Dune won the Oscar for Achievement in Sound, in one of Sunday’s category outcomes that had been widely predicted.
The statuette was one of eight being handed out in a non-televised series of announcements leading up to the main broadcast. While the decision to cut the categories from the main telecast has drawn a fierce backlash, the recipients’ 45-second speech did not include any mention of the controversy.
Theo Green, one of the five specialists cited by the Academy, thanked director Denis Villeneuve in edited remarks shown during the Oscar broadcast. “You, sir, were like the spice flowing through our brains, turning our humble ideas into your imaginary world.” He also thanked composer Hans Zimmer and editor Joe Walker, who also won Oscars for their work on Dune and “treated us as fellow artists. This is for you!”
The film’s Oscar win was preceded by it capturing Outstanding Sound Mixing in a Live Action Motion Picture at the Cinema Audio Society Awards on March 19. While Denis Villeneuve was not nominated for Best Director, in one of this year’s most glaring Oscar snubs, the craft work that he orchestrated has been tipped to win multiple statuettes.
The five sound specialists cited for Dune — Green, Mark Mangini, Mac Ruth, Doug Hemphill, Ron Bartlett and Mac Ruth — have 25 total Oscar nominations among them. Mangini won a statuette for his sound editing work on Mad Max: Fury Road in 2016 and Hemphill won in 1993 for The Last of the Mohicans.
Until last year, there were different Oscars given to sound mixing and sound editing. A rules change in 2020 combined them into a single category.
The sound work on Dune was among many elements of the sci-fi epic to make an impression on Academy members from the moment the film burst onto the festival scene last fall. The team working on the film spared no effort in bringing to life the desert planet Arrakis, at one point sprinkling Rice Krispies cereal onto the sand of California’s Death Valley in order to produce the proper crunch. That solution is one of thousands in the film. Of the more than 3,000 individual sound elements in the final film, just a handful were achieved with synthesizers and electronic gear.
Other sound nominees included Belfast, No Time to Die, West Side Story and The Power of the Dog.
Check out the winners’ speech above and their backstage comments below:
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