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Oscar Slights

April 15, 2001

Re "Wake Us When It's Over" (by William Keck, March 25):

I am the lead actor in this year's Oscar-nominated live-action short "Seraglio." My only chance for the industry to be aware of my connection to a nominated film was if the academy chose to show a clip that would surely include its lead actor when the nominees were announced on the air.

Unfortunately, the shorts were completely misrepresented by the clips, which varied in length. Considering the combined viewing time of all five live-action shorts is approximately two hours, the editor's unfamiliarity with the films is inexcusable. Along with Ben Stiller's inability to learn the correct pronunciation of "Seraglio" (the g is silent), the haphazard editing of the hurried clips underscores the industry's lack of respect for the less-publicized awards categories.

Ah, but it's just the short films. As Keck wrote, the world doesn't care, and apparently no one involved with the telecast cared either about changing the way the "lesser" categories are perceived.




As a sound editor, I take great exception to Keck's comments that "we don't care to hear" sound editors' thank-yous during the Oscar broadcast.

What would the spectacle of "Gladiator" be without the fierce crashing of weapons, or the emotive roar of the stadium crowd? Where would the tension of "U-571" be without the slow creak of the hull under stress, the ominous drips of water leaking into the sub, or the jolting booms of the depth charges getting closer? All these sounds (and many more) are carefully crafted, chosen and placed at the right moments for maximum effect.

Today's audiences may not know our names, but they recognize the benefit of a film's sonic experience. Just ask yourself why the DVD revolution has spawned a corresponding revolution in home theater surround-sound systems.



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