The sound mixing community was in a party mood for the 41st Annual Cinema Audio Society Awards Banquet on February 19 at the Biltmore Hotel in Los Angeles, where sound mixers from film and television were recognized for their outstanding work in 2004.The night’s celebrations kicked off with a lively cocktail party, followed by dinner and a well-timed and not over-long awards segment, marred only by poor audio/visuals.As it does each year, CAS began by recognizing the work of last year’s Emmy-winning and Academy Award-nominated sound mixers before launching into the awards proper.The night’s big winners were rerecording mixer Tom Fleischman, CAS and production mixer Petur Hliddal, for their work on the Howard Hughes biopic The Aviator. Audio manufacturer Lectrosonics was awarded the first CAS Technical Achievement Award for its Digital Hybrid Wireless 400 Series, which has revolutionized on-set recording. Winners in the television categories were the mix crews from Deadwood, The Life and Death of Peter Sellers and Carnegie Hall Opening Night 2004.The 400-strong society, whose members include production and postproduction mixers, awarded its annual career achievement award to production sound mixer Willie Burton, CAS, whose long list of credits includes The Buddy Holly Story, War Games, Altered States, The Shawshank Redemption, The Green Mile, The Color Purple, Lethal Weapon 2, Antwone Fisher and most recently, Constantine, XXX: State of the Union and Jarhead.Among the luminaries paying tribute to Burton on stage and on taped messages were former business agent of Local 695 Jack Coffey (who stuck his neck out for Burton early in his career, nominating him as the first black member of a Hollywood Local), Bur-ton’s assistant of over 30 years, Marvin Lewis, and actors and directors Sidney Poitier, Levar Burton, Oprah Winfrey, Morgan Freeman and David Fincher. The latter showed a baseball cap he and Burton share and wear on set emblazoned “Shut up, please,” the perfect insider joke for the assembled group. Burton’s most heartfelt thanks went to Lewis, his long-time boom operator, and to others from his crew.The winners:Outstanding Achievement in Sound Mixing for a Motion PictureThe Aviator – Rerecording mixer Tom Fleischman, CAS; production mixer Petur HliddalOutstanding Achievement in Sound Mixing for a Television Movie of the Week or Mini-SeriesThe Life and Death Of Peter Sellers – Rerecording mixers Rick Ash, Adam Jenkins; production mixer Simon Kaye CASOutstanding Achievement in Sound Mixing for a Television SeriesDeadwood “Deadwood” – Rerecording mixers Rusty Smith, CAS, William Freesh; production mixer Geoffrey Patterson, CASOutstanding Achievement in Sound Mixing for Television: Non-Fiction, Variety or Music SeriesCarnegie Hall Opening Night 2004 – Rerecording mixer Ken Hahn, CAS; audio mixers David Hewitt, CAS, Jay SaksPrice of Valet Parking: $13.50 valet with validation.Alcohol: Cocktails/wine $7.50; $4.25 beer; wine at table $23–$55 a bottle.Quality of Alcohol: AcceptableFood: Delicious hors d’oeuvres at cocktail hour; spinach salad, filet mignon and salmon, and sumptious white chocolate cheesecake was the main fare.Quality of Food: Very good.Attire: Black tie optional.Show Length: 2 hours.Host: Comedian Gary Kroeger.Best Quote of the Night: Film sound mixer Kevin O’Connell (famous for his 17 Oscar nominations and not one single Academy or guild win) on opening the envelope to present the award for Best Television Series “Oh my God, I can’t believe I finally won!”Swag: A bag of swag included baseball cap, pen, calendar and key rings donated by sponsors; beautiful table decorations free for the taking.Attendance: 300Venue: The lovingly restored Biltmore Hotel, downtown. After Party: The Biltmore bar was hopping.Biggest Disappointment: Terrible visuals made worse by technical hitches.
Written by Sam Molineaux