‘Dunkirk’ Wins Top Sound Mixing Prize at CAS Awards

“Dunkirk” has been honored for the best sound mixing in a live-action film by the Cinema Audio Society, which presented its 2018 CAS Awards at the Omni Los Angeles Hotel.

It won in a category in which four of the five nominees – “Dunkirk,” “Baby Driver,” “The Shape of Water” and “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” – are also Oscar nominees for sound mixing. CAS Awards voters also nominated “Wonder Woman,” while the Oscars’ sound branch went for “Blade Runner 2049” as its fifth nominee.

On Feb. 18, the other group that honors sound in film, the Motion Picture Sound Editors, gave “Blade Runner” its top award at the Golden Reel Awards.

In the first 24 years the CAS handed out awards, its winner has gone on to receive the Oscar for sound mixing exactly half the time. Only once, with “Whiplash,” has the Oscar gone to a film not even nominated at the CAS Awards.

Also Read: ‘Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri’ Dominates BAFTA Awards (Complete List of Winners)

Two films that have won the majority of guild honors in their fields won again at the CAS Awards: Lee Unkrich’s animated feature “Coco” and Brett Morgen’s documentary “Jane.”

Television awards went to “Black Mirror,” “Silicon Valley,” “Game of Thrones” and “Rolling Stone: Stories From the Edge.”

Also at the ceremony, “Darkest Hour” director Joe Wright received the CAS Filmmaker Award, Anna Behlmer received the Career Achievement Award and Tomlinson Holman received the Edward J. Greene Award.

Also Read: ‘Blade Runner 2049,’ ‘War for the Planet of the Apes’ Sound Best to Motion Picture Sound Editors

The CAS Awards winners:

Motion Picture – Live Action: “Dunkirk”
Motion Picture – Animated: “Coco”
Motion Picture – Documentary: “Jane”

Television Movie or Mini-Series: “Black Mirror”: “USS Callister”
Television Series – 1 Hour: “Game of Thrones”: “Beyond the Wall”
Television Series – 1/2 Hour: “Silicon Valley”: Episode 9, “Hooli-Con”
Television Non-Fiction, Variety or Music Series or Special: “Rolling Stone: Stories from the Edge”

Outstanding Product – Production: Sound Devices: Mix Pre- 10T Recorder
Outstanding Product – Post Production: iZotope, Inc.: RX 6 Advanced

Student Recognition Award: Xiang Li, Chapman University

CAS Filmmaker Award: Joe Wright
Career Achievement Award: Anna Behlmer
Edward J. Greene Award: Tomlinson Holman

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‘War for the Planet of the Apes,’ ‘Game of Thrones’ Top Visual Effects Awards

“Dunkirk” has been honored for the best sound mixing in a live-action film by the Cinema Audio Society, which presented its 2018 CAS Awards at the Omni Los Angeles Hotel.

It won in a category in which four of the five nominees – “Dunkirk,” “Baby Driver,” “The Shape of Water” and “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” – are also Oscar nominees for sound mixing. CAS Awards voters also nominated “Wonder Woman,” while the Oscars’ sound branch went for “Blade Runner 2049” as its fifth nominee.

On Feb. 18, the other group that honors sound in film, the Motion Picture Sound Editors, gave “Blade Runner” its top award at the Golden Reel Awards.

In the first 24 years the CAS handed out awards, its winner has gone on to receive the Oscar for sound mixing exactly half the time. Only once, with “Whiplash,” has the Oscar gone to a film not even nominated at the CAS Awards.

Two films that have won the majority of guild honors in their fields won again at the CAS Awards: Lee Unkrich’s animated feature “Coco” and Brett Morgen’s documentary “Jane.”

Television awards went to “Black Mirror,” “Silicon Valley,” “Game of Thrones” and “Rolling Stone: Stories From the Edge.”

