Wednesday, December 6, 2023

Predicting The 89th Academy Awards: Best Sound Mixing, Best Sound Editing & Best Visual Effects

Continuing our march towards the 89th Academy Awards, I now look at two of the hardest categories to predict this year with Sound Editing/Mixing and one of the easiest ones to call – Best Visual Effects. Admittedly, I’ll be relying on stats and history to help out my predictions here and there will be a lot of stats to scroll through. But if you’re interested in winning your office Oscar pool, I recommend you take a look.

Click below for my in-depth analysis.

BEST SOUND EDITING/MIXING

Best Sound Editing/Mixing

The two Oscar sound categories are by far the most intense for me to pick every year. Each time I think about going against the grain and predicting a split, they tend to go to the same film. Assuming you know for a fact which film will win one and not the other, for example, musicals tend to always win Sound Mixing, then it’s traditionally safe to predict that the awards will go to the same film. We do have a musical nominated this year that is widely expected to win Sound Mixing. However, in a shocking turn of events, for the first time ever in the history of the Oscars, a musical is nominated in Sound Editing.

Here are this year’s five nominees for Sound Editing:

Arrival
Deepwater Horizon
Hacksaw Ridge
La La Land
Sully

And here are the nominees for Sound Mixing:

Arrival
Hacksaw Ridge
La La Land
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers Of Benghazi

​Using a combination of BAFTA wins for Sound, the MPSE award for Sound Editing, the CAS award for Sound Mixing and how often the two awards go to the same film, we are going to try and find trends here which will provide us with our two winners…or maybe one. First, let’s take a look at Sound Mixing…

