On December 21, the Academy will reveal the shortlist of 10 contenders who will be eligible to compete for a nomination for Sound, which remains a single category that combines the sound editing and sound mixing of a film. Dune easily triumphed here last year after winning at the Cinema Audio Society (CAS), the top precursor for the Oscar sound category from Bohemian Rhapsody in 2018, Ford v Ferrari in 2019 and Sound of Metal in 2020 (along with, but a bit less so, the MPSE – Motion Picture Sound Editors guild).
While we can expect the big, loud blockbusters like Top Gun: Maverick, Avatar: The Way of Water or Black Panther: Wakanda Forever to likely carve out a spot here, top Best Picture nominees that are more (non-musical) ‘drama’ than ‘action’ have a decent record of landing a spot, like 2018’s Roma and 2021’s The Power of the Dog. Is there a Best Picture contender this year that fits that bill? The music-driven TÁR could. Maybe the luxurious mixes of Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery or Bardo make it.
The Fabelmans might be that film and there’s one big reason why: Andy Nelson. The 22-time Oscar nominee and two-time winner has landed nods for seven Steven Spielberg films, including last year’s West Side Story. But here’s an even more interesting possibility with Nelson; not only is he the re-recording sound mixer on The Fabelmans, he’s also got Babylon, The Batman and Elvis; all of which are top contenders in this category. He’s been a double-nominee in a single year and single category four times before (in Sound Mixing, when it was separate) and that feels almost assured, but could he set an Oscar benchmark and get four nominations in a five-film category?
Here are my 2023 Oscar predictions in Sound for October.
1. Top Gun: Maverick (Paramount Pictures)
2. Avatar: The Way of Water (20th Century Studios)
3. Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (Marvel Studios)
4. Elvis (Warner Bros)
5. The Batman (Warner Bros)
6. The Fabelmans (Universal Pictures)
7. All Quiet on the Western Front (Netflix)
8. Babylon (Paramount Pictures)
9. Everything Everywhere All at Once (A24)
10. TÁR (Focus Features)
Other contenders (alphabetical)
The Banshees of Inisherin (Searchlight Pictures)
Bardo, Or False Chronicle of a Handful of Truths (Netflix)
Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery (Netflix)
Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio (Netflix)
I Wanna Dance with Somebody (Columbia Pictures)
Nope (Universal Pictures)
The Northman (Focus Features)
RRR (Variance Films)
Thirteen Lives (Amazon Studios)
Triangle of Sadness (NEON)
White Noise (Netflix)
The Woman King (Tri-Star)