Oscars 2020: Picture and Sound Editors and Mixers Speak Out on Their Nominations

Michael Minkler, left, with his son Christian, both 2020 Oscar nominees for Sound Mixing on "Once Upon a Time in Hollywood." Courtesy Christian Minkler.

As usual, members of Local 700 dominated the picture and sound editing nominations for the 95th Oscars, which will be telecast live on ABC this Sunday.

Film and sound editors are part of the Academy’s 17 branches, each of which votes for nominees in their respective categories. All voting members are eligible to vote for Best Picture nominees.

CineMontage congratulates all the MPEG members on their nominations and invited them to offer thoughts on the honor.

FILM EDITING

Jeff Groth/”Joker”

“From the first time reading the script to Joaquin’s remarkable performance to the mastery of [director] Todd Phillips, ‘Joker’ has been an incomparable and moving experience, a dream come true,” Groth said. “Having that celebrated with a nomination, particularly on THIS film which is so close to all of us, means everything. I truly thought of nothing but this movie for an entire year and threw myself into it without reserve. While I think it is impossible to judge the scope of what editing is solely on the basis of a finished picture, I am beyond grateful that the hard work and passion that went into ‘Joker’ can be felt on the screen and has been recognized by the Academy.”

Thelma Schoonmaker, ACE/”The Irishman”

Martin Scorsese’s mob epic about the relationship between a mob fixer (Robert De Niro) and labor leader Jimmy Hoffa (Al Pacino) has drawn plaudits for the director and his longtime editor. “It’s a very personal film for Marty,” Schoonmaker told CineMontage in December. “When you
think about the three major actors, Marty and me, we are older. There’s an incredibly deep sense about the end of life in this movie.”

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Michael McCusker, ACE; Andrew Buckland/”Ford v Ferrari”

Tom Eagles/”Jojo Rabbit”

SOUND EDITING

Wylie Stateman, MPSE/”Once Upon a Time in Hollywood”

“Many before have said filmmaking takes a village. I would also say it takes broad curiosity, a strong commitment to an elusive cause, and endless attention to detail by a committed team of artists and artisans. Our team on ’Once Upon a Time in Hollywood’ was led by Fred Raskin, a master in all of the above. If I we’re granted one wish in terms of the outcome of ‘Once Upon a Time In Hollywood,’ it would be to see Fred honored with our team for his contributions as our editor-in-chief.”

Don Sylvester/”Ford v Ferrari”

Alan Robert Murray/”Joker”

Matthew Wood; David Acord/”Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker”

”It is such an amazing honor to be recognized by your peers for your work. Our Skywalker Sound team worked incredibly hard on this film, thank you first and foremost to them, as always this is a group effort. Congratulations to all of the nominees, this is an amazing group of professionals with which to be associated.” – David Acord and Matthew Wood

SOUND MIXING

Michael Minkler and Christian P. Minkler/”Once Upon a Time in Hollywood”

Quentin Tarantino’s love letter to 1960s Hollywood wowed critics and audiences with its technical mastery. “It goes without saying that it’s an incredible honor just to be recognized with all the other talented nominees, whom I hold in the highest regard and admiration. But for me personally, this acknowledgment is much more than just my first nomination,” Christian Minkler told CineMontage. “ It marks a legendary, historical moment in time, that I am beyond ecstatic about because I am sharing it with my father. This must be one of the few, if not the only time in the Academy’s history, that a father and son have been recognized together in the same category for their craft. I feel beyond blessed to be nominated as part of the incredible film making team assembled by Quentin Tarantino to bring ‘Once Upon a Time in Hollywood’ to the screen this year.”

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Gary Rydstrom and Tom Johnson/”Ad Astra”

James Gray’s space epic with Brad Pitt drew nods for its impressive craft. “I’ve had the great pleasure and joy to work with James Gray on many occasions,” Johnson said. “James not only understands, but also appreciates, the power of sound. Thanks to his guidance, and the work of an incredibly dedicated and talented crew, we were able to make a significant contribution to the overall experience which is ‘Ad Astra.’ I am so grateful and humbled that our work has been recognized by our fellow members in the Academy.”

Paul Massey and David Giammarco/”Ford v Ferrari”

“It’s a tremendous honor that my sound branch peers thought the work on this film was worthy of Academy recognition. I’m grateful to Jim Mangold, a gifted director, who inspired our passionate and creative sound team to collaborate on a film that is a contender for the Best Picture of 2020. I’ve loved cars since I was a kid and working on ‘Ford v Ferrari’ was an absolute thrill.” — Giammarco

Tom Ozanich, MPSE, and Dean Zupancic/”Joker”

“The track for ‘Joker’ is like Arthur’s psychosis. It’s complex, bold, and disturbing when it needs to be. I am honored and elated with gratitude
to the Sound branch of the Academy for recognizing our work as one of the five best sound movies this past year. Congratulations to my partners
and crew and congratulations to all the nominees for their incredible work.” — Zupancic

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