I have to laugh just the slightest bit with “Interstellar” getting nominated for Best Sound Mixing, when, after the first few weeks of the film’s release, one of the biggest stories in the Hollywood news was the complaint from several audiences about the film’s sound and bombastic mix. Later approved by director Christopher Nolan, apparently these audience’s ears were a little too sensitive, but nonetheless, it begs the question how well this film is actually mixed. Having originally seen “Interstellar” in IMAX, I can tell you, it is almost impossible to determine the success of the mix through those enormous sound systems. Obviously it was impressive, but I cannot recall any moments that stood out in terms of the mix. So, my viewing of the film for the Oscar Challenge hit a slight snag in regards to this category. Having almost reached the end of the film’s run in theaters, it landed at a smaller screen in an AMC theater were unfortunately one of the speakers was blown out. So at certain epic moments in the film, it would completely cut out or crackle.
If anything, this just goes to show the importance of sound mixing. How and where sounds are coming from can make or break certain moments. Just as the rises and swells of a score, the sound mixing helps the film during its peaks and valleys. It can raise certain sequences up and highlight certain movements or actions, or it can bury certain sounds or find creative ways to display that sound. A mix can ruin scenes by burying dialogue or not capitalizing on certain epic scenes. “Interstellar,” however, appeared to nail most of the moments it was presented. The overwhelming nature of being in a spaceship and taking off, or passing through a wormhole felt like a once in a lifetime event. The thing I appreciated most about the mix was that the mixers were willing to push the envelope. They were willing to push certain moments to a speakers breaking point and that right there, the ability to try something new and push boundaries, is likely what sent a hand full of audiences running to theater owners, telling them to turn it down.
The sound mixers for “Interstellar” are Gary A. Rizzo, Gregg Landaker and Mark Weingarten, all of whom have been nominated before. Rizzo won for Nolan’s “Inception” (2010) and Landaker has previously won three times, yet has not been nominated since 2000.
What’s its competition? Again, without numbers to back me up, I do feel winning Best Visual Effects sometimes has a hand in whether the film wins Best Sound Mixing. And with “Interstellar” looking promising in that category, it would be no surprise for it to take mixing. And again, without that comparison drawn to Visual Effects, the winner of this category could also end up leaning in the direction of box office marvel “American Sniper,” as its popularity rises and it looks for a win wherever it can.
// Produced by Emma Thomas, Christopher Nolan, and Lynda Obst // Directed by Christopher Nolan //
// Dated Viewed: Saturday, January 24th, 2015 // AMC Citywalk // 36 films – 30 days //