53rd Annual CAS Awards: La La Land Scores Top Sound Mixing Honors
Racking up another win on its way to the Oscars next week, La La Land took home the Cinema Audio Society Award for Outstanding Sound Mixing Motion Picture – Live Action at the 53rd annual awards. Director Damien Chazelle was on hand to support his sound mixing team of Steven Morrow, CAS, Andy Nelson, CAS, Ai Ling Lee, Nicholai Baxter, David Betancourt, and James Ashwill.
Finding Dory swam to top honors in the Motion Picture – Animated category for the sound mixing team of Doc Kane, CAS, Nathan Nance, Michael Semanick, CAS, Thomas Vicari, CAS and Scott Curtis.
This year the first ever CAS Award for Outstanding Sound Mixing Motion Picture – Documentary was garnered by The Music of Strangers: Yo-Yo Ma and The Silk Road Ensemble and the team of Dimitre Tisseyre, Dennis Hamlin and Peter Horner.
Having grown out of their previous venue, the Millennium Biltmore Hotel, the ceremony was held February 18th at the Bunker Hill Ballroom of the OMNI Los Angeles Hotel at California Plaza. Returning, as Master of Ceremonies for the Awards was comedian, actress and animal rights advocate Elayne Boosler. Trophies for Outstanding Achievement in Sound Mixing were presented in seven feature film and television categories, including the inaugural Motion Picture Documentary award.
Playing to her audience at the opening of the ceremony, Boosler welcomed the crowd with politically tinged humor commenting, “Just remember, the sound mixing is real, the movies are fake.” After the wild applause, Boosler was rewarded with riotous laughter when she added, “Also, whoever gives the best acceptance speech tonight gets to be our new national security advisor.”
Calling his associates “Stewards of Sound,” CAS president Mark Ulano recognized the achievements of the mixing community, citing Emmy and BAFTA Awards winners and Oscar nominees. He announced CAS’s new board members and paid tribute in memoriam to members lost in the past year.
Presenting production mixer John Pritchett, CAS (Memoirs of a Geisha, Road to Perdition, Magnolia, Wyatt Earp,The Player) with the CAS Career Achievement Award, two-time Golden Globe nominee Jack Black (Bernie, School of Rock) joked, “Sound mixing is a lot like plastic surgery. You only notice when it’s badly done.”
Pritchett was feted by previous CAS Career Achievement honoree, Scott Millan, CAS, in a presentation that included remarks by actor Tom Hanks. He has had successful working relationships with some of Hollywood’s most prestigious directors – Robert Altman, Lawrence Kasdan, David Mamet, Paul Thomas, Anderson, Oliver Stone and Richard Linklater.
In accepting his award, Pritchett noted, “None of us do what we do by ourselves. We all sit on some sort of little pyramid… Each of us in our own way, we sit on our own pyramid of support, people who help us do what we do. I cannot accentuate enough the fact that we as sound mixers rely so much on those who help – our boom operators, our utility people.”
Writer/Actor/Producer Seth MacFarlane was on hand to present Emmy Award nominated multi-hyphenate filmmaker Jon Favreau (The Jungle Book, Chef, Cowboys & Aliens, Iron Man, Iron Man 2) with the 12th CAS Filmmaker Award. The presentation included remarks by Ulano and Academy Award nominated and Emmy Award winning composer John Debney (Sin City, Iron Man 2). Videotaped congratulations from Stan Lee and Ed Asner rounded out the tribute.
Debney concluded his comments on a personal note, “There is no greater joy for a composer than being on a scoring stage, in front of the finest musicians in the world, creating music for an appreciative and collaborative director… Jon, thank you for the ongoing adventures and for giving this humble composer a chance to write music from my soul. To be a small part of your universe has been the honor of my career.”
Having started his career in the entertainment industry as an actor, Favreau moved into working both sides of the camera as an actor, writer, director and producer. In accepting his CAS award, Favreau observed, “This is really wonderful. It’s not lost on me that I’m the only guy being honored tonight that’s not in your trade. That’s a big deal. It really means a lot to me that those of you who work with me didn’t veto this award.” He also stated that mixing is, “An invisible art, because by definition, you can’t see it, so people under value it,” but shared that he had learned from a young age the value of all aspects of sound in filmmaking.
The sound mixing team of The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story took top honors for Television Movie or Mini-Series. Television-One Hour honors went to Game of Thrones: Battle of the Bastards, while Modern Family: The Storm won the award for Television Series-Half Hour. Grease Live! won for Television Non-Fiction, Variety or Music Series or Specials.
The Technical Achievement Awards, revamped this year as the Outstanding Product Awards, went to Cedar Audio for their Cedar DNS2 Dynamic Noise Suppression Unit and McDSP for their post production SA-2 Dialog Processor.
In its third year, the CAS Student Recognition Award, created to launch the careers of students aspiring to move into the field of sound mixing, was presented to Chapman University’s Wenrui “Sam” Fan.
Celebrity presenters for the CAS Awards included: Nancy Cartwright (The Simpsons), Robert Forster (Jackie Brown), Janina Gavankar (FOX’s Sleepy Hollow), Clyde Kusatsu (SAG/AFTRA vice-president, Madame Secretary), Rhea Seehorn (AMC’s Better Call Saul), Angela Sarafyan (HBO’s Westworld) and Nondumiso Tembe (History Channel’s Six).
Complete List of CAS Winners:
MOTION PICTURE—LIVE ACTION
La La Land
Production Mixer – Steven Morrow, CAS
Re-recording Mixer – Andy Nelson, CAS
Re-recording Mixer – Ai-Ling Lee
Scoring Mixer – Nicholai Baxter
ADR Mixer – David Betancourt
Foley Mixer – James Ashwill
Original Dialogue Mixer – Doc Kane, CAS
Re-recording Mixer – Nathan Nance
Re-recording Mixer – Michael Semanick, CAS
Scoring Mixer – Thomas Vicari, CAS
Foley Mixer – Scott Curtis
The Music of Strangers: Yo-Yo Ma and The Silk Road Ensemble
Production Mixer – Dimitri Tisseyre
Production Mixer – Dennis Hamlin
Re-recording Mixer – Peter Horner
TELEVISION MOVIE or MINI-SERIES
The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story
Production Mixer – John Bauman
Re-recording Mixer –Joe Earle, CAS
Re-recording Mixer – Doug Andham, CAS
ADR Mixer – Judah Getz
Foley Mixer –John Guentner
TELEVISION SERIES—1 HOUR
Game of Thrones: Battle of the Bastards
Production Mixer – Ronan Hill, CAS
Production Mixer – Richard Dyer, CAS
Re-recording Mixer – Onnalee Blank, CAS
Re-recording Mixer – Mathew Waters, CAS
Foley Mixer – Brett Voss, CAS
TELEVISION SERIES—1/2 HOUR
Modern Family: The Storm
Production Mixer – Stephen A. Tibbo, CAS
Re-recording Mixer – Dean Okrand, CAS
Re-recording Mixer – Brian R. Harman, CAS
TELEVISION NON-FICTION, VARIETY or MUSIC SERIES or SPECIALS
Production Mixer – J. Mark King
Music Mixer – Biff Dawes
Playback and SFX Mixer – Eric Johnston
Protools Playback Music Mixer – Pablo Munguía
CEDAR DNS2 Dynamic Noise Suppression Unit
Manufacturer: Cedar Audio
SA-2 Dialog Processor
STUDENT RECOGNITION AWARD
Wenrui “Sam” Fan
Chapman University – Orange, CA