With only a week to go until the Oscars, the sound mixers of “Birdman” and “Big Hero 6” were feeling the love on Valentine’s Day as they scored motion picture mixing honors at the 51st annual Cinema Audio Society Awards.

“Birdman” won for sound mixing in a live-action film while Disney’s “Big Hero 6” picked up the award for mixing in an animated pic.

The event, held Saturday night at the Millennium Biltmore Hotel in downtown Los Angeles, also awarded prizes to “Sherlock: His Last Vow” in the TV movies and mini-series category as well as “Game of Thrones: The Children” for hourlong skein and half-hour winner “Modern Family: Australia.” “Foo Fighters Sonic Highways: Los Angeles” won nonfiction television kudos.

Following an introduction by host Doug McIntyre, who made jabs at Brian Williams and Amy Pascal as well as the lengthy nature of the ceremony, David Fluhr later reflected on his tenure as CAS president as he prepared to hand the gavel over to his successor, Mark Ulano.

Ulano, who had just flown in from Colorado, spoke about how he has developed his passion for the CAS since joining the board of directors in the early ’90s.

“It became clear to me just how significant this institution is. It is a fundamental professional bridge between the different disciplines essential to creating sounds for film and television,” Ulano recalled. “I am energized by the responsibility you have placed in my hands.”

The evening’s special distinctions were bestowed upon “Boyhood” director Richard Linklater, who received the CAS Filmmaker Award, as well as Career Achievement Award honoree David Macmillan.

Linklater was introduced by his sister, Tricia, in addition to sound mixer John Pritchett and “Interstellar” helmer Christopher Nolan. His sister cited Linklater’s patience and focus as two of his most impressive qualities, posing, “Who else could make a film over 12 years? I don’t know what I’m doing next month!”

Nolan praised Linklater’s work on “Boyhood,” noting that he admired the honoree’s ability to “trust the inherent drama of what we all live through in families.”

“That takes enormous nerve and it risks your film being overlooked, your work being ignored,” Nolan said. “But he had the courage to do that — to be subtle, to let the drama speak for itself in that simple way — and for that reason I think (‘Boyhood’) is his masterpiece.”

When he took the stage to accept his award, Linklater explained that he and Nolan were “the subject of the same experiment” in which two filmmakers are charged with making the same film.

“Our assignment was to make a film about time itself. Make a film about parents who love their children. Make a film about mortality, and a film about… the big question of what the hell we’re even doing here as humans. And you get ‘Interstellar’ and ‘Boyhood,'” Linklater said. “I think that speaks volumes for what this crazy medium we’re all so lucky to work in can do. We’re just here telling stories that mean a lot to us personally.”

Clad in a kilt, Macmillan received his prize toward the end of the night and told the audience that he originally had a different plan for breaking into the biz.

“I didn’t expect to be a sound guy. I thought if I was a camera guy I’d probably get more girls,” Macmillan explained, garnering chuckles from the crowd.

Macmillan added that he is now focused on teaching opportunities at UCLA, USC, Chapman, LMU and abroad. “I love it because I have an avenue to basically encourage people, not just about sound, but about film and what a wonderful occupation it is,” he said.

Earlier in the evening, Fluhr presented the inaugural CAS student recognition award to University of Colorado Denver student Danny Maurer.

Following the awards ceremony, guests stuck around for the after-party, complete with a photo booth and a cake modeled after a sound mixing board.


(Pictured: Richard Linklater and Christopher Nolan at the CAS Awards)


The complete list of winners:

Outstanding Achievement in Sound Mixing for a Motion Picture – Live Action: “Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)”; Production Mixer Thomas Varga; Re-recording Mixer Jon Taylor; CAS, Re-recording Mixer Frank A. Montaño; Scoring Mixer Gustavo Borner; ADR Mixer Jason Oliver; and Foley Mixer John Sanacore, CAS

Outstanding Achievement in Sound Mixing for a Motion Picture – Animated: “Big Hero 6”; Original Dialogue Mixer  Gabriel Guy, CAS; Re-recording Mixer David E. Fluhr, CAS; Re-recording Mixer Gabriel Guy, CAS; Scoring Mixer Alan Meyerson, CAS; and Foley Mixer Mary Jo Lang, CAS

Outstanding Achievement in Sound Mixing for a Television Movie or Mini-Series: “Sherlock: His Last Vow”; Production Mixer John Mooney; Re-recording Mixer Howard Bargroff; Scoring Mixer Nick Wollage; ADR Mixer Peter Gleaves; and Foley Mixer William Everett

Outstanding Achievement in Sound Mixing for Television Series – One Hour: “Game of Thrones: The Children”; Production Mixer Ronan Hill, CAS; Production Mixer Richard Dyer, CAS; Re-recording Mixer Onnalee Blank, CAS; Re-recording Mixer Mathew Waters, CAS; and Foley Mixer Brett Voss, CAS

Outstanding Achievement in Sound Mixing for Television Series – Half Hour: “Modern Family: Australia”; Production Mixer Stephen A. Tibbo, CAS; Re-recording Mixer Dean Okrand, CAS; and Re-recording Mixer Brian Harman, CAS

Outstanding Achievement in Sound Mixing for Television Non Fiction, Variety or Music – Series or Specials: “Foo Fighters Sonic Highways: Los Angeles”; Re-Recording Mixer Eddie Kim and Sound Mixer Jeff Fuller

The winners of the 11th CAS Technical Achievement Awards:

Production: Sound Devices – Dante and MADI Audio Recorder model 970

Post-Production: iZotope – RX4-Advanced