewhat telling. They didn’t nominate Hugo anywhere else except for Music.

Personally, what I think this means, and what I always thought it meant, was that Hugo was going to win Best Sound Mixing and War Horse was going to take Best Sound Editing. The reason for this is that films don’t often sweep the Sound categories (I’ll talk about that more when the category breakdowns go up for those two), and Hugo isn’t really a film that looks like it will sweep (you’ll understand when I tell you which films have swept in recent years). Not to mention, war films just seem to do better in the Sound Editing categories, so I really felt all along that a split was going to happen. A split always seems to happen. That’s where we get our odd ones wrong.

But anyway, those were the awards they announced tonight. Mostly helpful in confirming what I already thought to be the case. Which is nice. I like having categories I’m mostly certain about, since it allows me to feel freer to possibly do something crazy in some of the other ones.

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