Sandwiched between last night's CAS nominees and tomorrow's MPSE nominees seemed like a good time to present my own favourites.
You'll also note that I'm much more liberal in awarding credit to individuals than the Academy or the guilds. 4-name limit? We don't need no stinkin' 4-name limit!
Best Sound Mixing:
Avatar (Christopher Boyes, Tony Johnson, William Kaplan, Andy Nelson, Juan Peralta, Gary Summers, James Tanenbaum)
As stunning as the visuals are, the reason we believe in the illusion of Pandora is because we are immersed in a vibrant and indicative world of sounds. Harsh noises follow the human characters wherever they go, while the sound mix of the forest is serene yet alive.
District 9 (Micheal Hedges, Gilbert Lake, Ken Saville)
They maintain a gritty, unpolished, pseudo-documentary style mix throughout, even if Blomkamp couldn't keep up the gimmick. They accentuate the chaos of the battle scenes without losing coherence.
The Hurt Locker (Jeffrey Haboush, Paul Ottoson, Ray Beckett)
Excellent production mixing on a tough location shoot in Jordan ensures that none of the dialogue is lost in the ambient noise. Paul Ottoson drew upon his own military knowledge to work in authentic weapon sounds with maximal effect. Perfect control of the music.
The Lovely Bones (Michael Hedges, Tod Maitland, Hammond Peek)
The overlap between the real world and the "in-between" is an abstract thing to grasp visually, but this affective application of echoes and altered voice tracks help put us in the right place.
Star Trek (Anna Behlmer, Peter Devlin, David Giammarco, Cory Mandel, Paul Massey, Andy Nelson)
These folks made the most of Michael Giacchino's great music and Ben Burtt's great effects. Balance is key, and they get it just right. Extra kudos for that opening sequence alone.
Just missed: Harry Potter, Transformers, The Road.
Best Sound Editing:
Avatar (Christopher Boyes, Addison Teague, Gwendolyn Whittle)
All manner of otherworldly plants and creatures go head to head with clanking implements of destruction.
Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs (Jason George, Geoffrey Rubay)
Zany inventions (including monkey translator) and tons of food-induced collateral damage. The end of the world never sounded so delicious!
District 9 (Brent Burge, Chris Ward, Dave Whitehead)
Great prawn voices and wicked cool alien weaponry.
Star Trek (Ben Burtt, Harry Cohen, Scott Martin Gershin, Mark Mangini, Alan Rankin, Ann Scibelli, Tim Walston)
Lots of people worked on this one, and it shows. Hip hip hurray for the beeps and boops of the Star Trek Enterprise!
Transformers (Erik Aadahl, Ethan Van der Ryn)
Yes, yes, the film is horrible. But it can take refuge in this category, where it is rewarded for its excess of bangs, booms, clanks, and crazy robot voices.
Just missed: The Hurt Locker, Harry Potter.
Oscar Nazi Award winners will be announced on January 31.