Every day until the Oscars ceremony we’ll be highlighting a different category or movie here on the LAMB! Here’s a link to all the posts written so far:
Today, Nick Rehak of French Toast Sunday is here to look at the nominees for Best Sound.
LAMB Devours The Oscars 2021: SOUND
By Nicholas Rehak
The Oscars have combined sound mixing and sound editing into one category; Sound. But what does that mean? What are the criteria? What are we looking for? Why the change? Last year I explained the difference in mixing and editing. Mixing is the levels and feel of the film, while editing is the creation and execution of sounds. Making sure branches snap just right is important, but not having it overpower the dialogue is another form of wizardry altogether.
For me, I want the sound to put me inside the film. I want to feel what the characters feel and stand right next to them no matter what comes their way. Be it war, the old west, 1930s Hollywood, the afterlife, or a metal show, I want to be right there every step of the way. I want the sound to put me in the middle of battles. I want to, in a sense, become that character. There are some solid nominees this year. You get a double dose of Tom Hanks walking between two worlds of sound. We see him out in the west after the civil war in News of the World and we see him in throws of World War 2 combat. While I do love Mank and Soul, and what they were able to accomplish, I truly believe that Sound of Metal is going to run away with this.
With a title like Sound of Metal, once expects a brash sledgehammer taken to a wall of sound. Thundering and slamming its way into your ear drums completely unforgiving. Instead, we’re given a technical tour de force of what can be accomplished with sound in film. Of all the nominees, this film does an incredible job of both mixing and editing. From pulsing metal shows, to the silence of hallways, to the uncertain futures at doctor’s appointments, everything comes alive. The muted tones and muffled sounds bring you into the film and put you right where Ruben (Riz Ahmed) sits, stands, or lays. Sound of Metal encapsulates what sound editing is and should be. The slow progression of silence interlaced with jarring blips of splendor and sadness, adding a layer of depth to an already stellar film.
If Sound of Metal is a sonic portrait, then the sound team of Nicolas Becker (Arrival, Gravity), Jaime Baksht (Pan’s Labyrinth, Roma), Michellee Couttolenc (Pan’s Labyrinth), Carlos Cortes (Fantastic Mr. Fox), and Phillip Bladh (The Little Hours) are holding the brush; And what a truly talented team they are.