Pics earn kudos for sound mixing

“Les Miserables” and “Brave” took top movie honors for sound mixing as the Cinema Audio Society presented its 49th annual awards Saturday night.

“Les Mis” won for Mixing for a Motion Picture – Live Action and “Brave” won for Mixing in a Motion Picture – Animated. The latter category is new this year.

Event at the Millennium Biltmore Hotel in downtown L.A. also saw “Hatfields & McCoys” and “Homeland” (episode “Beirut is Back”) accrue yet more kudos, taking honors for TV movie or mini and hourlong series, respectively. “Modern Family” (episode “Disneyland”) was top among halfhour series and the 2012 Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony took nonfiction, variety or music series or specials honors.

Two competitive technical awards were also presented: The production tech award went to Sound Devices’ 664 Field Production Mixer with Recorder. Dolby’s Atmos sound system & format took the post-production tech award — edging out its rival, Barco’s Auro 11.1 system. The two systems are in a nascent format war.

The Ceremony in the Biltmore’s Crystal Ballroom featured mixer Willie Burton and Anne Hathaway presenting Jonathan Demme with the org’s Filmmaker Award, then Demme and mixer Tom Fleischman presenting the Career Achievement Award to Demme’s frequent collaborator, Chris Newman.

Hathaway delivered an impassioned tribute to her “Rachel Getting Married” director Demme, saying “You learn to appreciate when he calls you to say he loved you in a film, because he’ll also call you to say he walked out on your performance.”

She thanked Demme also for “making (the world) a more hopeful, alive, enlightened, and yes, musical place to live.”

Demme spoke only briefly accepting his own award but spoke longer presenting kudos to Newman, whose credits include some of the most iconic films of the last half century, including “The Godfather,” “The French Connection,” “The Exorcist,” “The English Patient” and “Amadeus,” as well as several of Demme’s features.

Demmie recalled starting his career in New York and asking for the best sound mixer, and Newman’s name kept coming up. “But the fact you were terrifying to work with also came up,” said Demme to Newman. After several films, he approached Newman for a meeting, Demme recounted, and Newman challenged him to try to make a movie with no ADR, only production sound. “Over four pictures, we had less and less until I think we finally didn’t have any,” said Demme.

“Chris is a brilliant genius who for some reason chose sound as his life’s work,” said Demme. Newman was also celebrating his birthday and birthday cake was served at the Dolby-sponsored after-party in the Tiffany room. It was also the birthday of MC Sam Rubin, KTLA’s “entertainment guru.”

After Dolby Atmos won tech honors Rubin joked “Dolby wins and Dolby’s sponsoring the after-party?” Waving his hands in mock dismay, he assured the audience “It’s all very above-board. There are accountants.” That prompted the next presenter, CAS prexy David Fluhr to riposte “Yes, there are accountants.”

Four thesps presented competitive kudos: Carolyn Hennessy, Rico Rodriguez, Lorraine Toussaint and Frances Fisher. Each was asked to speak about sound. Hennessy, wearing a skimpy gold dress with iridescent studs that she herself compared with a disco ball, joked about how the reaction to her dress was like the work of a good sound man, down to “the low hum” it provoked. Toussaint teased there was “just one problem” with being asked to tell funny stories about sound men: “Sound guys aren’t funny.”

Other winners:

Outstanding Achievement in Sound Mixing for a Television Movie or Mini-Series:

HATFIELDS & McCOYS and the Sound Mixing Team of Production Mixer Dragos Stanomir, Re-recording Mixers Christian Cooke and Brad Zoern, Scoring Mixer Jeffrey A. Vaughn, CAS, ADR Mixer Eric Apps and Foley Mixer Peter Persaud.

Outstanding Achievement in Sound Mixing for Television Series — One Hour:

HOMELAND: Beirut is Back and the Sound Mixing Team of Production Mixer Larry Long, Re-recording Mixers Nello Torri, CAS and Alan M. Decker, CAS, ADR Mixer Paul Drenning and Foley Mixer Shawn Kennelly.

Outstanding Achievement in Sound Mixing for Television Series — Half Hour:

MODERN FAMILY: Disneyland and the Sound Mixing Team of Production Mixer Stephen A. Tibbo, CAS and Re-recording Mixers Dean Okrand and Brian R. Harman, CAS.

Outstanding Achievement in Sound Mixing for Television Non Fiction, Variety or Music — Series or Specials:

THE 2012 ROCK & ROCK HALL OF FAME INDUCTION CEREMONY and the Sound Mixing Team of Re-recording Mixers Brian Riordan, CAS and Jamie Ledner.

The winners of the CAS Technical Achievement Awards:

PRODUCTION: SOUND DEVICES — 664 Field Production Mixer with Recorder

POST-PRODUCTION: DOLBY® – Atmos

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