Oscars 2018 Category Breakdown: Best Sound Editing
So what we do here each year as a warm up for the Oscars is, I break down each of the 24 categories. The idea is to both familiarize everyone with the category and its history. I look at what the major trends are throughout the past bunch of years, how the precursors tend to go, whether they matter or not, that sort of stuff. I look at how the category came to be this year, and just anything else that seems totally pertinent about it. Then I rank each of the nominees and tell you what their likelihood (at this particular moment in time) of winning is.
This is all prelude to my giant Oscar ballot that I’m gonna give you. But I figure, if you have these as the warmup, it’s not as intimidating. You’ll have seen a lot of the pertinent trends here and we’ll all be able to reference these as a sort of cheat sheet. Plus it shows you where my head is at for how I think each of the categories are gonna go, and you can see me working my way up to all the bad decisions I usually make while guessing. Pretty much, with this, you’ll have a pretty good idea of how the category is gonna turn out.
Today is Best Sound Editing. AKA Best “PEW PEW *Explosion Noise*.”
|Year||Best Sound Editing Winners||Other Nominees|
|1963||It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World||A Gathering of Eagles|
|1964||Goldfinger||The Lively Set|
|1965||The Great Race||Von Ryan’s Express|
|1966||Grand Prix||Fantastic Voyage|
|1967||The Dirty Dozen||In the Heat of the Night|
|1968||No Award Given.||No Category.|
|1969||No Award Given.||No Category.|
|1970||No Award Given.||No Category.|
|1971||No Award Given.||No Category.|
|1972||No Award Given.||No Category.|
|1973||No Award Given.||No Category.|
|1974||No Award Given.||No Category.|
|1975||The Hindenburg (Special Achievement Award)||No Category.|
|1976||No Award Given.||No Category.|
|1977||Close Encounters of the Third Kind(Special Achievement Award)
Star Wars (Special Achievement Award)
|1978||No Award Given||No Category.|
|1979||The Black Stallion (Special Achievement Award)||No Category.|
|1980||No Award Given.||No Category.|
|1981||Raiders of the Lost Ark (Special Achievement Award)||No Category.|
|1982||E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial||Das Boot
|1983||The Right Stuff||Return of the Jedi|
|1984||The River (Special Achievement Award)||No Category.|
|1985||Back to the Future||Ladyhawke
Rambo: First Blood Part II
|1986||Aliens||Star Trek IB: The Voyage Home
|1987||RoboCop (Special Achievement Award)||No Category.|
|1988||Who Framed Roger Rabbit||Die Hard
|1989||Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade||Black Rain
Lethal Weapon 2
|1990||The Hunt for Red October||Flatliners
|1991||Terminator 2: Judgment Day||Backdraft
Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country
|1992||Bram Stoker’s Dracula||Aladdin
|1994||Speed||Clear and Present Danger
|1996||The Ghost and the Darkness||Daylight
The Fifth Element
|1998||Saving Private Ryan||Armageddon
The Mask of Zorro
|1999||The Matrix||Fight Club
Star Wars Episode 1: The Phantom Menace
|2001||Pearl Harbor||Monsters, Inc.|
|2002||The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers||Minority Report
Road to Perdition
|2003||Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World||Finding Nemo
Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl
|2004||The Incredibles||The Polar Express
|2005||King Kong||War of the Worlds
Memoirs of a Geisha
|2006||Letters from Iwo Jima||Apocalypto
Flags of Our Fathers
Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest
|2007||The Bourne Ultimatum||No Country for Old Men
There Will Be Blood
|2008||The Dark Knight||Iron Man
|2009||The Hurt Locker||Avatar
|2010||Inception||Toy Story 3
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
Transformers: Dark of the Moon
Zero Dark Thirty
Life of Pi
|2013||Gravity||All Is Lost
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies
|2015||Mad Max: Fury Road||The Martian
Star Wars: The Force Awakens
La La Land
Blade Runner 2049
The Shape of Water
Star Wars: The Last Jedi
So yesterday was Mixing. Big assumption, but assuming you read that, you know the difference between the two categories. If not, well then you’re pretty fucked. Have fun.
The guild for Sound Editing is MPSE. Of course, we have to look at everything together, but that’s the guild.
Here’s MPSE vs. the Oscars:
- 1991: SFX+Foley goes to Barton Fink. Their Dialogue+ADR goes to Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves. Terminator 2: Judgment Day wins the Oscar for Sound Editing, beating Backdraft and Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country. So, MPSE has nothing to do with the Oscars, and the obvious choice wins.
- 1992 – Under Siege wins SFX+Foley and Alien 3 wins Dialgoue+ADR. Bram Stoker’s Dracula wins the Oscar over Under Siege and Aladdin. No comment on any of that.
