Last year my nominees for Best Sound Editing were five completely different films than my nominees for Best Sound Mixing, but as much as I do wish I could similarly spread the wealth this year, there were a couple of films whose sound elements simply could not be denied recognition in both categories.
All Is Lost (Steve Boeddeker, Richard Hymns)
With so little usable production audio, Boeddeker and Hymns had the gargantuan task of creating virtually every sound effect from scratch. The details are understated but essential to communicating the isolation of Our Man and the threatening nature of the ocean.
The Conjuring (Joe Dzuban)
A big part of the character that haunted house has is due to the ominous aural environment that Dzuban crafts with eerie subtlety. The creepy creak of a swinging rope or the fervent whisperings of departed spirits help to raise our hairs in anticipation of the jump scares that follow.
Gravity (Glenn Freemantle)
Freemantle's gripping sound design is as essential to Cuaron's vision as the imagery
on display, daring to accentuate the jaw-dropping moments with
disquieting silence where a typical blockbuster would have gone with
noise, yet you can practically feel the low frequency rumble of those explosions and crashes.
Lone Survivor (Wylie Stateman)
Not unlike what he brought to films like Wanted or Django Unchained, Stateman's standout contribution to this intense actioner is not simply in the authenticity of the weapon and gear sound effects, but in altering and embellishing them for slow motion shots. That's becoming something of a specialty for him, I'm finding.
Star Trek Into Darkness (Ben Burtt, Matthew Wood, Will Files)
Sci-fi sound designing legend Ben Burtt & co. devise even more inventive sounds for the technologies of J.J Abrams' reimagined Star Trek universe. Although the film's narrative elements haven't aged well for me, it's still a thrill ride with a fittingly bombastic sonic signature.
Elysium (Craig Berkey, David Whitehead)
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (Brent Burge, Chris Ward)
Man of Steel (Eric A. Norris, Scott Hecker)
Pacific Rim (Scott Martin Gershin, Tim Walston)
Rush (Frank Kruse, Martin Steyer, Danny Hambrook)