BEST SOUND EDITING:
Who Will Win?
Forget costume design, these sound design awards are truly the hardest to choose from. You don’t really pay attention to the sound of a movie. In fact, it’s usually a good sign of skill if the sound doesn’t call attention to itself.
It’s especially hard because you got four movies in strong competition for sound. You got three freaking critically acclaimed science fiction movies. Mad Max: Fury Road and Star Wars: The Force Awakens both have to collection sounds to meet their own unique world. The Martian tries to find a way to make Mars sound as realistic as possible.
The Revenant works to create a realistic sounding world while combining it with a haunting musical score.
I am tempted to recommend an upset with Sicario, because it’s grittier than most of the film. But I’m going to go with Star Wars: The Force Awakens. With an ensemble of aliens, robots and gadgets, it requires finding unique sounds for each and every one of them. That’s where sound editing comes in.
One particular stand out it is when villain Kylo Ren uses the force to keep a laser in midair. As the camera moves past this equivalent to a floating bullet, you hear a particular buzz that sounds like that laser’s floating in midair.
BEST SOUND MIXING:
Who Will Win?
Finding a combination of sounds is one thing. Putting them all together is another challenge.
For this one, I’m juggling in between Mad Max, the Martian and The Revenant and Star Wars. Holy hell, is this a hard one. I’m literally jumping from film to film trying to choose. One side of me wants to play it safe and choose Star Wars. Another side wants me to take a gamble and choose the Martian. I’m going to take a gamble and choose The Martian. While Star Wars tried to be as fantastical as possible, the later attempts to go for realism, which is a challenge considering the film takes place on Mars. Whether it’s the sound of a sandstorm, the space station or the spaceships, it’s a difficult task to create a feeling of believability via sound. And then there’s the endless disco soundtrack that drove Matt Damon’s character nuts.
BEST ORIGINAL SCORE:
Click the links below to hear some music from the soundtrack
- Thomas Newman for BRIDGE OF SPIES
- Carter Burwell for CAROL
- Ennio Morricone for THE HATEFUL EIGHT
- Johann Johannsson for SICARIO
- John Williams for STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS
Who Will Win?
This will be an overdue Oscar for music legend Ennio Morricone, who has been nominated five times. Sure, he received an honorary Oscar, but he should have won for one of his movies. This is the guy who created the immortal score for The Good, The Bad and the Ugly. In a way, this score would be the academy’s way of saying “We’re sorry”, as when Martin Scorsese won Best Director for The Departed or when Paul Newman won Best Actor for The Colour of Money.
UPDATE: After watching The Hateful Eight, I am finally able to deliver my opinion of the score. As always, Morricone’s score’s unforgettable. What I notice is the score seems to take on this horror film-esque quality to it. The opening alone sounds like a theme for a Jason-esque villain. Sure, there are also a lot of softer moments, but the music truly stands out when it switches to horror-esque mode. For some reason, it actually adds to the film. I don’t know why, but it does.
BEST ORIGINAL SONG:
Click the links below to hear the song.
- Earned It performed by The Weeknd from Fifty Shades of Grey
- Manta Ray performed by J. Ralph & Anthony from Racing Extinction
- Simple Song #3 performed by Sumi Jo and the BBC Orchestra from Youth
- Till It Happens to You performed by Lady Gaga from The Hunting Ground
- Writing’s On the Wall performed by Sam Smith from Spectre
Who Will Win?
Well, not every year can have a song as impactful as Let it Go or Glory. This year is a bit of a challenge. I’m going to be honest; I’m glad Furious 7’s See You Again wasn’t nominated. It’s nice the film did a tribute to Paul Walker, but this song is just too damn underwhelming. I would have gone with the soundtrack’s song Ride Out. It fits more with the franchise and serves as a celebration of the comradeship the cast had for each other.
If it were up to me, I would give the award to Simple Song #3 from Youth. I watched the film at the Toronto International Film Festival and when I heard this song, I knew it was going to be nominated for this Oscar. It is one beautiful song.
But I suspect this will be a one on one between Fifty Shades of Grey and Spectre. Whatever you’re opinion’s on the former film, you have to agree it has an amazing soundtrack. I still listen to Ellie Goulding’s Love Me like You Do to this day. I thought this song was going to be nominated. But when I think about it, Earned it is more appropriate for a film like Fifty Shades of Grey. The Weeknd’s an artist well known for lyrics with dirty undertones. Some would argue his song has more sex in it than the whole movie. It would be a joy to see him sing on the academy.
But this is a battle between my music loving side and my movie critic side. And movie critic side doesn’t want this movie to win any awards. Let’s look at Spectre’s song. Daniel Craig’s first two bond films were unfortunate to have forgettable songs. Then along came Skyfall, where Adele belted her way to Bond franchise’s only Best Song Oscar. Though not as impactful as Adele’s Skyfall, Sam Smith still gives us a memorable song. And it still has a high chance of winning.
I’m going to say Writing’s on the Wall from Spectre.
UPDATE: I’ve noticed a lot of predictions seem to lean towards the song “Till It Happens to You” from The Hunting Ground. The film itself is a journalistic look at the rape epidemic spreading across campuses and the refusal of said campuses to hold rapists accountable. Yes, the film will piss you off to no end. Hearing men and women talk about their rape experience and the victim blaming the academies inflicted on them is hard to listen to.
Now let’s talk about the song. Lady Gaga brings a lot less showmanship she is known for, toning herself down a lot. The music itself isn’t as memorable. What is memorable is the lyrics, which calls out people who trivialize victims’ tramautic experiences by telling them “You’ll be fine.” These type of people often act like they somehow they know more than the person going through the trauma. It says until it happens to you, shut the fuck up.
I now feel this film will win the Oscar and should, mostly because of the lyrics. Also because it’s a win for the film, which will gain more attention.