‘Fury Road’ Leads to a Post-Production Sweep at the Oscars
photos courtesy of oscar.go.com
For the second time in three years, the trio of post-production categories at the Academy Awards was swept by one film: Mad Max: Fury Road. Part of the Australian film’s six-win semi-sweep at the Oscar ceremonies February 28, the winners in post include Margaret Sixel (Best Film Editing); Mark Mangini, MPSE, and David White (Best Sound Editing); and Chris Jenkins, Gregg Rudloff and production mixer Ben Osmo (Best Sound Mixing).
Following are excerpts from their acceptance speeches as well as comments made to the press corps backstage:
“Us Mad Maxers are doing okay tonight. Thank you so much to the Academy. You know, Mad Max was the best-reviewed film of 2015. Audiences loved it, and to be honored tonight is just more than we could ever have hoped for. But it took enormous creative courage and guts to make this film. I want to say thanks to George Miller, Doug Mitchell and the whole crew that endured six months in that Namibian desert to bring back the most amazing footage.
“But honestly, it’s in the edit room that the film is finally forged. It’s the final rewrite, so I just want to salute my beloved picture department, who are in Sydney, and all who work in post, who work with their hands, heads and, most importantly, their hearts.”
“You mean are women underrepresented? I guess that's an understatement. I think there is some prejudice that women can't cut action, but I'm hoping that will change with the Star Wars girls and me. I think it will change. I think it's already changing, don't you? That's my personal feeling. In the next ten years, I think the balance will come back in our favor, hopefully.”
Mark Mangini, left, and David White.
Mark Mangini and David White
Mangini: “For thousands of years, we’ve been telling stories in the dark around a flickering light, whether a campfire or a projector. David and I do it with sound. George Miller would tell us, ‘Mad Max is a film we see with our ears. I knew sound could tell my story, but nothing quite like this.’ Sound artists are storytellers. Thank you, George. I hope to see you around the next campfire.”
White: “I’m so proud to work on this loud, loud, loud film that actually had silence in it. So good to work with this guy. And I’m proud to represent all my Australian colleagues.”
White: “I think all of that is due to George Miller who creates a really fantastic environment where everyone can be creative. In that environment around such an amazing guy, everyone rises to the occasion and does their best work. That's my experience with the film.”
Mangini: “He's one of the world's great collaborators. He's not a micromanager. He doesn't say, ‘Do this, do this, do this.’ He asks. He says, ‘Here's what I'm trying to achieve with the film; how does sound complement that?’ And that gives us the room to be artists.
“Rather than talk about the details of what we did, I think it is important to understand that because of the way this film was shot — high-speed cameras, wind machines, sand, [with] virtually none of the sound recorded during production very usable — everything that you hear in Mad Max was something that David and I and our team created. I mean, down to the smallest little footsteps, down to the biggest explosion. That's all from the minds and the creations of sound editors, designers, etc. I feel like that is a pretty stunning accomplishment.”
White: “Everything had to be believable, because it was a world where civilization has crumbled, so the only thing you can resurrect is a combustion engine, or whatever, so it could be a very believable sound. They are all very mechanical, basic things. They had to have an authenticity to them, which George was very serious about the whole way through.”
Gregg Rudloff, left, Chris Jenkins and Ben Osmo.
Chris Jenkins and Gregg Rudloff
Jenkins: “Thank you very much. First of all, a big shout out to the Academy, thank you for all your support of our incredible creative craft. To our fellow nominees, we can’t say enough, we’re so proud to be in your company and we’re so proud to represent tonight. To George Miller, you’re the heart and soul of all this. We can’t say enough about you — thank you, thank you, thank you for giving us the opportunity. To Warner Bros., to all of our friends there and the people that support us. And most of all, to our families, to our wives, to Jeanne and to Sue, to our families, to James up in the cheap seats. Thank you all very, very much.”
Rudloff: “For Chris and I on the re-recording side, working with George — not only his recognizing but embracing our passion for the use of sound in storytelling — that's what we live for; that's what gives us our fix. Recognizing that in George and going through the whole process with [him] on that was what it was for us.
“When we were first shown an early version of the film, we understood what we were in for. It's all part of what we do; it's what we embrace. We thrive on that situation.”
Jenkins: “Technically, it was extremely challenging, and…we weren't always successful with it. It took a long time to get it right. But the movie found itself; and even late in the game, there were questions [about] whether the movie was too strange or too off-putting to audiences, and it really wasn't at all. There was a lot of talk about [whether we] should take some of the things out of it that we really loved, which were kind of legacy Mad Max things? And those are what made it individual. That's what it made it stand out.
“To George's credit, I think this made a lot of filmmakers, — ourselves included — take bigger risks, because not only do people recognize that George at 71 years old spent 10 years making this astonishingly crafted movie, but he made all of us rise up to it and do our best work. He allowed us to do it, and it doesn't always happen. A lot of times, we are just a pair of hands to to help somebody else's voice. In this case, it wasn't always successful, and we found a way to make it successful; we did it together. So for a long time, it wasn't a successful movie, [but] it found its place, and it found its heart and its soul, and it found its audience and critics. So, it's a very special experience for us.”