Also at the ceremony, “Darkest Hour” director Joe Wright received the CAS Filmmaker Award, Anna Behlmer received the Career Achievement Award and Tomlinson Holman received the Edward J. Greene Award.

The CAS Awards winners:

Motion Picture – Live Action: “Dunkirk”
Motion Picture – Animated: “Coco”
Motion Picture – Documentary: “Jane”

Television Movie or Mini-Series: “Black Mirror”: “USS Callister”
Television Series – 1 Hour: “Game of Thrones”: “Beyond the Wall”
Television Series – 1/2 Hour: “Silicon Valley”: Episode 9, “Hooli-Con”
Television Non-Fiction, Variety or Music Series or Special: “Rolling Stone: Stories from the Edge”

Outstanding Product – Production: Sound Devices: Mix Pre- 10T Recorder
Outstanding Product – Post Production: iZotope, Inc.: RX 6 Advanced

Student Recognition Award: Xiang Li, Chapman University

CAS Filmmaker Award: Joe Wright
Career Achievement Award: Anna Behlmer
Edward J. Greene Award: Tomlinson Holman

Related stories from TheWrap:

'Darkest Hour' Wins Big at Makeup and Hairstyling Awards

'Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri' Dominates BAFTA Awards (Complete List of Winners)

'War for the Planet of the Apes,' 'Game of Thrones' Top Visual Effects Awards

‘Jane’: Why the Academy Dissed Brett Morgen’s Popular Goodall Documentary

Sometimes, when a movie is a bit too successful, it can backfire with the documentary Oscar voters.

Jane,” Brett Morgen’s popular documentary about primatologist Jane Goodall, was so lauded and applauded that most Oscar experts predicted that it would land an Oscar nomination, if not win. Instead, it never made the cut.

This happens with the Academy documentary branch. While its voter ranks have expanded by more than 50 percent in the last three years, from 204 to 320 members, it’s still a relatively insular group with strong ideas about what makes a great documentary. They tend to be slow to recognize innovation. They long frowned on dramatic re-enactments, strong personalities, and rousing scores, overlooking early Michael Moore entry “Roger and Me” and Errol Morris’ “The Thin Blue Line,” finally rewarding them with Oscars for anti-gun screed “Bowling for Columbine” and the Robert McNamara profile “The Fog of War,” respectively.

Werner Herzog

Werner Herzog

Daniel Bergeron

Moore returned to the Oscar fray for “Sicko,” but Morris was never nominated again. The doc branch nominated Alex Gibney’s entertaining “Enron: The Smartest Man in the Room,” but he won for sober Abu Graib expose “Taxi to the Dark Side” — and has never entered the contest again. They often nominate someone once, like Werner Herzog (“Encounters at the End of the World”), and that’s it. Being well-known and successful is not always a plus with this group.

What got in

The documentarians finally accorded one of this year’s final five slots to Steve James, who has never been nominated by the branch — not for “Hoop Dreams” or “Interrupters,” or Roger Ebert documentary “Life Itself” — until this year’s “Abacus: Small Enough to Jail.” Consider it a career apology.

As expected, the branch nominated Agnes Varda and artist JR’s whimsical “Faces Places” — now the frontrunner to win with the entire Academy voting — as well as one of several competing Syria documentaries, “Last Men in Aleppo,” which takes the viewer close to the White Helmets pulling bodies out of rubble, Bryan Fogel‘s well-hyped Olympic doping scandal saga “Icarus,” and transgender filmmaker Yance Ford‘s memoir about his murdered brother, “Strong Island.”

Strong Island

Yance Ford

“Jane” hits with critics

Right out of Toronto, “Jane” scored rave reviews (Metascore: 87). Brett Morgen’s last biodocs “Cobain: Montage of Heck” and Robert Evans portrait “The Kid Stays in the Picture” were jazzily compelling; he dug into his subjects with clever graphics and creative editing. He’s respected as a filmmaker, but if anything “Jane” was far more accessible and gratifying than his previous work.

