Oscars 2016 Category Breakdown: Best Sound Mixing

Every year before the Oscars I break down each of the 24 categories. I do this to familiarize everyone with the category, how it typically goes, voting-wise, historically and also as a precursor to my picks article, allowing me to get most of the heavy lifting out of the way beforehand.

What I do is go over each category’s history, give you all the previous winners and nominees, then list the current year’s nominees. And then I’ll go over how each of the guilds (if there is a corresponding guild) have voted, how that corresponds to the Oscars (some guilds mean a lot to how a category will play out. Others mean nothing). It’s basically everything you need to know in order to make an informed decision when you make your picks on Oscar night. And then I also rank the nominees at the end in terms of where I see them in terms of their likelihood to win. So you know what the general favorites are.

Today is Best Sound Mixing. You know, the one that’s not Sound Editing. Because you totally know the difference between them.

Year Best Sound Mixing Winners Other Nominees
1929-1930 The Big House
1930-1931 Paramount Publix Studio Sound Department MGM Studio Sound Department

RKO Radio Studio Sound Department

Samuel Goldwyn-United Artists Studio Sound Department

1931-1932 Paramount Publix Studio Sound Department MGM Studio Sound Department

RKO Studio Sound Department

Walt Disney

Warner Bros.First National Studio Sound Department

1932-1933 A Farewell to Arms 42nd Street

Gold Diggers of 1933

I Am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang

1934 One Night of Love The Affairs of Cellini


Flirtation Walk

The Gay Divorcee

Imitation of Life

Viva Villa!

