2021 Oscar Predictions: Best Sound [Updated: March 3]

The motion picture academy has made it a little easier to predict the winners this year by combining Best Sound Mixing and Best Sound Editing into one new category: Best Sound. Both sound mixers and sound editors will be recognized in the new category. Up to six statuettes will be awarded to one production sound mixer, two supervising sound editors and three re-recording mixers.

It can be difficult to differentiate the sound mixing of a film from the sound editing. While the members of the sound branch are experts in the two fields, the rest of the Oscar voters may not be as versed. Sound editing is the art of putting together the various pieces of the sound track (dialogue, effects, ADR and foley) Sound mixing adjusts the overall sound and score levels throughout the film. (Scroll down for the most up-to-date 2021 Oscar predictions for Best Sound.)

The two sound awards often go to the same film, with 10 double champs so far this century: “Bohemian Rhapsody” (2019), “Dunkirk” (2018), “Mad Max: Fury Road” (2016), “Gravity” (2014), “Hugo” (2012), “Inception” (2011), “The Hurt Locker” (2010), “The Bourne Ultimatum” (2008), “King Kong” (2006)  and “The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King” (2004). All of these double dippers featured extensive action sequences complete with explosions, crashes, and clanging metal.

Last year the war film “1917” won Best Sound Mixing while the auto racing drama “Ford v Ferrari” took home the Best Sound Editing trophy.  Both those films contended in the other category with “Joker” and “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” also reaping double bids. “Ad Astra” was the fifth Sound Mixing nominee while “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker” rounded out the Sound Editing race.

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 reaction.

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UPDATED: March 3, 2021

Leading Contenders

“Greyhound” (Apple TV+)

“Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” (Netflix)

“Mank” (Netflix)

“Sound of Metal” (Amazon Studios)

“Tenet” (Warner Bros.)

“The Trial of the Chicago 7” (Netflix)

PREDICT the 2021 Oscar nominations through March 15

Strong Contenders

“Birds of Prey” (Warner Bros.)

“Da 5 Bloods” (Netflix)

“News of the World” (Universal Pictures)

“Nomadland” (Searchlight Pictures)

“The United States vs. Billie Holiday” (Paramount Pictures)

“Wonder Woman 1984” (Warner Bros.)

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Possible Contenders

“Ammonite” (Neon)

“Judas and the Black Messiah” (Warner Bros.)

“The Midnight Sky” (Netflix)

“Mulan” (Disney)

“One Night in Miami” (Amazon Studios)

“Soul” (Pixar)

“Promising Young Woman” (Focus Features)

“Wolfwalkers” (Apple TV+)

We will be updating our Oscar predictions for each competitive category often in the days to come so be sure to bookmark this page and keep checking back as the race heats up.

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