Sunday, September 30, 2012

The Fifties for 2012: Editing and Sound

Look, Ma, twice in two days!

Best Film Editing
Crockett Doob and Affonso Gonçalves for Beasts of the Southern Wild, for making Hushpuppy's world such a revolving, crystalline dream, but also allowing its mess, its detours, its slow patches and hesitations;

John Gilroy for The Bourne Legacy, for the precision cutting and rhythmic control over each scene, in the holding patterns and discourses as well as the chases and shoot-outs;

"Mary Ann Bernard" for Magic Mike, not just for squeezing the comedy, the drama, the musical, the sex show, and the essay into one film but for weaving them so subtly together;

Gerardo Naranjo for Miss Bala, for the impeccable construction of believably ground-level suspense, privileging Laura's POV but adding tension by nudging us just beyond it; and

Veronika Jenet for The Snowtown Murders, for clarity and economy, condensing complex sequences, slipping characters into and out of the film, dilating horror or paralysis as needed.

Honorable mentions in alphabetical order by film title to Joel Negron for 21 Jump Street, Andrew Hafitz for Damsels in Distress, Leslie Jones and Peter McNulty for The Master, Wolfgang Widerhofer for Michael, Andrew Weisblum for Moonrise Kingdom, and Olivier Bugge Coutté and Gisle Tveito for Oslo, August 31st.

Best Sound (Mixing and Editing)
Steve Boeddeker, Bob Edwards, John D. Matthews, et al., for Beasts of the Southern Wild, for keeping up with and blending the range of tones in Hushpuppy's life and in bayou life, working across exaggerated and realist registers;

Christopher Eakins, Robert Jackson, et al., for Lawless, for conjuring a sense of place as much through musical idioms as through foley work, giving the world depth and making the violence resonate;

Salvador Félix, Pablo Lach, et al., for Miss Bala, since every year yields its own champion for sheer ballistic impact, erupting through the quiets, excitements, and low-level dins of Mexico; 

Frank Lipson, et al., for The Snowtown Murders, for again proving Australia a world champ in this craft, blurring lines between music and other elements, putting odd noises to indelible use; and

Gábor ifj. Erhélyi, et al., for The Turin Horse, for unforgettably synthesizing the constant wind, the quotidian noises, the rural and nocturnal quiets, and that warped-wood Mihály Vig score.

Honorable mentions aren't so numerous at this point in the year, but they start with Tim Barker, Gernot Fuhrmann, et al., who weave strands of memory, radio fragments, pub music, period textures, and wartime flashbacks so sinuously in The Deep Blue Sea. Craig Henighan, et al., gave Moonrise Kingdom some memorable sonic moments and motifs, and Ann Scibelli, Simon Hayes, Victor Ray Ennis, Mark P. Stoeckinger, et al., built a textured and evolving envelope of audio around Prometheus. Way off the grid of "Best Sound" types of movies, Jafar Panahi uses sound ingeniously to convey what he cannot or should not show in This Is Not a Film.

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Anonymous goran said...

It's funny that you single out Australia as a world champ in sound mixing and editing, because the consensus among our expatriates who work in Hollywood and come back is that we don't know how to do sound mixing at all and we never allow a suitable time frame for it in post-production.

Though I had many (many many) reservations regarding Snowtown, I agree that the sound design was very strong.

10:11 PM, September 30, 2012  
Blogger NicksFlickPicks said...

Gosh, I would never have anticipated that party line. I feel that an Australian short film or feature is almost always identifiable right off the bat for the precise sense of composition, the adventurous and creative sound design, and the unabashed use of color. Not to box an entire film culture into one aesthetic, but these virtues recur so often (especially in shorts) that they seem worth observing. And note that, care of Hillcoat, there are sorta two Aussie sound successes in these nominations. I respectfully disagree with your industry's self-image on this point! :)

(I apologize if you've told me before, but what work do you do? It seems so clear you've got an insider's perspective on the industry, but either I don't know or don't remember where your expertise is centered.)

10:30 PM, September 30, 2012  
Anonymous goran said...

I went through film school as a writer-director (the same one as Justin Snowtown Kurzel but a couple years later). I still do write and direct, but I am yet to make money out of it so I always feel weird saying I'm a writer-director. I'm very much on the 'emerging' side but 'emerged' enough to get to mix with a few people on the industry's fringes and get access to the insider's perspective.

Also, I just realised why you might have this impression of Australian cinema. It's because most of our more generic output doesn't make it to your shores. I personally find that a lot of it is actually quite prosaic, conservative, aesthetically unimaginative and wedged in a middlebrow no-man's-land (no-audience-land) between commercial and arthouse. Things like Sleeping Beauty and Snowtown and everything Jane Campion ever does are really more the exception than the rule. (Or at least that's my feeling. The entire Australian film industry is actually made up of about 700 or so people with 700 or so completely contradictory but equally strident opinions, mine included.)

2:09 AM, October 01, 2012  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm surprised not to see The Grey in your sound categories, even as a runner-up. To me it was a case study in how to effectively use sound and sound effects in order to enhance moods and create suspense. The effect might be diluted if you saw it on television. (Not sure if you did, although I recall you didn't post a twitter capsule until sometime in the summer.)

9:15 AM, October 02, 2012  
Blogger NicksFlickPicks said...

@dws1982: Possibly an oversight on my part. I wasn't crazy about The Grey's visuals, but what you say here rings a bell that its sound work was pretty impressive. Thanks for the reminder. Revisiting the trailer for Bourne Legacy hoping for an image of Elizabeth Marvel reminds me, too, of good sound work in that movie, which I thought I might be lazily invoking just because it's an action picture. Consider them both honorable mentions.

11:23 AM, October 03, 2012  

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