The White Parade

1935 Naughty Marietta 1,000 Dollars a Minute

Bride of Frankenstein

Captain Blood

The Dark Angel

I Dream Too Much

The Lives of a Bengal Lancer

Love Me Forever

Thanks a Million

1936 San Francisco Banjo on My Knee

The Charge of the Light Brigade


General Spanky

Mr. Deeds Goes to Town

The Texas Rangers

That Girl from Paris

Three Smart Girls

1937 The Hurricane The Girl Said No

Hitting a New High

In Old Chicago

The Life of Emile Zola

Lost Horizon


One Hundred Men and a Girl


Wells Fargo

1938 The Cowboy and the Lady Army Girl

Four Daughters

If I Were King

Merrily We Live



That Certain Age

Vivacious Lady

You Can’t Take It With You

1939 When Tomorrow Comes Balalaika

Gone With the Wind

Goodbye, Mr. Chips

The Great Victor Herbert

The Hunchback of Notre Dame

Man of Conquest

Mr. Smith Goes to Washington

Of Mice and Men

The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex

The Rains Came

1940 Strike Up the Band Behind the News

Captain Caution

The Grapes of Wrath

The Howards of Virginia

Kitty Foyle

North West Mounted Police

Our Town

The Sea Hawk

Spring Parade

Too Many Husbands

1941 That Hamilton Woman Appointment for Love

Ball of Fire

The Chocolate Soldier

Citizen Kane

The Devil Pays Off

How Gree Was My Valley

The Men in Her Life

Sergeant York


Topper Returns

1942 Yankee Doodle Dandy Arabian Nights


Flying Tigers

Friendly Enemies

The Gold Rush

Mrs. Miniver

Once Upon a Honeymoon

The Pride of the Yankees

Road to Morocco

This Above All

You Were Never Lovelier

1943 This Land is Mine Hangmen Also Die!

In Old Oklahoma

Madame Curie

The North Star

Phantom of the Opera

Riding High


Saludos Amigos

So This Is Washington

The Song of Bernadette

This Is the Army

1944 Wilson Brazil

Casanova Brown

Cover Girl

Doublt Indemnity

His Butler’s Sister

Hollywood Canteen

It Happened Tomorrow


Music in Manhattan

Voice in the Wind

1945 The Bells of St. Mary’s Flame of Barbary Coast

Lady on a Train

Leave Her to Heaven

Rhapsody in Blue

A Song to Remember

The Southerner

They Were Expendable

The Three Caballeros

Three Is a Family

The Unseen

Wonder Man

1946 The Jolson Story The Best Years of Our Lives

It’s a Wonderful Life

1947 The Bishop’s Wife Green Dolphin Street


1948 The Snake Pit Johnny Belinda


1949 Twelve O’Clock High Once More, My Darling

Sands of Iwo Jima

1950 All About Eve Cinderella


Our Very Own


1951 The Great Caruso Bright Victory

I Want You

A Streetcar Named Desire

Two Tickets to Broadway

1952 The Sound Barrier Hans Christian Andersen

The Card

The Quiet Man

With a Song in My Heart

1953 From Here to Eternity Calamity Jane

Knights of the Round Table

The Mississippi Gambler

The War of the Worlds

1954 The Glenn Miller Story Brigadoon

The Caine Mutiny

Rear Window

Susan Slept Here

1955 Oklahoma! Love is a Many-Splendored Thing

Love Me or Leave Me

Mister Roberts

Not as a Stranger

1956 The King and I The Brave One

The Eddy Duchin Story

Friendly Persuasion

The Ten Commandments

1957 Sayonara Gunfight at the O.K. Corral

Les Girls

Pal Joey

Witness for the Prosecution

1958 South Pacific I Want to Live!

A Time to Love and a Time to Die


The Young Lions

1959 Ben-Hur Journey to the Center of the Earth


The Nun’s Story

Porgy and Bess

1960 The Alamo The Apartment



Sunrise at Campobello

1961 West Side Story The Children’s Hour

Flower Drum Song

The Guns of Navarone

The Parent Trap

1962 Lawrence of Arabia Bon Voyage!

The Music Man

That Touch of Mink

What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?

1963 How the west Was Won Bye Bye Birdie

Captain Newman, M.D.


It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World

1964 My Fair Lady Becket

Father Goose

Mary Poppins

The Unsinkable Molly Brown

1965 The Sound of Music The Agony and the Ecstasy

Doctor Zhivago

The Great Race


1966 Grand Prix Gambit


The Sand Pebbles

Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?

1967 In the Heat of the Night Camelot

The Dirty Dozen

Doctor Dolittle

Thoroughly Modern Millie

1968 Oliver! Bullitt

Finian’s Rainbow

Funny Girl


1969 Hello, Dolly! Anne of the Thousand Days

Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid

Gaily, Gaily


1970 Patton Airport

Ryan’s Daughter

Tora! Tora! Tora!


1971 Fiddler on the Roof Diamonds are Forever

The French Connection


Mary, Queen of Scots

1972 Cabaret Butterflies are Free

The Candidate

The Godfather

The Poseidon Adventure

1973 The Exorcist The Day of the Dolphin

The Paper Chase

Paper Moon

The Sting

1974 Earthquake Chinatown

The Conversation

The Towering Inferno

Young Frankenstein

1975 Jaws Bite the Bullet

Funny Lady

The Hindenburg

The Wind and the Lion

1976 All the President’s Men King Kong


Silver Streak

A Star is Born

1977 Star Wars Close Encounters of the Third Kind

The Deep


The Turning Point

1978 The Deer Hunter The Buddy Holly Story

Days of Heaven



1979 Apocalypse Now The Electric Horseman



The Rose

1980 The Empire Strikes Back Altered States

Coal Miner’s Daughter


Raging Bull

1981 Raiders of the Lost Ark On Golden Pond


Pennies from Heaven


1982 E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial Das Boot




1983 The Right Stuff Never Cr Wolf

Return of the Jedi

Terms of Endearment


1984 Amadeus 2010


A Passage to India

The River

1985 Out of Africa Back to the Future

A Chorus Line



1986 Platoon Aliens

Heartbreak Ridge

Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home

Top Gun

1987 The Last Emperor Empire of the Sun

Lethal Weapon


The Witches of Eastwick

1988 Bird Die Hard

Gorillas in the Mist

Mississippi Burning

Who Framed Roger Rabbit

1989 Glory The Abyss

Black Rain

Born on the Fourth of July

Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade

1990 Dances with Wolves Days of Thunder

Dick Tracy

The Hunt for Red October

Total Recall

1991 Terminator 2: Judgment Day Backdraft

Beauty and the Beast


The Silence of the Lambs

1992 The Last of the Mohicans Aladdin

A Few Good Men

Under Siege


1993 Jurassic Park Cliffhanger

The Fugitive

Geronimo: An American Legend

Schindler’s List

1994 Speed Clear and Present Danger

Forrest Gump

Legends of the Fall

The Shawshank Redemption

1995 Apollo 13 Batman Forever


Crimson Tide


1996 The English Patient Evita

Independence Day

The Rock


1997 Titanic Air Force One

Con Air


L.A. Confidential

1998 Saving Private Ryan Armageddon

The Mask of Zorro

Shakespeare in Love

The Thin Red Line

1999 The Matrix The Green Mile

The Insider

The Mummy

Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace

2000 Gladiator Cast Away

The Patriot

The Perfect Storm


2001 Black Hawk Down Amélie

The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring

Moulin Rouge!

