2011 Oscars Challenge: Salt

The Academy Award for Best Sound Mixing is probably (for me) one of the hardest categories to pick a winner. Perhaps it is because sound is such a taken for granted aspect of film, I normally find myself paying little attention. When asked to award a film for good sound design, I solely do so by weeding out films with sound that takes you out of the film.

“Salt” contains a rather normal sound design. With a nice blend of sound effects and orchestra music, “Salt” remains in a constant state of eeriness and suspense. The major difference “Salt” has from most films is allowing the sound effects to take precedent over the music. As soon as an impacting action sequence begins, the music disappears and lets the authentic sound take control. I enjoy this aspect as compared to shoveling effects and music at the audience all at one overwhelming moment.


The sound mixing of “Salt” uses perception quite often, which works great with surround sound systems. This means the quiets and louds, or moving sounds. When a young girl listens to her headphones, the music changes volume as she takes off the earpieces and walks away from the table. A cellphone ringing gets louder and softer with its changing distance from the screen. This is simple yet attention to detail.

The dynamic of “Salt” is constantly changing, much like the character, blending from orchestra suspense to hard rock action-blasting guitar in one unyielding and effective second, causing epic and overbearing action sequences.

Looking through the nominees, I do feel “Salt” has a low chance of taking home the gold. “Inception” was known for its sound design, with earth shattering appeal, while “the Social Network” continues to get praised for each and every element in the film. “Salt” does, however, make it on the board with one nomination but do not expect it to come out of the Oscars with anything but empty hands.

(29 OF 41 FILMS REMAINING)-(23 DAYS TO OSCARS)


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