Critics groups from Chicago, Florida, Houston, Iowa, Kansas, Las Vegas, North Texas, Philadelphia, San Diego, St. Louis, Utah, Washington, D.C., to the Critics Choice Awards gave the film Best Documentary, along with the National Board of Review, the Cinema Eye Honors (the Audience Award and Best Score) and the Producers Guild.

Looking back, signs of weakness were apparent to the discerning eye. Groups withholding top awards for “Jane” included the International Documentary Association, Cinema Eye Honors, the Independent Spirit Awards, and Gothams.

Last week, the movie won Best Documentary Editing from the ACE; coming up are BAFTA, the Writers Guild, and the Cinema Audio Society awards.

Jane Goodall

“Jane”

The archival footage

National Geographic came to Morgen with 100 hours of unedited, 50-year-old archive footage shot by one of the great nature photographers of all time: Holland’s Hugo Arndt Rodolf Baron van Lawick (10 April 1937 – 2 June 2002). Morgen figured out that there was a way to edit this early film footage of the young Jane Goodall and her initial observation of the chimpanzees in Gombe Stream National Park as a romance; as we fall in love with her, so does the man shooting her. They marry and have a son, but both eventually allow work to take precedence over their marriage.

I saw the film in Toronto, where it slayed audiences at the Elgin, who ate up the yin and yang Q&A dynamics of tough British veteran scientist Goodall staying on activist message and Morgen the obsessive Hollywood perfectionist trying to pull her out of her groove. He had to work hard to coax the busy environmental activist to give him more interview time, but the results are magical and empowering for women. The movie even played, with a live orchestra performing the rousing Philip Glass score, for a huge audience at the Hollywood Bowl.

But many give credit for the movie to cinematographer van Lawick. “There is bias against all Archival,” wrote one branch member in an email. “And maybe a little wanting to support underdogs and their towering achievements.”

Finally, some documentary filmmakers thought the movie was more a triumph of editing by Joe Beshenkovsky and Will Znidaric than something “created” by Morgen, who may be a tad too confident and well-hyped for their taste. NatGeo’s free-spending promotion on the movie may have backfired with persnickety Oscar voters.

The movie scored at New York, London and other fall festivals before opening in theaters on October 20 via Abramorama and grossing $1.6 million — not bad for a documentary. NatGeo set an airdate of March 12, a week after the Academy Awards.

Producers Guild Awards 2018: ‘The Shape of Water’ Seizes Oscar Momentum

“The Shape of Water,” “Coco,” and “Jane,” the big PGA winners Saturday at the Beverly Hilton, now have Oscar momentum.

The Shape of Water” is rapidly becoming the Best Picture Oscar favorite after winning the 29th PGA Awards Saturday night, with producers Guillermo del Toro and J. Miles Dale taking home the top Darryl F. Zanuck prize. That’s two in a row for del Toro’s adult fairy tale of love and inclusion after topping the Critics Choice Awards, with momentum heading into Tuesday’s Oscar nominations.

Del Toro, though, winner of the Golden Globe for Best Director, was unable to attend. He was in Mexico with his ailing father. “The Shape of Water” co-star Richard Jenkins read a note on del Toro’s behalf, dedicating the award to both his parents.

For the first time, thanks to a tie, the PGA had a record 11 nominees, with “The Shape of Water” beating Golden Globe winner, “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” (both from Fox Searchlight). But “Three Billboards” is the favorite to take the SAG/AFTRA ensemble award Sunday night.

Coco

Also in the running were Oscar-contenders “Dunkirk,” “Lady Bird, “The Post,” and “Get Out” (which earned the PGA’s honorary Stanley Kramer Award for filmmaker Jordan Peele for important social consciousness).

