Sound editors united at the 61st MPSE Golden Reel Awards on Feb. 16 with "Star Wars" creator George Lucas dubbing them "the backs on which the entire film industry rests."
Lucas was there to present longtime friend and director of sound design at Skywalker Sound, Randy Thom, with the MPSE career achievement award.
"Epic," beating out "Frozen" for best sound and music editing in animation. "I wasn't ready to be nervous yet," he said.
Thom has been nominated for 14 Oscars, an Emmy, a Grammy, and has won two Academy Awards for "The Incredibles" and "The Right Stuff."
Lucas used to call Thom the "sound Buddha" because for the first 10 years working together Lucas never heard him say anything. "[Thom] just adds things in without having to question everything," Lucas said.
Thom returned the praise and said seeing and hearing the first "Star Wars" rearranged his chromosomes and he was never quite the same after that.
Director Jon M. Chu and actress Julia Parker presented best sound and music editing in TV/feature animations and documentary.
Chu received laughs from the crowd after thanking the sound editors for their part in his own films. "Thank you for everything, from even the "Step Up" movies that I made. We made our dance numbers enormous, ninja fights out of this world, and Justin Bieber sound like an angel. If you can do that, you deserve an award."
"Gravity", "Frozen" and "Captain Phillips" took home top awards in feature film, along with "The Great Gatsby" for best sound editing of music.
"Captain Phillips" won best editing for dialogue and ADR, "Gravity" for best sound effects and Foley and "Frozen" received best music in a musical feature.
On the TV side. "Game of Thrones" took home nods for best sound editing in short form music and dialogue/ADR.
Another highlight of the show came when Navid Negahban, better known as "Homeland's" most infamous terrorist Abu Nazir, came to the stage with Mark Lanza as hostage.
"Do you see how important the sound is? Do you, do you!? Are you sure?!" yelled Negahban. Lanza, with his hands tied and mouth duct taped, responded, "Sound is definitely the most important thing."
The two presented the awards to both "The Grandmaster" and "The Past," who tied for best sound and music editing in foreign language.
Director Steven Spielberg made an appearance during the night via pre-recorded video to honor the late Charles L. Campbell, a past president of the MPSE.
Throughout the night there were some technical difficulties with playback of nominee clips. The only video montage that seemed to run smoothly was the Ray Dolby tribute. His eldest son even took notice. "Dad, thank you for making the sound work in the last video."
As for the future of sound, Lucas believes the industry has made a lot of transitions to make it better and will continue to make advances. "There's more that can be done that will probably be more visceral sounds, but you have to change the seats in the theater," he said. "And they have also sound now with lasers that can pinpoint you in an audience and give you a special soundtrack."
And for Thom, some parts remain in the past regardless of technology. "I think the most important parts of doing sound for movies hasn't changed very much. It's about collaboration and trying things until you find a way that sound can make a statement about who the characters are and the world that they live in."
The Golden Reel Awards were held at the Bonaventure Hotel in Los Angeles.
MPSE Golden Reel Awards: 'Captain Phillips,' 'Gravity,' 'The Great Gatsby' Win Sound Editors Awards
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