CAS
1993: The Fugitive
1994: Forrest Gump
1995: Apollo 13
1996: The English Patient
1997: Titanic
1998: Saving Private Ryan
1999: The Matrix
2000: Gladiator
2001: The Lord Of The Rings: The Fellowship Of The Ring
2002: Road To Perdition
2003: Master & Commander: The Far Side Of The World
2004: The Aviator
2005: Walk The Line
2006: Dreamgirls
2007: No Country For Old Men
2008: Slumdog Millionaire
2009: The Hurt Locker
2010: True Grit
2011: Hugo
2012: Les Miserables
2013: Gravity
2014: Birdman
2015: The Revenant
​2016: La La Land
BAFTA
1968: 2001: A Space Odyssey
1969: Oh! What A Lovely War
1970: Butch Cassidy & The Sundance Kid
1971: Death In Venice
1972: Cabaret
1973: Jesus Christ Superstar
1974: The Conversation
1975: Nashville
1976: Bugsy Malone
1977: A Bridge Too Far
1978: Star Wars
1979: Alien
1980: Fame
1981: The French Lieutenant’s Woman
1982: Pink Floyd – The Wall
1983: WarGames
1984: The Killing Fields
1985: Amadeus
1986: Out Of Africa
1987: Cry Freedom
1988: Empire Of The Sun
1989: Mississippi Burning
1990: The Fabulous Baker Boys
1991: Terminator 2: Judgment Day
1992: JFK
1993: The Fugitive
1994: Speed
1995: Braveheart
1996: Shine
1997: LA Confidential
1998: Saving Private Ryan
1999: The Matrix
2000: Almost Famous
2001: Moulin Rogue!
2002: Chicago
2003: Master & Commander: The Far Side Of The World
2004: Ray
2005: Walk The Line
2006: Casino Royale
2007: The Bourne Ultimatum
2008: Slumdog Millionaire
2009: The Hurt Locker
2010: Inception
2011: Hugo
2012: Les Miserables
2013: Gravity
2014: Whiplash
2015: The Revenant
​2016: Arrival
SOUND EDITING OSCAR (Did It Match Sound Mixing?)
1975: The Hindenburg
1976: No Award Given
​1977: Close Encounters Of The Third Kind
1978: No Award Given
1979: The Black Stallion
1980: No Award Given
1981: Raiders Of The Lost Ark
1982: ET The Extra Terrestrial
1983: The Right Stuff
1984: The River
1985: Back To The Future
1986: Aliens
1987: Robocop
1988: Who Framed Roger Rabbit
1989: Indiana Jones & The Last Crusade
1990: The Hunt For Red October
1991: Terminator 2: Judgment Day
1992: Bram Stoker’s Dracula
1993: Jurassic Park
1994: Speed
1995: Braveheart
1996: The Ghost And The Darkness
1997: Titanic
1998: Saving Private Ryan
1999: The Matrix
2000: U-571
2001: Pearl Harbor
2002: The Lord Of The Rings: The Two Towers
2003: Master & Commander: The Far Side Of The World
2004: The Incredibles
2005: King Kong
2006: Letters From Iwo Jima
2007: The Bourne Ultimatum
2008: The Dark Knight
2009: The Hurt Locker
2010: Inception
2011: Hugo
2012: Skyfall & Zero Dark Thirty
2013: Gravity
2014: American Sniper
2015: Mad Max: Fury Road
​2016: ?
OSCAR
1968: Oliver!
1969: Hello, Dolly!
1970: Patton
1971: Fiddler On The Roof
1972: Cabaret
1973: The Exorcist
1974: Earthquake
1975: Jaws
1976: All The Presidents Men
1977: Star Wars
1978: The Deer Hunter
1979: Apocalypse Now
1980: The Empire Strikes Back
1981: Raiders Of The Lost Ark
1982: ET The Extra Terrestrial
1983: The Right Stuff
1984: Amadeus
1985: Out Of Africa
1986: Platoon
1987: The Last Emperor
1988: Bird
1989: Glory
1990: Dances With Wolves
1991: Terminator 2: Judgment Day
1992: The Last Of The Mohicans
1993: Jurassic Park
1994: Speed
1995: Apollo 13
1996: The English Patient
1997: Titanic
1998: Saving Private Ryan
1999: The Matrix
2000: Gladiator
2001: Black Hawk Down
2002: Chicago
2003: The Lord Of The Rings: The Return Of The King
2004: Ray
2005: King Kong
2006: Dreamgirls
2007: The Bourne Ultimatum
2008: Slumdog Millionaire
2009: The Hurt Locker
2010: Inception
2011: Hugo
2012: Les Miserables
2013: Gravity
2014: Whiplash
2015: Mad Max: Fury Road
​2016: ?

I know it is a lot. So what does it all mean for Sound Mixing?

The CAS have gotten the winner for Sound Mixing right 12/23 times (52%). The CAS was wrong but BAFTA got the winner right in:

1994: Speed (Won both Sound Mixing & Editing)
2002: Chicago (Musical)
2004: Ray (Musical)
2007: The Bourne Ultimatum (Won both Sound Mixing & Editing)
2010: Inception (Won both Sound Mixing & Editing)
2014: Whiplash (Musical)

The BAFTA have been correct in telling us the Sound Mixing winner 18/48 times (38%). In instances where they got it wrong (If you’re predicting “La La Land” over “Arrival,” this would be one of those years) but the CAS got it right were in:

1995: Apollo 13 (Braveheart won BAFTA and went on to win Sound Editing)
1996: The English Patient
1997: Titanic (Won both Sound Mixing & Editing)
2006: Dreamgirls (Musical)

What is most interesting is that “Walk The Line” remains the only musical based film to lose the Sound Mixing Oscar after winning both the CAS & the BAFTA which is something that even “La La Land” does not have under its belt. It lost to a film which won the MPSE that year (More on that in a second) and that was “King Kong” which also took Sound Editing.

It also should be mentioned that the Sound Mixing Oscar went to the Best Picture winner 15 times since 1968 and only two times did the winner win both awards which was “Titanic” and “The Hurt Locker.”

