Whereas sound editing is the creation of sounds, sound mixing is the combination of all of those sounds to create an atmosphere. Sound editing creates the sound of a gunshot bursting through the side of a ship. Sound mixing mixes together the tens of gunshots going off at once while voices scream and water rushes in.
As mentioned in the Best Sound Editing write-up, the BAFTA award for Best Sound often lines up more with the Best Sound Mixing category than it does the Best Sound Editing category. Slumdog Millionaire, Les Miserables and Whiplash are all examples. While it’s not a perfect parallel, it is reliable, and Dunkirk‘s win should line it up to take home this award at the Oscars.
In addition, Christopher Nolan’s war epic won the Cinema Audio Society award, giving it two precursors. And, as shown by Hacksaw Ridge last year, a war film with intense and brutal sound design could do well in this category.
It’s not without reason to suspect a possible upset by Baby Driver. The film’s mix is its biggest sound asset, the tequila shootout coming to mind as an example of mixing brilliance. Edgar Wright’s film is rather popular and if it turns out stronger than anticipated, it take this award from Dunkirk.
Finally, Blade Runner 2049 is also not out of competition. There can be a lot of crossover between the sound categories and how voters judge/vote on them, and 2049‘s constant presence and sound editing wins make it a stealth contender here.
Gregg Landaker, Gary Rizzo, Mark Weingarten — Dunkirk
David Parker, Michael Semanick, Ren Klyce, Stuart Wilson — Star Wars: The Last Jedi
Ron Bartlett, Doug Hemphill, Mac Ruth — Blade Runner 2049
Tim Cavagin, Julian Slater, Mary H. Ellis — Baby Driver
Christian Cooke, Glen Gauthier, Brad Zoern — The Shape of Water
Will win: Dunkirk
Could win: Baby Driver
Should win: Dunkirk
Should’ve been nominated: The Lost City of Z
Featured image via Warner Bros.