In all the hubbub about Kevin O’Connell’s 20th nomination (well, actually, more like the residual hubbub about his 19th nomination last year that many presumed wouldn’t have to carry over to this year), no one has brought up the fact that the sound mixer’s co-nominee for Transformers, Greg P. Russell, has 12 winless nominations under his belt as well, and has in fact been nominated nearly every year since his work on 1996’s The Rock. That no one ever brings up Russell’s name when discussing what has been sold as the greatest Oscar injustice since Richard Burton or Peter O’Toole lost on their respective seventh and eighth times at bat suggests what the O’Connell buzz really boils down to: PR. If the Sound Editing category is more forgiving of bluster, Sound Mixing favors subtler textures—or at least a surfeit of musical numbers. In the absence of the live instruments that helped Dreamgirls hand O’Connell his 19th loss, we have to admit O’Connell’s odds likely haven’t been this good since the year his nominations for both The Rock and Twister were edged by, um, the tasteful, subtle, Best Picture-nominated textures of The English Patient. Déjà vu. This year’s slate also contains a sole Best Picture nominee, one whose spare but surprisingly inventive sound (inspired by Robert Bresson, not that I imagine most voters would give a shit) also just won the award from the Cinema Audio Society. While it’s true the CAS-to-Oscar track record isn’t quite as solid as either the DGA or SAG, it should be noted that O’Connell hasn’t won a CAS either. And with some of the action-addict votes undoubtedly being siphoned away by The Bourne Ultimatum, we preemptively wish him the best with nomination number 21.
Will Win: No Country for Old Men
Should Win: No Country for Old Men
This blog entry was originally published on Slant Magazine on the date above.