Cinema Audio Society Responds to Academy's Decision to Merge Oscars' Sound Categories

"Our overall hope is that this most recent evolution of the Academy will serve to elevate the importance of cinema sound," said CAS president Karol Urban.
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Cinema Audio Society president Karol Urban

The Cinema Audio Society — the group that represents Hollywood's sound mixing community — on Tuesday responded to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences' decision to merge the Oscars for sound editing and sound mixing into a single category, best achievement in sound, starting with next year's 93rd Academy Awards.

"We understand this decision came about after careful debate and consideration by the sound branch," said CAS president Karol Urban, speaking on behalf of the society in a released statement. "While points of concern exist, the Cinema Audio Society respects and supports efforts to unify recognition of both sound mixing and sound editorial as a highly aligned team of creatives that are integral to a film’s success."

"Our overall hope is that this most recent evolution of the Academy will serve to elevate the importance of cinema sound to the public and underscore the importance of collaboration within the art of filmmaking," added Urban, who is also a longtime member of the Motion Picture Sound Editors, the society for the sound editing community.

Since 2010, the sound editing and sound mixing Oscars were awarded to the same film six times. Four times they were not, including this year when Ford v Ferrari won the Academy Award for sound editing and 1917 grabbed the Oscar for sound mixing.

Within the sound branch membership, there are varying views on the notion of merging these categories, with some members supporting the idea and others opposed to such a change.

Sound branch governors emailed branch members prior to the Academy's announcement on Tuesday, giving them a heads up on the change. They said that, based on outreach they made on Dec. 4 and Feb. 6, "a majority of the responses indicated that, as a whole, our branch felt it was time to take this significant step." They also added that subsequent to that, "This was the unanimous decision reached by a joint meeting of the Sound Branch Executive committee and its Rules Committee."

According to the Academy, the decision reflects a "team effort," and the number of potential Oscar statuettes remains the same; up to six statuettes may be awarded. Eligible recipients may include one production sound mixer, two supervising sound editors and three rerecording mixers.