- 1993 – Jurassic Park wins SFX+Foley and Schindler’s List wins Dialogue+ADR. Jurassic Park wins the Oscar over Cliffhanger and the Fugitive. Pretty obvious choice.
- 1994 – Speed wins SFX+Foley, Forrest Gump wins Dialogue+ADR. Speed beats Gump andClear and Present Danger for the Oscar. This is somewhat telling. The action film beats the Oscar film with war scenes.
- 1995 – Braveheart and Crimson Tide tie for SFX+Foley, and Crimson Tide wins for Dialogue+ADR. Braveheart takes the Oscar over Crimson Tide and Batman Forever. Oscar movie with many battle scenes wins over action/sub movie. Understandable.
- 1996 – We ignore this one since it’s totally random. You can go look it up, but trust me, it’s irrelevant.
- 1997 – Titanic wins the Oscar and both MPSE categories.
- 1998 – Saving Private Ryan wins the Oscar and both MPSE categories.
- 1999 – The Matrix wins MPSE SFX+Foley while American Beauty wins Dialogue+ADR. Pretty obvious The Matrix would win the Oscar, which it did.
- 2000 – Gladiator wins SFX+Foley and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon wins Dialogue+ADR. The Oscar category consists only of two nominees: U-571 and Space Cowboys. U-571 obviously wins.
- 2001 – Black Hawk Down wins SFX+Foley and A Beautiful Mind wins Dialogue+ADR. The Oscar category consists only of Pearl Harbor and Monsters, Inc. Clearly Pearl Harbor wins.
- 2002 – Road to Perdition (a spirited choice) wins SFX+Foley and Gangs of New York wins Dialogue+ADR. Two Towers wins the Oscar, beating Road to Perdition and Minority Report. This is the only Rings film to win this category. You know why? Big ass fucking battle scene.
- 2003 – Master and Commander wins SFX+Foley and Pirates of the Caribbean wins Dialogue+ADR. In the Oscar category, Master and Commander beats Pirates and Finding Nemo (which won MPSE for Animation).
- 2004 – The Aviator wins SFX+Foley and Eternal Sunshine wins Dialogue+ADR. The Incredibles wins the Oscar, beating The Polar Express and Spider-Man 2. Weird category.
- 2005 – War of the Worlds wins SFX+Foley and Memoirs of a Geisha wins Dialogue+ADR. King Kong wins the Oscar, beating War of the Worlds and Geisha. In hindsight, of course it did.
After 2005, Editing expanded to five nominees in the category.
- 2006 – Letters from Iwo Jima wins both MPSE awards and the Oscar.
- 2007 – The Bourne Ultimatum wins both MPSE awards and the Oscar.
In 2008, MPSE introduces many of the awards we see now. They get much more specific.
- 2008: The Dark Knight wins SFX+Foley and Music, while Benjamin Button wins Dialogue+ADR. And there’s a category for SFX, Foley, Dialogue and ADR (so… Mixing) that went to Slumdog Millionaire. Which leads to the Dark Knight winning the Oscar for Editing and Slumdog winning for Sound Mixing.
- 2009: Avatar wins SFX+Foley and Music. Inglourious Basterds wins Dialogue+ADR. The big Mixing category goes to District 9 (not nominated at the Oscars). The Hurt Lockers wins both Sound Oscars.
- 2010: Inception wins SFX+Foley and Music. The Social Network wins Dialogue+ADR. The big Mixing category went to Toy Story 3. Inception wins both Sound Oscars.
- 2011: War Horse wins SFX+Foley, Super 8 wins Dialogue+ADR, Hugo wins Music. Hugo wins both Sound Oscars.
- 2012: Skyfall wins SFX+Foley, Life of Pi wins Dialogue+ADR and Music (though Les Mis also won for “Music in a Musical”). Skyfall TIES for the Oscar with Zero Dark Thirty.
- 2013: Gravity wins SFX+Foley, Captain Phillips wins Dialogue+ADR. Gravity wins both Sound Oscars.
- 2014: American Sniper wins SFX+Foley, Unbroken wins Dialogue+ADR, Birdman wins Music. American Sniper wins the Oscar.
- 2015: SFX+Foley is a tie between Mad Max: Fury Road and The Revenant. Bridge of Spies wins Dialogue+ADR. The Force Awakens wins Music. Fury Road wins both Sound Oscars.
- 2016: Hacksaw Ridge wins SFX+Foley and Dialogue+ADR. La La Land wins Music. Somehow Arrival wins the Editing Oscar and Hacksaw Ridge wins Mixing (while also losing CAS to La La Land). Figure that shit out.
