The victory for the indie film, about a heavy metal drummer who begins to lose his hearing, was its first of the night. It came in with six nominations overall, including Ahmed for Best Actor and the film for Best Picture. The Sound victory was fitting, with sound in all its forms, including the lack of it, a crux of the story.
The award went to Nicholas Becker, Jaime Baksht, Michelle Coutollenc, Carlos Cortes and Philip Bladh, the same crew that won the predictive Cinema Audio Society honor for Best Motion Picture – Live Action earlier this year. Tonight, Ahmed announced the winner with a hint of a smirk as he showed the camera the contents of the envelope. (Check out the video above.)
“Sound of Metal received from its team so much care, love, and attention,” said Becker, speaking remotely while his four cohorts came onstage at Union Station. “[The film had] so much energy — we believe it is one of the reasons this film has been received so … beautifully. So thank you for that.”
This year marked the first for the Oscars’ newly combined category, which combines sound mixing and sound editing; the Oscar Academy made the switch in the category which, in four of the past seven years, resulted in the same winner in both races. Most recently the double was pulled off by Bohemian Rhapsody; last year, 1917 won Sound Mixing and Ford v Ferrari won Sound Editing.
The last time there was a stand-alone Best Sound category was 2002, when Chicago won.
Tonight, Sound of Metal beat out a field that included Greyhound, Mank, News of the World and Soul.
Check out the Sound of Metal sound designers’ acceptance speech above. Their backstage appearance can be viewed below.