“Baby Driver” is riding in second place behind “Dunkirk” in all three of its Oscar races — Best Editing, Best Sound Editing and Best Sound Mixing — in our combined odds. But Christopher Nolan‘s World War II epic should keep an eye on the rearview mirror because “Baby Driver” could very well speed past it all the way to the Kodak Theatre stage.
“Baby Driver” needs only to look to “The Bourne Ultimatum” (2007) for inspiration. The third installment of Matt Damon‘s spy franchise went three-for-three in the exact same categories the Edgar Wright flick is up for. War films have historically ruled these categories, but every now and then, the Oscars go all in on popular action films that aren’t Best Picture contenders but are brimming with sharp cutting and audio work that amp up the intensity. “The Matrix” also won these categories, along with Best Visual Effects, 18 years ago.
But “Baby Driver” is most similar to “The Bourne Ultimatum.” Both feature frenetic, pulsating car chase sequences — the “Bourne” franchise is famous for its shaky camera technique — and both center on a protagonist with a medical ailment: Jason Bourne (Damon) has amnesia and Baby (Ansel Elgort) has tinnitus. While Bourne’s weapon of choice are his deadly hands, Baby’s is music, which he blasts to deal with his tinnitus. And like the precise sound of Bourne landing his swift punches, Baby’s constant tunes blend seamlessly with the chaotic world around him — squealing tires, broken glass and loud explosions.
The difference is that “Bourne” didn’t have to compete against a behemoth of a war film like “Dunkirk.” It did very well in precursors, winning Best Drama Editing at the ACE Eddies, Best Editing and Best Sound at BAFTA, Best Dialogue and ADR and Best Sound Effects and Foley at the Motion Picture Sound Editors Awards, and Best Stunt Ensemble at the Screen Actors Guild Awards. It lost the top Cinema Audio Society Award honor to eventual Best Picture champ “No Country for Old Men.”
“Baby Driver” lost SAG stunt to “Wonder Women” and the comedy ACE Eddie to “I, Tonya,” while “Dunkirk” won the drama ACE Eddie. “Baby Driver” and “Dunkirk” will face off at BAFTA and MPSE on Feb. 18 and at CAS on Feb. 24. If “Baby Driver” takes any of those, watch out on March 4.
Be sure to make your Oscar predictions so that Hollywood insiders can see how their films and performers are faring in our odds. You can keep changing your predictions until just before winners are announced on March 4. And join in the fierce debate over the 2018 Oscars taking place right now with Hollywood insiders in our movie forums. Read more Gold Derby entertainment news.