​And when we date back to 1975, the Sound Editing Oscars has matched with Sound Mixing 13/29 times (45%).

​1981: Raiders Of The Lost Ark
1982: ET The Extra Terrestrial
1983: The Right Stuff
​1991: Terminator 2: Judgment Day
1993: Jurassic Park
1994: Speed
1997: Titanic
1998: Saving Private Ryan
1999: The Matrix
2005: King Kong
2007: The Bourne Ultimatum
2009: The Hurt Locker
2010: Inception
2011: Hugo
​2013: Gravity
2015: Mad Max: Fury Road

So what does all of this mean? Is “La La Land” even the true frontrunner if it failed to win BAFTA and is presumably weak in Sound Editing? Could another film win in both Sound Editing and Mixing? Let’s turn our attention over to Sound Editing for a moment before we answer…

MPSE
1987: Predator
1988: Die Hard
1989: The Abyss & Born On The Fourth Of July
1990: Total Recall
1991: Barton Fink
1992: Under Siege
1993: Jurassic Park
1994: Speed
1995: Braveheart & Crimson Tide
1996: Daylight
1997: Titanic
1998: Saving Private Ryan
1999: The Matrix
2000: Gladiator
2001: Black Hawk Down
2002: Road To Perdition
2003: Master & Commander: The Far Side Of The World
2004: The Aviator
2005: War Of The Worlds
2006: Letters From Iwo Jima
2007: The Bourne Ultimatum
2008: The Dark Knight
2009: Avatar
2010: Inception
2011: War Horse
2012: Skyfall
2013: Gravity
2014: American Sniper
​2015: Mad Max: Fury Road & The Revenant
​2016: Hacksaw Ridge
BAFTA
1975: Nashville
1976: Bugsy Malone
1977: A Bridge Too Far
1978: Star Wars
1979: Alien
1980: Fame
1981: The French Lieutenant’s Woman
1982: Pink Floyd – The Wall
1983: WarGames
1984: The Killing Fields
1985: Amadeus
1986: Out Of Africa
1987: Cry Freedom
1988: Empire Of The Sun
1989: Mississippi Burning
1990: The Fabulous Baker Boys
1991: Terminator 2: Judgment Day
1992: JFK
1993: The Fugitive
1994: Speed
1995: Braveheart
1996: Shine
1997: LA Confidential
1998: Saving Private Ryan
1999: The Matrix
2000: Almost Famous
2001: Moulin Rogue!
2002: Chicago
2003: Master & Commander: The Far Side Of The World
2004: Ray
2005: Walk The Line
2006: Casino Royale
2007: The Bourne Ultimatum
2008: Slumdog Millionaire
2009: The Hurt Locker
2010: Inception
2011: Hugo
2012: Les Miserables
2013: Gravity
2014: Whiplash
2015: The Revenant
​2016: Arrival
SOUND MIXING OSCAR (Did It Match Sound Editing?)
​1987: The Last Emperor
1988: Bird
1989: Glory
1990: Dances With Wolves
1991: Terminator 2: Judgment Day
1992: The Last Of The Mohicans
1993: Jurassic Park
1994: Speed
1995: Apollo 13
1996: The English Patient
1997: Titanic
1998: Saving Private Ryan
1999: The Matrix
2000: Gladiator
2001: Black Hawk Down
2002: Chicago
2003: The Lord Of The Rings: The Return Of The King
2004: Ray
2005: King Kong
2006: Dreamgirls
2007: The Bourne Ultimatum
2008: Slumdog Millionaire
2009: The Hurt Locker
2010: Inception
2011: Hugo
2012: Les Miserables
2013: Gravity
2014: Whiplash
2015: Mad Max: Fury Road
​2016: ?
SOUND EDITING OSCAR
1975: The Hindenburg
1976: No Award Given
​1977: Close Encounters Of The Third Kind
1978: No Award Given
1979: The Black Stallion
1980: No Award Given
1981: Raiders Of The Lost Ark
1982: ET The Extra Terrestrial
1983: The Right Stuff
1984: The River
1985: Back To The Future
1986: Aliens
1987: Robocop
1988: Who Framed Roger Rabbit
1989: Indiana Jones & The Last Crusade
1990: The Hunt For Red October
1991: Terminator 2: Judgment Day
1992: Bram Stoker’s Dracula
1993: Jurassic Park
1994: Speed
1995: Braveheart
1996: The Ghost And The Darkness
1997: Titanic
1998: Saving Private Ryan
1999: The Matrix
2000: U-571
2001: Pearl Harbor
2002: The Lord Of The Rings: The Two Towers
2003: Master & Commander: The Far Side Of The World
2004: The Incredibles
2005: King Kong
2006: Letters From Iwo Jima
2007: The Bourne Ultimatum
2008: The Dark Knight
2009: The Hurt Locker
2010: Inception
2011: Hugo
2012: Skyfall & Zero Dark Thirty
2013: Gravity
2014: American Sniper
2015: Mad Max: Fury Road
​2016: ?

