The Oscars ceremony is almost here, and the eyes of millions will be on Hollywood as it honors the year’s best in films Sunday. There are 24 categories featured during the 88th Academy Awards presentation, but some of them may confuse fans watching the telecast of the show. One of the most common areas of confusion centers on the difference between the award for best sound editing and the award for best sound mixing.
The nominees in the two confounding categories frequently overlap, but there is a distinction to be drawn between the two awards. Sound editing refers to the creation of all the sound elements, besides music, in a movie. These include sound effects, dialogue recorded on the set and automated dialogue replacement. In contrast, sound mixing refers to the combination necessary to achieve the proper balance between dialogue, music, sound effects and any other aural elements.
“One way of thinking about it is kind of like an orchestra, where you’ll have the composer composing the symphony and then a conductor saying, ‘More flutes here,’ and that’s very much what mixing is — it’s like conducting,” sound editor Erik Aadahl told Deadline in 2013.
This might explain why, in 2016, “Bridge of Spies,” a film with marvelous sound mixing, but few elements that were not recorded live on set, is nominated for best sound mixing, but not best sound editing. This also might explain why “Sicario,” a movie featuring many sound effects in its visceral combat scenes, is nominated for best sound editing, but not best sound mixing.
This year, the films “Mad Max: Fury Road,” “The Martian,” “The Revenant” and “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” are nominated in both categories.
Last year, “Whiplash” earned the award for best sound mixing, while “American Sniper” won the award for best sound editing.
Who will win the coveted awards in 2016? Fans will have to watch the Academy Awards presentation on ABC Sunday to find out. The Oscars show will begin at 8:30 p.m. EST, with red-carpet coverage starting at 5 p.m. EST.