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Sound ‘bake-off’ muted

Acad's sound editing branch takes a more democratic approach

Members of the Academy’s sound editing branch found themselves in new nominating waters this year, as the annual “bake-off” was eliminated and nominations were made by preferential ballots.

The “bake-off,” still used by the visual effects and song branches, had been a tradition of the sound branch for 25 years. One of the reasons for the change, believes the Academy’s awards administration director Rich Miller, was that members wanted “films to be nominated based on the entire film, and not just on a 10-minute reel.”

The question floating around sound circles is whether the quality of nominations will suffer, but Richard Lightstone, outgoing president of the Cinema Audio Society, believes the process will be improved. “It opens it up so that more people will be able to help decide the nominating process.”

Indeed, Lightstone believes the choices made this year are practically identical to what would have occurred had there been a “bake-off.” As for the future, he doesn’t believe there will be a huge change.

“There might be one oddball out of the five that is nominated every year,” he says, “but I think it will make it more democratic.”

The governors’ meeting to determine the rules for next year will take place in May, but Miller says he has heard nothing to lead him to believe the “bake-off” will be returning.

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