Oscar ballots are in, meaning the upcoming Motion Picture Sound Editors Awards will have no impact on voters choices when it comes to the Sound Editing prize. The guild may, however, point our noses in the direction of which film could win, especially if CAS winner “The Revenant” repeats.
Oftentimes, the two sound awards will go hand-in-hand, with voters checking off one film for both. That wasn’t the case last year, however, when “Whiplash” took Mixing and “American Sniper” won Editing. This year, four out of the five films contend in both categories, with two — “Mad Max: Fury Road” and “The Revenant” — battling it out for the wins. Let’s take a closer look at the nominees to try and figure out who has the best shot at victory:
“Mad Max: Fury Road”: Mark A. Mangini, David White
First-time nominee White joins three-time contender Mangini (“Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home” , “Aladdin” , and “The Fifth Element” ) for “Mad Max: Fury Road,” a film tailor-made for winning this award. Voters often go for the loudest sound in this category, and with its non-stop, bombastic action sequences, this would seem to be the obvious choice. The majority of our experts and users agree.
Votes: 19 Experts; 1 Editor; 16 of Top 24 Users; 71% of All Users
“The Revenant”: Martin Hernandez, Lon Bender
Bender won his first Oscar for “Braveheart” (1995), and was subsequently nominated for “Blood Diamond” (2006) and “Drive” (2011). “The Revenant” teams him with Hernandez, who competed last year for “Birdman.” The film won the BAFTA for Best Sound, and with its growing stature in the Best Picture race, this category is rife for an upset. Certainly voters will admire the duo ability to craft a cohesive soundtrack from recordings made under the harshest of conditions.
Votes: 7 Experts; 6 Editors; 8 of Top 24 Users; 19% of All Users
“Star Wars: The Force Awakens”: Matthew Wood, David Acord
Two-time nominee Wood (“There Will Be Blood”  and “Wall-E” ) joins first-timer Acord for “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.” Two previous entries in the franchise — “Return of the Jedi” (1983) and “The Phantom Menace” (1999) — received bids in this category. While this is certainly the kind of film that usually triumphs here, it’s awards thunder was stolen by the other action flick in the pack, “Mad Max.” As it is, the nomination (and the outstanding box-office) may have to be their reward.
Votes: 7% of All Users
“The Martian”: Oliver Tarney
A nominee two years ago for “Captain Phillips” (2013), Tarney is back with “The Martian,” the third sci-fi contender in this bunch. The films awards luster has waned since its helmer, Ridley Scott, was omitted from the Best Director lineup, giving it the feel of an also-ran. Its chances in this category certainly aren’t helped by the presence of so many blockbusters stealing votes that would normally go to it.
Votes: 2% of All Users
“Sicario”: Alan Robert Murray
Last year’s winner for “American Sniper,” Murray is back again with “Sicario.” He previously won for “Letter from Iwo Jima” (2006) and was nominated for “Ladyhawke” (1985), “Lethal Weapon 2” (1989), “Eraser” (1996), “Space Cowboys” (2000), and “Flags of Our Fathers” (2006). Voters liked the film enough to award it three nominations, and given its soundtrack, this would be an obvious place to honor it. Were it not for the presence of “Mad Max” and “The Revenant,” its chances of winning would be much greater.
Votes: 2% of All Users
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