Since sound re-recording mixer Skip Lievsay had worked on Alfonso Cuaron‘s “Gravity” (2013) and “Y Tu Mama Tambien” (2001), he was already attuned to the director’s “insane, crazy approach to making movies.” So even though “Roma” was a smaller-scale film than the Oscar-winning sci-fi epic they last collaborated on, Lievsay knew he still had his work cut out for him. “You just know that there’s always going to be a deeply emotional main movie, with a lot of other stuff happening in the background,” he explains. Watch our exclusive video interview above.
Cuaron based this film on his own memories of growing up in Mexico in the 1970s, focusing the story on a maid (Yalitza Aparicio) working for a middle-class family. “We didn’t know going in what was going to happen,” Lievsay reveals. “He told me that it was going to be a more personal film that was going to be made in Mexico City, but that’s all we knew.” Still, despite its more intimate nature, Lievsay was prepared for “some really big ideas.”
“Roma” was similar to “Gravity” in the sense that “in both cases we were trying to press a certain reality.” In “Gravity” “there was kind of a scientific question” about “what would be realistic,” while in “Roma” the focus was on “the documentary aspect” combined with “the emotional attachment” we give to things. So while the space exploration of “Gravity” was more “esoteric,” the down-to-Earth “Roma” is based in something “that everybody knows … something which is very believable.”
“Gravity” won Lievsay an Oscar for Best Sound Mixing. He was nominated five more times for his collaborations with the Coen Brothers: Best Sound Mixing and Sound Editing for “No Country for Old Men” (2007) and “True Grit” (2010), and Best Sound Mixing for “Inside Llewyn Davis” (2013). A prolific artist with over 170 credits on his resume, Lievsay has also worked on films including “Do the Right Thing,” “GoodFellas,” “The Silence of the Lambs,” “Fargo,” “Big Fish,” and “The New World.”
Be sure to check out how our experts rank this year’s Oscar contenders. Then take a look at the most up-to-date combined odds before you make your own Oscar predictions. Don’t be afraid to jump in now since you can keep changing your predictions until just before nominations are announced on January 22.