- 2017: Blade Runner 2049 wins SFX+Foley, War for the Planet of the Apes wins Dialogue+ADR and Dunkirk wins Music. Dunkirk wins both Sound Oscars.
The major trends I see with MPSE is, when a film wins more than once at MPSE, it’s mostly gonna win the Oscar (happened all but twice — Avatar and Hacksaw).
The other thing I always look at, which is how many times a film won both Editing and Mixing:
- 1981, Raiders of the Lost Ark (Not really, since the Editing award was a special achievement, but that just means they didn’t have a category that year. It would have won if there were other nominees.)
- 1982, E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial
- 1983, The Right Stuff
- 1991, Terminator 2: Judgment Day
- 1993, Jurassic Park
- 1994, Speed
- 1997, Titanic
- 1998, Saving Private Ryan
- 1999, The Matrix
- 2005, King Kong
- 2007, The Bourne Ultimatum
- 2009, The Hurt Locker
- 2010, Inception
- 2011, Hugo
- 2013, Gravity
- 2015, Mad Max: Fury Road
- 2017, Dunkirk
Not that often. Usually you need a big war movie or something… like, say, Dunkirk… for it to happen. Though you’d think that would happen with Hacksaw, but somehow the war movie won Mixing and lost Editing, which is just nuts to me. Plus La La Land, the musical, lost Mixing. And then Arrival won Editing, but not Mixing. Completely bizarre all around. Gonna have to chalk that up to a fluke.
But yeah, when looking at Editing, you have MPSE, CAS and BAFTA. And then general common sense of what the big “sound” film is for that year.
Best Sound Editing
A Quiet Place
This category had no real surprises in it. I called Roma, Quiet Place hit both sound guilds and was probably gonna get on one of the lists, First Man was a guarantee, and Black Panther was a guarantee. Bohemian Rhapsody is the one that made it on both that I wasn’t expecting. I thought it would be Rhapsody in Mixing and Roma in Editing, but in the end both got on both. No overt surprises in this one. You had to figure maybe The Favourite or something would sneak on here as a snow of Best Picture support, but ultimately it went this way. Nothing overly surprising.
As far as precursors so far, MPSE announced yesterday, so we’ve got a full freight of help.
- SFX+Foley: A Quiet Place
- Dialogue+ADR: Bohemian Rhapsody
- Musical: Bohemian Rhapsody
- Foreign Language: Roma
BAFTA: Bohemian Rhapsody
CAS: Bohemian Rhapsody
That’s… damn though, right?
5. Roma — It won Foreign Language at MPSE, but this is the first time I’ve even had to talk about that award. I legitimately didn’t know it existed before yesterday. I don’t see this having the support to win. It’s a “nominee but no win” kind of entry. I can make a case over everything on top of this.
4. Black Panther — It’s got no precursors and it seems weird that people will randomly vote for it in one of the Sound categories and not the other. I feel like either they gotta take it in both or don’t vote for it at all. And it certainly looks like it’s a “don’t vote for it at all” situation. Maybe it can win, but without precursors or anything, I can’t even begin to figure how that one comes about. So let’s just assume it’s not and keep it fourth.
3. A Quiet Place — It won the big MPSE award, so that’s something. This winning would make some sense, but… and this is kind of a big but… going back in Sound Editing, there’s usually a movie nominated that has it as its only nomination. Sully, Sicario, The Hobbit, All Is Lost, Drive, Unstoppable, Tron… it’s never won. In an open vote, it’s a tall order to see something winning with just one nomination. So the MPSE win helps it, and maybe it’ll get votes, but I can’t see this taking it down unless there’s a complete vote split across the board and this sneaks through, Ex Machina style.
2. First Man — This was a lock for both Sound categories in the early stages of the race. Now it’s looking like it might go home completely empty handed. We’ll see if that actually ends up coming to pass. But it’s interesting how this missed every single precursor. And as such, I can’t call it the most likely winner. Even though this is what Sound Editing is all about. But looking back… the last non-Best Picture nominee to win Sound Editing was Skyfall, but that tied with Zero Dark Thirty. So technically a Best Picture nominee did win there and we just got a bonus winner. Before that…Bourne Ultimatum. Only once in the history of five nominee categories. That’s interesting. And that definitely does not work in this film’s favor. Interesting, interesting, interesting.
1. Bohemian Rhapsody — It won two MPSE awards, it won CAS, it won BAFTA for Sound. Now, all of that pretty much guarantees it’ll win Mixing, but I’m not 100% sold it wins both Sound categories. But at this point, how can you say it’s not the favorite to do just that? I can’t call anything else the #1 choice in this category with those precursors. That’s too much to ignore.
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