BAFTA was able to correctly give us the Sound Editing Oscar winner because the winner won both sound awards at the Oscars 9 times. Those films were:

​1991: Terminator 2: Judgment Day
​1994: Speed (Won MPSE)
1998: Saving Private Ryan (Won MPSE)
1999: The Matrix (Won MPSE)
2007: The Bourne Ultimatum (Won MPSE)
​2009: The Hurt Locker
2010: Inception (Won MPSE)
2011: Hugo
2013: Gravity (Won MPSE)

“Braveheart” & “Master & Commander: The Far Side Of The World” winning the BAFTA & only the Sound Editing Oscar are the only two times BAFTA has matched the Sound Editing Oscar winner in history. Both films also won the MPSE.

The other notable BAFTA find is that in a split year, no film EVER won Sound Editing with just the BAFTA win. It either won both Sound Mixing and Sound Editing or also won the MPSE. This gives the edge to “Hacksaw Ridge” over “Arrival” in Sound Editing if you’re predicting a split since “Arrival” won the BAFTA but failed to win MPSE or CAS.

And for those hoping for something to happen out of left field in Sound Editing (Such as a win for either “Sully” or “Deepwater Horizon” which admittedly, the later deserves probably over all of the other nominees), here are the Oscar winners who neither won the MPSE nor the BAFTA and still managed to split with Sound Mixing:

1987: Robocop (Nominated for Sound Mixing and lost to Best Picture winner The Last Emperor)
1988: Who Framed Roger Rabbit (Nominated for Sound Mixing and lost to musical film Bird)
1989: Indiana Jones & The Last Crusade (Nominated for Sound Mixing and lost to Glory)
1990: The Hunt For Red October (Nominated for Sound Mixing and lost to Best Picture winner Dances With Wolves)
1992: Bram Stoker’s Dracula (Not Nominated For Sound Mixing)
1996: The Ghost And The Darkness (Not Nominated For Sound Mixing)
2000: U-571 (Nominated for Sound Mixing and lost to Best Picture Winner Gladiator)
2001: Pearl Harbor (Nominated for Sound Mixing and lost to Black Hawk Down)
2002: The Lord Of The Rings: The Two Towers (Nominated for Sound Mixing and lost to Best Picture winner Chicago)
2004: The Incredibles (Nominated for Sound Mixing and lost to musical film Ray)

Here is one of the most interesting finds of all. These are the Sound Mixing winners during split years.