Pearl Harbor

2002 Chicago Gangs of New York

The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers

Road to Perdition


2003 The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King The Last Samurai

Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World

Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl


2004 Ray The Aviator

The Incredibles

The Polar Express

Spider-Man 2

2005 King Kong The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe

Memoirs of a Geisha

Walk the Line

War of the Worlds

2006 Dreamgirls Apocalypto

Blood Diamond

Flags of Our Fathers

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest

2007 The Bourne Ultimatum 3:10 to Yuma

No Country for Old Men



2008 Slumdog Millionaire The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

The Dark Knight



2009 The Hurt Locker Avatar

Inglourious Basterds

Star Trek

Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen

2010 Inception The King’s Speech


The Social Network

True Grit

2011 Hugo The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo


Transformers: Dark of the Moon

War Horse

2012 Les Misérables Argo

Life of Pi



2013 Gravity Captain Phillips

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

Inside Llewyn Davis

Lone Survivor

2014 Whiplash American Sniper




2015 Mad Max: Fury Road Bridge of Spies

The Martian

The Revenant

Star Wars: The Force Awakens

And, as we do, since now is where the guilds become important, let’s go over how important the Cinema Audio Society is in gauging what’s going to win the Oscar:

The CAS Awards have been given out since 1993. Previous winners are:

  • 1993 – Jurassic Park (won the Oscar)
  • 1994 – Forrest Gump (lost the Oscar to Speed)
  • 1995 —  Apollo 13 (won the Oscar)
  • 1996 – The English Patient (won the Oscar)
  • 1997 – Titanic (won the Oscar)
  • 1998 – Saving Private Ryan (won the Oscar)
  • 1999 – The Matrix (won the Oscar)
  • 2000 – Gladiator (won the Oscar)
  • 2001 – The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (lost the Oscar to Black Hawk Down)
  • 2002 – Road to Perdition (lost the Oscar to Chicago)
  • 2003 — Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World (lost the Oscar to Return of the King)
  • 2004 – The Aviator (lost the Oscar to Ray)
  • 2005 – Walk the Line (lost the Oscar to King Kong)
  • 2006 – Dreamgirls (won the Oscar)
  • 2007 – No Country for Old Men (lost the Oscar to The Bourne Ultimatum)
  • 2008 – Slumdog Millionaire (won the Oscar)
  • 2009 – The Hurt Locker (won the Oscar)
  • 2010 – True Grit (lost the Oscar to Inception)
  • 2011 – Hugo (won the Oscar)
  • 2012 – Les Misérables (won the Oscar)
  • 2013 — Gravity (won the Oscar)
  • 2014 — Birdman (lost the Oscar to Whiplash)
  • 2015 — The Revenant (lost the Oscar to Mad Max: Fury Road)

Big Best Picture candidates usually win. But usually the ones that end up sweeping a lot of the awards. Or are gonna win at least five. Though most of them have some element that makes them easy decisions. Like action or war scenes, or a lot of music.

This year, CAS and the Oscar category matched up 4/5. The only difference is, CAS had Doctor Strange and the Oscars had 13 Hours. Greg P. Russell, man.

We don’t need CAS for this, because this is possibly the most locked category at the Oscars this year. They announce in a week.

Best Sound Mixing

13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi


Hacksaw Ridge

La La Land

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story


5. 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi — The nomination is the reward. As soon as this got nominated, you looked at it and went, “No one’s gonna vote for this.” This is a blank for them when they look at their ballots. You know the last time a non-Best Picture nominee won for Sound Mixing? 2007. You know the last time a movie won for Sound Mixing without at least two Oscar nominations? 1992. Last of the Mohicans. Trust me, this isn’t happening.

4. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story — I’d repeat pretty much everything I said up there, but this managed two nominations and is at least Star Wars. Still, I don’t think anyone figures this a contender at all. Force Awakens wasn’t really a major contender for this category, and it was nominated in both. Fourth choice, and that’s only because 13 Hours is in this category.

3. Arrival — Best Picture nominee, which means it automatically goes above the other two. Still, when you put this next to the next two nominees, I can’t see this winning. This is actually some great sound work and is a worth nominee and would be a worthy winner, but it’s got no choice. Musicals don’t lose, and you have a war movie on top of it. Third choice.

2. Hacksaw Ridge — War movie. You have to consider it. You have to consider it more in Sound Editing than here, but it’ll factor in both because people don’t know the difference. Second choice, because musicals don’t lose, but this has a shot at it.

1. La La Land — Musicals don’t lose in Sound Mixing. This is the favorite. This will win. One of the categories I’d most call a lock at these Oscars. There’s really no argument to be made against this as an overwhelming favorite.

– – – – – – – – – – –

Tomorrow, we go over Best Actor.


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