By Matt Neglia
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
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:
"La La Land"
And here are the nominees for Sound Mixing:
"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...
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
1998: Saving Private Ryan
1999: The Matrix
2005: King Kong
2007: The Bourne Ultimatum
2009: The Hurt Locker
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...
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)
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.
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.
PREDICTED WINNER: "La La Land"
RUNNER UP: "Hacksaw Ridge"
PREDICTED WINNER: "Hacksaw Ridge"
RUNNER UP: "La La Land"
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:
"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...
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
Belfast - TIFF
Happening - VENICE
Titane - CANNES
Jane Campion - VENICE
Leos Carax - CANNES
Penelope Cruz - VENICE
Renate Reinsve - CANNES
John Arcilla - VENICE
Caleb Landry Jones - CANNES
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
Drive My Car - CANNES
The Lost Daughter - VENICE
BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY
BEST COSTUME DESIGN
BEST FILM EDITING
BEST MAKEUP & HAIRSTYLING
BEST ORIGINAL SCORE
The Addams Family 2 - HMMA
C'mon C'mon - HMMA
Don't Look Up - HMMA
Dune - HMMA
Julia - HMMA
Parallel Mothers - HMMA
A Quiet Place: Part II - HMMA
BEST ORIGINAL SONG
CODA - HMMA
No Time To Die - HMMA
PAW Patrol: The Movie - HMMA
Rebel Hearts - HMMA
BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN
BEST VISUAL EFFECTS
BEST ANIMATED FEATURE
BEST INTERNATIONAL FEATURE FILM
BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE
Summer Of Soul - CCA