SOUND MIXING
1987: The Last Emperor (Not Nominated For Sound Editing)
1988: Bird (Not Nominated For Sound Editing)
1989: Glory (Not Nominated For Sound Editing)
1990: Dances With Wolves (Not Nominated For Sound Editing)
1992: The Last Of The Mohicans (Not Nominated For Sound Editing)
1995: Apollo 13 (Not Nominated For Sound Editing)
1996: The English Patient (Not Nominated For Sound Editing)
2000: Gladiator (Not Nominated For Sound Editing)
2001: Black Hawk Down (Not Nominated For Sound Editing)
2002: Chicago (Not Nominated For Sound Editing)
2003: The Lord Of The Rings: The Return Of The King (Not Nominated For Sound Editing)
2004: Ray (Not Nominated For Sound Editing)
2006: Dreamgirls (Not Nominated For Sound Editing)
2008: Slumdog Millionaire (WAS NOMINATED & LOST to “The Dark Knight” in Sound Editing which was also nominated for Sound Mixing)
2012: Les Miserables (Not Nominated For Sound Editing)
2014: Whiplash (Not Nominated For Sound Editing)

That’s right people. “Slumdog Millionaire” remains the only film to EVER win Sound Mixing but lose Sound Editing to another film which was also up for both awards. In years such as “Glory,” or “Gladiator,” or “Black Hawk Down” or even “The Lord Of The Rings: The Return of The King,” there remains a very good chance that had those films been nominated for Sound Editing, they probably would have won both awards. But they were not nominated and thus the Academy awarded them where they could.

The Best Picture Oscar winner has won Sound Editing only twice since the award has been in existence and it was for the films “Titanic” and “The Hurt Locker.” You may think that this alone right here is why “La La Land” will not win both Sound Mixing and Editing. “Titanic” is an epic disaster film that was a technical marvel while “The Hurt Locker” was a war film and they tend to do well in Sound Editing. So why am I not ready to call it over for “La La Land” in Sound Editing? Because no musical has ever been nominated for Sound Editing. We honestly don’t know how they will vote with the presence of that film in this category. We can naturally assume that in previous years the musical film always won Sound Mixing because music is typically associated with sound and they saw the musical film nominated in one of the sound awards and simply marked it off. This year, the Academy is being forced to understand the difference between the two categories and I’m not entirely 100% sure they are aware.

So your three best choices for the most likely outcome at the Oscars are….

1. “Hacksaw Ridge” wins Sound Editing/Mixing (MPSE Winner has won both awards 9/29 times or 31%)
2. “La La Land” wins Sound Editing/Mixing (CAS Winner has won both awards 6/23 times or 26%)
3. “Hacksaw Ridge” wins Sound Editing while “La La Land” wins Sound Mixing (CAS & MPSE matched Oscar in the same year 8/23 times or 35%. 4 of those times were during split years)

I think I’ve settled on the final choice. The data all points to that being the way this would go down if “La La Land” did not have that Sound Editing nomination. But it does have that nomination and I cannot change that. I’m essentially predicting another “Slumdog Millionaire”/”The Dark Knight” situation all over again and I made this mistake last year picking “The Revenant” for Sound Mixing and “Mad Max: Fury Road” for Sound Editing. Old habits die hard I guess.

SOUND MIXING
PREDICTED WINNER: “La La Land
RUNNER UP: “Hacksaw Ridge

SOUND EDITING
PREDICTED WINNER: “Hacksaw Ridge
​RUNNER UP: “La La Land

BEST VISUAL EFFECTS

Best Visual Effects

Ok now this is a lot easier. I promise. Best Visual Effects this year has felt like it could only be one winner all season long and that is “The Jungle Book.” A technical marvel in every regard, the only question is if anything could possibly upset it? What I can tell you is that no film has ever won the Critics Choice Award, Visual Effects Society and BAFTA for visual effects and not won the Oscar. “Avatar,” “Inception,” “Life Of Pi” & “Gravity” all pulled off this trifecta, while the only film to ever win at Visual Effects Society and BAFTA and still go on to lose the Oscar was last year’s “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” in a huge upset to “Ex-Machina.”

