Oscars Snub “Interstellar” In Sound Categories And It’s Not Okay


This past weekend, an academy of aged white men told us which movies they liked best, and for some reason we all cared.

Look, I like an award show as much as the next guy. Actually, no. I really hate award shows. And the Oscars are no exception. Forgive me, but boiling an art form down to a room full of celebrities patting themselves on the back for how awesome they are rubs me the wrong way. To me, the self-congratulatory nature of award shows like the Oscars feels a little too obnoxious and unnecessary. But people put weight on these things, and on the Oscars more than any other award show.

For some reason, film is the art that is most heavily geared toward the retrospective award show. When a new album is released, no one wonders, “Will it be Grammy-worthy?”

The Oscars carry a lot of weight in the film industry, and people in the industry care a lot about the recognition that an Oscar brings. And so it is in this context that I bring you: rage.

For, you see, there exists a travesty which can go no longer unnoticed.

Interstellar, Christopher Nolan’s latest film, his most ambitious undertaking, one of my top three films of 2014, and in my opinion, a masterpiece, was nominated in the categories of, among other things, Sound Mixing and Sound Editing. These nominations, I felt, were well deserved.

Interstellar‘s magic lives in its sound design. The visuals were incredible, yes, but they are by no means the film’s biggest triumph. When a film takes place in outer space, there are two things it needs to get absolutely right: the physics of motion – especially changes in gravity – and sound. Sounds do not behave the same way in space as they do on earth. This is what loses the Star Wars films the bulk of their sci-fi points. Those lasers and engines shouldn’t be making that kind of noise.

A lot of people actually complained about Interstellar‘s sound when it first premiered. The main issue was that they couldn’t hear all of the dialogue. And that’s true. But it’s intentional. In some places, the dialogue is mixed under the other sound effects. This was an important choice, and ultimately the right one, because it serves the most important driving force behind Interstellar as a whole: its realism.

You don’t write your entire script with an astrophysicist if you don’t care about realism. And that’s what made Interstellar special. It portrayed space and space travel as they truly are (or will be some day).

This is why I find it so offensive that Interstellar was passed up for the Sound Editing and Sound Mixing awards. This is why, despite my immense distaste for celebrity culture, this snub fills me with such ire. The Oscars are, on a deeper cultural level, about recognition. They’re about letting the world, the viewing public, who did what best in their art form. And I feel those who deserved that recognition most, who earned this year’s titles of Best Sound Mixing and Best Sound Editing, were unfairly ignored. So I choose to recognize them in my own little way, on my own little blog.

Truthfully, at the end of the day, this is just my opinion. But I feel very strongly about this. I loved Interstellar a lot. It really resonated with me. As if you couldn’t tell. So to see it lost both awards was a major bummer.

On the other hand, Birdman won Best Picture, and Alejandro González Iñárritu won Best Director. So I’m pretty stoked about that.

— Mike Egan, Film Blogger

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