2018 Oscar Predictions: Best Sound Mixing (Updated: November 6, 2017)

One of the toughest below-the-line categories to predict at the Oscars is Best Sound Mixing. It can be difficult to differentiate the sound mixing of a film from the sound editing, which has its own Academy Award. While the members of the sound branch are experts in the two fields, the rest of the Oscar voters may not be as versed. While sound editing is the art of putting together the various pieces of the sound track — dialogue, effects, ADR and foley — sound mixing adjust the overall sound and score levels throughout the film. (Scroll down for the most up-to-date predictions for this year’s Best Sound Mixing race.)

The two sound awards often go to the same film, with eight double champs so far this century: “Mad Max: Fury Road” (2015), “Gravity” (2013), “Hugo” (2011), “Inception” (2010), “The Hurt Locker” (2009), “The Bourne Ultimatum” (2007), “King Kong” (2005)  and “The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King” (2003). All of these double dippers featured extensive action sequences complete with explosions, crashes, and clanging metal.

To that end, it’s little wonder that war films like “The Hurt Locker” as well as “Hacksaw Ridge” (2016) and “Black Hawk Down” (2001) also triumph here.

And films that feature a great deal of music also do well in this category, as did “Whiplash” (2014), “Les Misérables” (2012), “Dreamgirls” (2006), “Ray” (2004), and “Chicago” (2002).

Please note: Only those films with confirmed release dates are listed below. Check back often as new contenders are scheduled while others are dropped due to delays or critical reception.

UPDATED: November 6, 2017

Leading Contenders
Ron Bartlett, Doug Hemphill, Mac Ruth, “Blade Runner 2049” (Warner Bros./Columbia Pictures/Alcon Entertainment)

Craig Berkey, John Casali, “Darkest Hour” (Universal Studios/Focus Features)

Chris Burdon, Gilbert Lake, Chris Munro, “Wonder Woman” (Warner Bros.)

Tim Cavagin, Julian Slater, Mary H. Ellis, James Peterson, “Baby Driver” (TriStar Pictures)

Will Files, Douglas Murray, Andy Nelson, Chris Duesterdiek, “War for the Planet of the Apes” (20th Century Fox)

David Giammarco, Paul Massey, Paul Ledford, “Logan” (20th Century Fox)

Gregg Landaker, Gary Rizzo, Mark Weingarten, “Dunkirk” (Warner Bros.)

Tim LeBlanc, Dean A. Zupanic, “Wind River” (The Weinstein Company)

Tod A. Maitland, “The Greatest Showman” (20th Century Fox)

Christian P. Minkler, Michael Minkler, John Casali, “Beauty and the Beast” (Walt Disney Studios)

Kevin O’Connell, Tony Lamberti, Felipe Borrero, “Spider-Man: Homecoming” (Marvel Studios)

Paul N.J. Ottosson, Ray Beckett, “Detroit” (Annapurna Pictures)

David Parker, Michael Semanick, Tim White, “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” (Walt Disney Studios)

Greg P. Russell, Gary Summers, Jeffrey J. Haboush, Peter J. Devlin, “Transformers: The Last Knight” (Paramount Pictures)

Gary Rydstrom, “The Post” (20th Century Fox)

Strong Contenders
Ron Bartlett, Lisa Pinero, “Battle of the Sexes” (Fox Searchlight Pictures)

Adrian Bell, John Midgley, “Phantom Thread” (Focus Features/Annapurna Pictures)

Christopher Boyes, Michael Semanick, Michael Miller, “Coco” (Pixar/Disney)

Christopher Boyes, Lora Hirschberg, Lee Orloff, “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” (Marvel Studios)

John Casali, “Justice League” (Warner Bros.)

Patrick Cyccone Jr., Greg Chapman, “Downsizing” (Paramount Pictures/Annapurna Pictures)

Chris Duesterdiek, “The Mountain Between Us” (20th Century Fox/Chernin Entertainment)

Lora Hirschberg, David Parker, David Brownlow, “Only the Brave” (Lionsgate)

Lora Hirschberg, Juan Peralta, “Thor: Ragnarok” (Marvel Studios)

Drew Kunin, “Wonderstruck” (Amazon Studios)

Paul Massey, Mark Taylor, Edward Tise, “Suburbicon” (Paramount Pictures)

TBA, “All the Money in the World” (TriStar)

