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Half of Oscar sound nominations go to Dolby Atmos films

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MUMBAI: Dolby Laboratories has announced that almost half of the nominations going to Oscar this year were Dolby Atmos films. 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.

Dolby Atmos allows filmmakers unprecedented precision in designing a movie soundtrack. They can place and move sounds anywhere in a theatre, including over the audience’s head, to make viewers feel like they’re inside the story. Dolby Atmos debuted in June 2012 in the Oscar winning animated film Brave. The technology is now available for home theaters and on mobile devices.

The other films nominated for sound editing—Birdman  and Interstellar and for sound mixing—Birdman, Interstellar, and Whiplash—all used Dolby surround sound technology.

This is the 37th consecutive year that films released with Dolby® audio technologies have earned Academy Award nominations for outstanding sound quality.

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 getting nods.

The announcement came along with some proud moments for the Dolby Atmos team when the production teams of the nominated movies credited Dolby Atmos for being able to provide them the technology which completely understood the demands of the scene. 

The Unbroken sound team credits Dolby Atmos with helping put the audience in the extreme situations that World War II hero Louis Zamperini experienced—hurtling airplanes, vast oceans, and oppressive jungles.

“This film was served well by [Dolby] Atmos,” said Monta?o, 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,” said Andrew DeCristofaro, the supervising sound editor. “It feels more realistic.”

Director Peter Jackson and his team have used Dolby Atmos for each of the three Hobbit movies. Jackson says their knowledge of how to use the technology has evolved. “Each year now, we’ve managed to do different things as our knowledge of how to best use it expanded,” Jackson says.

Dolby Atmos helps fill out the sound environment and make it match the action on the screen, according to rerecording mixer Michael Hedges. “It’s great to have Dolby on our side.”

The creators of American Sniper decided to keep the film’s music to a minimum and “score” the film with realistic sounds, according to film industry site Below the Line. 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.

Take a look at the full list of Oscar nominees. The winners will be announced on February 22 at the Dolby Theatre® in Hollywood.

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