At the Oscars last night, Bohemian Rhapsody picked up both the Sound Editing and Sound Mixing Awards, making it the second year in a row a single film won for both categories.
Rami Malek fronted the film as Freddy Mercury and performed a very accurate adaptation of multiple Queen hits, as well as a remarkable rendition of Queen’s 1985 Live Aid concert that was captured in a one 22 minute take.
John Warhurst and Nina Hartstone won for Sound Editing, while Paul Massey, Tim Cavagin and John Casali were awarded for Sound Mixing.
When accepting the award, Warhurst recalled: ‘Working for Bohemian Rhapsody really was an honour, I mean, we got to work with Queen for our day job’, giving a ‘special nod to Freddy’ and thanking Queen for the ‘great music’.
Backstage, the sound crew provided more insight into the making of the film. Warhurst elaborated: ‘We used the actual original multi-track of Live Aid, which was the original recording from Queen. And then we recreated the whole crowd of Live Aid, which was a blend of old and new tracks. We always wanted to keep the spirit, it had to be the spirit of Queen, and it had to be the Queen and the same sound that everyone knew. It also had to work in the cinema of 2018, in Dolby Atmos.’
Hartstone discussed starting out in the film industry as a woman and gave advice to beginners: ‘I learned that the film industry is a hard industry, you have to work very hard, think on your feet and collaborate with everyone around you. Try and learn as much as you can.’
In fact, Hartstone is the first European woman to be nominated for the Sound Editing Award, as well as the first to win the Award.
Meanwhile, the Sound Mixing team attributed a lot of the sound direction of the film to Brian May.
Casali described working with Queen: ‘They were so collaborative, Brian and Rodger [Meddows Taylor]. Once we had their trust, they completely allowed us into their family. They told us stories about Freddy, their engineers gave us full access to the archives of their music and all of their live and studio material.’
Marking a legendary event, Queen opened for the Oscars, which Hartstone asserted as her highlight of the show.
Bohemian Rhapsody has been a frontrunner with multiple wins this year, landing Best Sound at the Baftas, winning for sound mixing at the CAS Awards and the MPSE’s Golden Reel Awards.
This Thursday at BVE, our editor Daniel Gumble will be interviewing Nina Hartstone and Queen’s engineer and producer Justin Shirley-Smith about their work on the film.
Find out about the other Oscars winners at the Oscars website.