As an Oscar predictor, the PGA has been very reliable, particularly since the Academy opened up the Best Picture slots to a maximum of 10 in 2009. However, the organization threw oddsmakers off, as the last two years PGA winners “The Big Short” and “La La Land” ceded the Best Picture Oscar win to “Spotlight” and “Moonlight.” But “The Shape of Water” arguably offers wider appeal as a period-fantasy love story than the revenge drama, “Three Billboards,” the mother-daughter dramedy, “Lady Bird,” or the horror-satire, “Get Out.”

Meanwhile, Pixar producer Darla K. Anderson earned the animation prize for “Coco,” the Oscar favorite for its unifying Día de los Muertos drama about families and ancestry. “Coco” beat two other studio contenders: DreamWorks’ “The Boss Baby” and Warner Bros.’ “The LEGO Batman Movie.” That makes seven PGA wins for Pixar, and, as an Oscar bellwether, the award has been accurate eight out of 12 years.

Jane

National Geographic’s “Jane,” about Jane Goodall’s trailblazing chimpanzee research, which challenged male orthodoxy, took the documentary award for producers Brett Morgen (the award-winning “Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck”), Bryan Burk, Tony Gerber, and James Smith. “Jane” beat the Oscar-contending Syrian docs, “City of Ghosts” (Amazon) and “Cries from Syria” (HBO).

But when it comes to docs, the PGA has been a less reliable Oscar predictor, particularly in the last three years. Also, left off the 2017 PGA doc nominees were such Oscar-shortlisted contenders as “Faces Places,” the French road journey from legendary Agnes Varda and photographer/muralist JR, and “One of Us,” Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady’s exploration of Brooklyn Hassidim.

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Producers Boost ‘Shape of Water’ Ahead of SAG Awards, Oscar Nominations

The Producers Guild of America is the first industry organization of the season to speak up on the year’s best work. The group’s choice: Guillermo del Toro’s “The Shape of Water.” Now what? For a period of time, the PGA prize was seen as a solid Oscar harbinger. Given that it is the only other […]

The Producers Guild of America is the first industry organization of the season to speak up on the year’s best work. The group’s choice: Guillermo del Toro’s “The Shape of Water.” Now what? For a period of time, the PGA prize was seen as a solid Oscar harbinger. Given that it is the only other […]

How Brett Morgen’s Team Gave Jane Goodall’s Memories Life by Building a Film From 1,500 Hours of Silent Footage

Morgen, along with editor Joe Beshenkovsky, made a 90-minute documentary after sorting through 1,500 hours of footage.

Editor’s Note: This article is presented in partnership with National Geographic Documentary Films’ Jane. Learn more about the film here

There have been plenty of documentaries about Jane Goodall, but none that look like “Jane”—which is probably because the National Geographic film was compiled from hundreds of hours of original footage of the legendary primatologist on her journeys to study chimpanzees in Africa in the 1960s.

That meant director Brett Morgen and editor Joe Beshenkovsky had to sort through 1,500 hours of film — most of which was composed of silent, random shots by Goodall’s eventual husband, the famed wildlife photographer Hugo Van Lawick, that he captured while documenting Goodall’s study in Gombe from 1962-66.

But the two managed to compile a 90-minute film, scored by Philip Glass, that tells the story of Goodall’s research, her love story with Van Lawick, the early years of her son, Grub, and provides plenty of insight into the motivations of the young anthropologist. Here is the story of the editing process that brought this dense tale to life.

An Enormous Archive

The first hurdle was sifting through an enormous archive of material in order to pinpoint key footage.

“Usually I have assistant editors collate everything chronologically and then I screen everything top to bottom before I write a script and begin editing,” Morgen says. “For ‘Jane,’ we anticipated it would take about three weeks to get through the material.” What they didn’t anticipate was that the film reels were not stored in chronological — or apparently any — order. Reel one comes up and it’s 28 minutes of pure randomness. The first shot might be of Jane walking up a hill, shot two might be of a butterfly, shot three would be water, shot four another shot of water, shot five it’s Jane walking up a hill. And there were no screening notes or guide for any of this footage.”

