Academy Awards to be Drenched in Dolby Atmos Sound

Over half of the Oscar-nominated films for best sound editing were mixed in Dolby Atmos, including American Sniper, The Hobbit and Unbroken.

Alice Gustafson
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2015 marks the 37th consecutive year that films released with Dolby audio technologies have earned Academy Award nominations for outstanding sound quality.

This year, half of the films nominated for sound editing used Dolby Atmos soundtracks.

Three Dolby Atmos films: American Sniper, The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies and Unbroken were nominated in the sound editing category for the 87th Academy Awards. Two of those titles were also nominated in the sound mixing category: American Sniper and Unbroken.

Meanwhile, the other films nominated for sound editing: Birdman and Interstellar – and for sound mixing – Birdman, Interstellar and Whiplash – all used Dolby surround sound technology.

Check out this year’s Oscar nominated films with Dolby Atmos sound.

The controversial film American Sniper received six nominations in all, including one for best picture. Dolby Atmos films also received two of the five nominations for best animated feature, with Big Hero 6 and How to Train Your Dragon 2 receiving nods.

The Sound of Unbroken

The Unbroken sound team credits Dolby Atmos for helping put the audience in the extreme situations that World War II hero Louis Zamperini experienced.

“This film was served well by (Dolby) Atmos,” says Frank Montano, the sound rerecording mixer. The effect “was subtle, but very precise.”

“When you’re in the ocean, when you’re in the jungle and you hear the bugs, you just feel like you’re in that space,” adds Andrew DeCristofaro, the supervising sound editor. “It feels more realistic.”

The creators of American Sniper decided to keep the film’s music to a minimum and ‘score’ the film with realistic sounds.

That meant long recording sessions with the actual guns used by Navy SEAL sniper Chris Kyle and his comrades and even tracking down a plane with the same engine as the early Predator drones.

Dolby Atmos debuted in June 2012 in the Oscar-winning animated film Brave. The technology is now available for home theatres and on mobile devices.

Find out more about Dolby Atmos sound here.