Possible Contenders
Richard Beggs, Roy Waldspurger, Paul Ledford, “The Beguiled” (Focus Features)

Christopher Boyes, Paul Massey, Scott Millan, Chris Duesterdiek, “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales” (Walt Disney Studios)

Tae-young Choi, Chris Duesterdiek, “Okja” (Netflix)

Chase Everett, Jens Johansson, Nicklas Lindh, Frank A. Montaño, Jon Taylor, Martyn Zub, Mac Ruth, “Atomic Blonde” (Focus Features)

Robert Fernandez, Damian Volpe, Pud Cusack, “Mudbound” (Netflix)

Pete Horner, Tom Johnson, Tom Myers, Peter J. Devlin, “Kong: Skull Island” (Warner Bros.)

Michael Keller, Glen Gauthier, “It” (Warner Bros/New Line Cinemas)

Andy Koyama, José Antonio Garciá, “Roman Israel, Esq.” (Columbia)

Tim LeBlanc, Tom Marks, Myron Nettinga, Pud Cusack, “Geostorm” (Warner Bros.)

Paul Massey, Ben Osmo, Mark Taylor, “Alien: Covenant” (20th Century Fox)

Frank A. Montaño, Jon Taylor, Whit Norris, “The Fate of the Furious” (Universal)

Colin Nicolson, “Murder on the Orient Express” (20th Century Fox)

TBA, “Logan Lucky” (Bleecker Street)

UPDATED: November 6, 2017

Kevin O’Connell finally won his first Oscar last year for “Hacksaw Ridge” after a staggering 20 losses. Could he win a bookend for the latest entry in the Marvel franchise, “Spider-Man: Homecoming”? He’s joined by nominee Tony Lamberti (“Inglourious Basterds” in 2009) and Emmy-winner Felipe Borrero (“The Rat Pack” in 1999).

O’Connell shared in many of those losses with Greg P. Russell, who is still on the hunt for his first win after 17 defeats. Will “Transformers: The Last Knight” finally do the trick? He contends alongside four-time winner Gary Summers (“Terminator 2: Judgement Day” in 1991, “Jurassic Park” in 1993, “Titanic” in 1997, and “Saving Private Ryan” in 1998) and two four-time nominees: Jeffrey J. Haboush (“Spider-Man 2” in 2004, “Salt” in 2010, “Transformers: Dark of the Moon” in 2011, and “13 Hours” in 2016), and Peter J. Devlin (“Pearl Harbor” in 2001, “Transformers” in 2007, “Star Trek” in 2009, and “Transformers: Dark of the Moon”).

Three-time Oscar-winner Greg Landaker (“Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back” in 1980, “Raiders of the Lost Ark” in 1981, and “Speed” in 1994) contends alongside Oscar-winner Gary Rizzo (“Inception” in 2010) and three-time nominee Mark Weingarten (“The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” in 2008, “The Social Network” in 2010, and “Interstellar” in 2014) for Christopher Nolan‘s WWII epic “Dunkirk.” The trio were nominated in 2010 for Nolan’s “Interstellar.”

Gary Rydstrom has seven Oscars crowding his mantle (Sound and Sound Effects Editing for “Terminator 2: Judgement Day,” “Jurassic Park,” and “Saving Private Ryan;” Sound for “Titanic”). He many need to make room for an eight with his latest Steven Spielberg collaboration, “The Papers.”

Oscar-winner Doug Hemphill (“The Last of the Mohicans” in 1992) is in the race for “Blade Runner 2049,” Denis Villeneuve‘s sequel to Ridley Scott‘s 1982 sci-fi classic. Joining him on the ballot are two-time nominee Mac Ruth (“The Martian” in 2015 and “13 Hours”) and one-time contender Ron Bartlett (“Life of Pi” in 2012).

In the coming weeks and months, we will be predicting all 24 of the competitive categories at the Oscars.

Best Picture | Best Director | Best Original Screenplay | Best Adapted Screenplay
Best Actor | Best Actress | Best Supporting Actor | Best Supporting Actress
Best Cinematography | Best Costume Design | Best Film Editing | Best Production Design
Best Makeup & Hairstyling | Best Sound Editing | Best Sound Mixing | Best Visual Effects
Best Original Score | Best Original Song
Best Animated Feature | Best Documentary Feature | Best Foreign Language Film
Best Animated Short | Best Documentary Short | Best Live-Action Short

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