Dividing the footage into eight different categories, and identifying individual chimpanzees, became the next challenges.

“We put all the footage of Jane in one category, chimps mating in another category, chimps eating in another and so on,” Morgen says. “Only eight of the chimpanzees were relevant to our story, so just getting to the point where we could identify every chimpanzee was challenging. Here we were, more than 55 years removed in an editing bay in Culver City, California, trying to figure out who’s who. We really had our work cut out for us before we could even begin to assemble the film.”

Crafting a Story

Morgen saw the primary story to be Jane’s unique relationship with wildlife.

“I saw this as a parable of the garden of good and evil, of Adam and Eve,” Morgen says. “The movie opens with a montage of insects and animals and nature all living harmoniously in Gombe, like Eden, in a way. The last thing we see is the snake, the serpent. And underneath that image you hear the sound of a boat, the first sign of man coming into the area. We cut to a shot of the boat, and it’s a very loud, abrasive sound. There’s this great symmetry in nature prior to Jane’s arrival. As we got deeper into the research, I began to have very mixed feelings, not about Jane or her intent, which is beyond inspiring, but about the fact that those chimpanzees lived in that area for eons, yet over the course of 60 years their world was going to be turned upside down.”

Critical too was Goodall’s blooming relationship with Van Lawick.

“The amazing thing is that you’re really watching Hugo fall in love with Jane on camera,” Morgen says. “That’s a rarity. You see it in classic couplings between a director and an actress, like von Sternberg and Marlene Dietrich or Orson Welles and Rita Hayworth. In the case of Hugo and Jane, that relationship breaks the fourth wall. Going through the footage, we identified every time Jane looked directly at the camera, reacting to Hugo, so we could build that into a montage. That was integral to the story.”

A Musical Language

Glass’ score was a critical component to tying the picture together.

“Philip’s music is very metric, which works really well for the montage approach,” Morgen says. “There’s this almost Disneyesque element, the way the chimpanzees and all the insects, lions and other animals in the Serengeti move in sync with the music. That’s intentional on my part because there’s a magical component to Jane’s and Hugo’s romantic view of nature. I wanted to get across this great harmony and symmetry taking place. So we met with Philip early on and once he agreed to score the film, I cut the scenes to a temp track of some of his previous music.”

The film’s strength in stitching together a compelling narrative has been praised by critics, as the documentary has received a slew of honors and accolades, including:

Winner – Best Documentary – National Board of Review
Winner – Best Documentary Feature – Critics Choice Documentary Awards
Winner – Audience Choice Prize – Cinema Eye Honors
Winner – Outstanding achievement in original score – Cinema Eye Honors

Nominee – Best Feature Documentary – Producers Guild of America
Nominee – Best Documentary – London Critics Circle Film Awards
Nominee – ACE Eddie Awards Nominations
Nominee – WGA
Nominee – BAFTA
Nominee – Cinema Audio Society

Academy Shortlist for Best Documentary Feature

WINNER – BEST DOCUMENTARY – 17 NATIONAL CRITICS GROUPS

National Geographic Channel Sets Premiere Dates For New Series, Jane Goodall Documentary – TCA

National Geographic Channel has set premiere dates for three new series and its commercial-free airing of Jane, the Oscar-shortlisted feature documentary about chimpanzee maven Jane Goodall.
First up is Monday’s debut of Chain of Command, an eight-part documentary series made with incredible access inside the walls of the Pentagon and on the front lines of the U.S. military’s mission to fight violent extremism around the world.
The cable net, a joint venture of National…

National Geographic Channel has set premiere dates for three new series and its commercial-free airing of Jane, the Oscar-shortlisted feature documentary about chimpanzee maven Jane Goodall. First up is Monday’s debut of Chain of Command, an eight-part documentary series made with incredible access inside the walls of the Pentagon and on the front lines of the U.S. military's mission to fight violent extremism around the world. The cable net, a joint venture of National…