Here are the five nominees up for this year’s Best Visual Effects Oscar:

Deepwater Horizon
Doctor Strange
The Jungle Book
Kubo & The Two Strings
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

And if you’ve made it this far into the article and don’t mind scrolling through a little more history for me to prove my point…

CRITICS CHOICE
2009: Avatar
2010: Inception
2011: Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes
2012: Life Of Pi
2013: Gravity
2014: Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes
2015: Mad Max: Fury Road
2016: The Jungle Book
VISUAL EFFECTS SOCIETY
2002: The Lord Of The Rings: The Two Towers
2003: The Lord Of The Rings: The Return Of The King
2004: Harry Potter & The Prisoner Of Azkaban
2005: King Kong
2006: Pirates Of The Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest
2007: Transformers
2008: The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button
2009: Avatar
2010: Inception
2011: Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes (Hugo won Supporting Visual Effects & won the Oscar)
2012: Life Of Pi
2013: Gravity
2014: Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes
2015: Star Wars: The Force Awakens
2016: The Jungle Book
BAFTA
1982: Poltergeist
1983: Star Wars: Return Of The Jedi
1984: Indiana Jones & The Temple Of Doom
1985: Brazil
1986: Aliens
1987: The Witches Of Eastwick
1988: Who Framed Roger Rabbit
1989: Back To The Future Part II
1990: Honey I Shrunk The Kids
1991: Terminator 2: Judgment Day
1992: Death Becomes Her
1993: Jurassic Park
1994: Forest Gump
1995: Apollo 13
1996: Twister
1997: The Fifth Element
1998: Saving Private Ryan
1999: The Matrix
2000: The Perfect Storm
2001: The Lord Of The Rings: The Fellowship Of The Ring
2002: The Lord Of The Rings: The Two Towers
2003: The Lord Of The Rings: The Return Of The King
2004: The Day After Tomorrow
2005: King Kong
2006: Pirates Of The Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest
2007: The Golden Compass
2008: The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button
2009: Avatar
2010: Inception
2011: Harry Potter & The Deathly Hallows Part 2
2012: Life Of Pie
2013: Gravity
2014: Interstellar
2015: Star Wars: The Force Awakens
2016: The Jungle Book
OSCAR
1982: ET The Extra Terrestrial
1983: Star Wars: Return Of The Jedi
1984: Indiana Jones & The Temple Of Doom
1985: Cocoon
1986: Aliens
1987: Innerspace
1988: Who Framed Roger Rabbit
1989: The Abyss
1990: Total Recall
1991: Terminator 2: Judgment Day
1992: Death Becomes Her
1993: Jurassic Park
1994: Forest Gump
1995: Babe
1996: Independence Day
1997: Titanic
1998: What Dreams May Come
1999: The Matrix
2000: Gladiator
2001: The Lord Of The Rings: The Fellowship Of The Ring
2002: The Lord Of The Rings: The Two Towers
2003: The Lord Of The Rings: The Return Of The King
2004: Spider-Man 2
2005: King Kong
2006: Pirates Of The Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest
2007: The Golden Compass
2008: The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button
2009: Avatar
2010: Inception
2011: Hugo
2012: Life Of Pie
2013: Gravity
2014: Interstellar
2015: Ex-Machina
2016: ?

If any film could beat “The Jungle Book” here, I would watch out for a surprise win for “Kubo & The Two Strings” if the Academy was looking to make history awarding an animated film Best Visual Effects for the first time ever or “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” for some groundbreaking effects and what would essentially be a makeup win for last year. Doesn’t really matter. “The Jungle Book” has this.

PREDICTED WINNER: “The Jungle Book
​RUNNER UP: “Kubo & The Two Strings

What are your predictions for these three Oscar categories? Be sure to let me know in the comments down below.

You can follow Matt and hear more of his thoughts on the Oscars and Film on Twitter at @NextBestPicture

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Matt Neglia
Matt Negliahttps://nextbestpicture.com/
Obsessed about the Oscars, Criterion Collection and all things film 24/7. Critics Choice Member.

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