Every year, in the first week of February, the members of the Sound Branch of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences gather at the Academy Theater in Beverly Hills for the Bake-Off. After cocktails and dinner at nearby Kate Mantilini, as many as 150 of the top sound editors, designers and mixers walk a short block to the world's premier theater, settle into the center section (non-voting guests take the sides) and cast their votes for the year's best in motion picture sound editing.
The process actually begins at the end of December, when members of the Sound Branch are polled on the year's best in sound editing. (The award was changed this year from Achievement in Sound Effects Editing to Achievement in Sound Editing.) The votes are tallied in early January, and seven films are selected for the Bake-Off.
At the Academy Theater, each supervising sound editor is allotted time for a 10-minute reel. It can be edited from the finished film in whatever manner best shows off the intent of the sound editing — though the audio cannot be retouched.
The order in which the films are played back is chosen by lottery. At the end of the evening, voting members give each film a score and cast their ballots. Figures are totaled, and up to three films are then nominated for the Best Sound Editing Oscar. (If only one film receives high enough marks, then it is recommended for a Special Oscar.)
Here, then, are the seven films that were shown at the Bake-Off a few weeks ago. As Mix went to press, the Academy announced the nominees. Two films from the Bake-Off received the required 8.5 score. They are Monsters, Inc. and Pearl Harbor. Congratulations to all the supervisors and their crews.
Gérard Hardy (sound editor)
A.I. ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE
Richard Hymns (supervising sound editor), Gary Rydstrom (sound designer and supervising sound editor)
BLACK HAWK DOWN
Per Hallberg, Karen M. Baker (supervising sound editors)
THE FAST AND THE FURIOUS
Bruce Stambler, Jay Nierenberg (sound design and supervision)
LORD OF THE RINGS: THE FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING
New Line Cinema
Mike Hopkins, Ethan Van der Ryn (supervising sound editors)
Gary Rydstrom (sound design and supervision), Michael Silvers (supervising sound editor)
George Watters II (supervising sound editor), Chris Boyes (sound design and supervision)