Best Sound Mixing is not the most glamorous award of Oscar night. In fact, it’s usually the time during the show when most viewers take their restroom breaks. But as any award pundit knows, it’s these small categories that can make or break an Oscar pool. Plus it’s one of the small handful of categories where a big action blockbuster has a real shot of winning. Not to be confused with sound editing (the creating of sound), sound mixing is awarded to the person that utilizes the dialog and fancy sounds that their wonderful sound editors have created.

John Reitz, Gregg Rudloff, and Jose Antonio Garcia


Pro: Ever since the highly publicized director snub, the Ben Affleck thriller has only been gaining momentum (revenge?) from supporters. If this trend continues we could see an Argo upset in many categories. Plus it has a nomination in sound editing; usually the film that wins this award wins the other.

Con: There are lots of critical darlings packed into this category and each have their supporters. Argo can easily be overlooked since some of the other nominees have more complex sounds.

Les Miserables
Andy Nelson, Mark Paterson, and Simon Hayes

sound mix cover

Pro: While action films typically take the two sound awards, a musical (a best picture nominee at that) can upset in this category. Take a look at past musicals like Dreamgirls, Chicago, and Ray. Each of those films took home this prize despite not being nominated in the sound editing department. In fact Dreamgirls beat out sound-apoolza Pirates of the Caribbean 2. Les Miserables also utilizes never before done live filmed singing. Love or hate the film, it’s got the most complex sound mixing.

Con: The movie is losing steam fast. While it has some supporters on its side, it’s missing out on a lot of major categories that really hurt its chances at winning. It has a very complex sound to the film, but if the voters are not in your corner you don’t win the gold. And despite past winners, not having that sound editing nomination always hurts.

Life of Pi
Ron Bartlett, D.M. Hemphill, and Drew Kunin

life of pi sound mix

Pro: The movie has the perfect blend of whimsy and action. It’s a Best Picture nominee and it dominates all of the technical categories. You can make a check list of what it takes to win this prize and Life of Pie checks off every single one. This seems to be the Hugo of this year and just like Hugo, it could win this prize. Voters may just check off Life of Pi in all the tech categories and it could walk away with the most Oscars of the night (although probably not best picture).

Con: There actually is not a whole lot against it. Honestly, the only thing really stopping it is fierce competition and stronger support for other films. Maybe some of the more silent alone at sea scenes may over shadow the bigger showier sequences.

Andy Nelson, Gary Rydstrom, and Ronald Judkins

Lincoln- sound mix

Pro: It’s a Spielberg movie with the most momentum and nominations. In fact Gary Rydstrom has won seven sound Oscars and Ronald Judkins has won twice (both winning for Spielberg projects Jurassic Park and Saving Private Ryan). If there is no stopping the Lincoln train, it could just take these smaller prizes.

Con: Two things. One, Lincoln is a very dialog based film and as seen with past nominees like The Social Network and Moneyball, talky movies don’t take sound awards. And number two, Andy Nelson is also nominated for Les Miserables. If the voters are going to choose him, they’re going to take the more complex technical sounding film.

Scott Millan, Greg P. Russell, and Stuart Wilson

skyfall- sound mix

Pro: It’s definitely the biggest movie of the bunch. It surprisingly took in a billion dollars at the box office, plus got great critical acclaim. The sound team is also no stranger to awards with all three being previously nominated (Scott Millan has won four times). Plus the Bond franchise turns 50 this year. With multiple nominations, the Academy just may feel generous to Mr. Bond.

Con: It’s the only one of the bunch that doesn’t have a Best Picture nomination. Sure it got lots of critical praise but when voters look at the nomination list some of the higher elites may still scoff at Skyfall as a mere action film.

Prediction: Frankly, with this loopy award season any of these nominees have a shot at it.
Life of Pi is the safest choice since it will likely sweep most of the tech categories. However, I predict Les Miserables to take the gold. I can’t see the Academy ignoring the live singing factor.

Road to the Oscars Series

January 14: Best Visual Effects – Ian Murphy

January 16: Best Sound Editing – Ian Murphy

January 18: Best Sound Mixing – Michael Benedict

January 21: Best Cinematography – Scott Youngbauer

January 23: Best Costume Design – Ian Murphy

January 25: Best Makeup and Hairstyling – Rebecca Susmarski

January 28: Best Film Editing – Dan Schindel

January 30: Best Production Design – Scott Youngbauer

February 1: Best Animated Feature – Carlos Aguilar

February 4: Best Documentary Feature – Dan Schindel

February 6: Best Documentary Short Subject – Dan Schindel

February 7: Best Live Action Short – Carlos Aguilar

February 8: Best Animated Short – Kit Bowen

February 10: Best Foreign Language Film – Carlos Aguilar

February 11: Best Original Score – Adam Spunberg

February 12: Best Original Song – Adam Spunberg

February 13: Best Original Screenplay – Dan Schindel

February 14: Best Adapted Screenplay – Jeremy Martin

February 16: Best Supporting Actor – Angela Stern

February 17: Best Supporting Actress – Hiko Mitsuzuka

February 18: Best Actress – Andrew Payne

February 19: Best Actor – Kit Bowen

February 20: Best Director – Andrew Payne

February 21: Best Picture – Kit Bowen

February 24: 85th Annual Academy Awards