Mexico at the Oscars: Loud and silent
Don't get the wrong idea, this success story in no longer than it takes to listen to John Cage's 4 '33.'
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Did you know that Nomadland won "Best Picture?" Oh, yes, and also, we suppose, that Anthony Hopkins shone as "Best Actor." Expectations are always dire, and an edition of the Academy Awards that promised to be historically diverse turned out to be less so, even if we all love Frances McDormand.
However, there was more than one category where Latino talent was "sonorous" and especially one film, Sound of Metal, whose team, composed of three Mexicans and one Venezuelan, won the Oscar for "Best Sound."
Carolina Santana, Carlos Cortés (La Tempestad), Michelle Couttolenc (Pan's Labyrinth, Silent Light, Güeros, The Golden Dream and I'm No Longer Here) and Jaime Baksh (Abel and Herod's Law) excelled on the red carpet by doing the seemingly impossible, turning sound and silence into the protagonists of an amazing film about a drummer who loses his hearing.
The four sound artists mixed and edited the Sound of Metal film in two studios in Mexico, Astro XL and Splendor Omnia, managing to simulate both deafness and the memory that remains of sound once hearing is lost.
"The movie is about acceptance," Jaime Baksh told El País, while his partner, Cortés, recalled how putting himself in the shoes of a person who had gone deaf was overwhelming. "It comes as a shock to me," he explained.
For Baksh, the key to success was editing and mixing the sound in Mexico, since "in the United States a sound designer is someone who makes certain special sounds, combines several different ones to create a new one, and because of that, at one point there were even copyrights. A film there can have 10 sound designers," he said.
But beyond the Rio Grande, the designer is king. An artist, someone who evokes loud or quiet emotions, but undoubtedly as prominent as the image.
They may not have been the most diverse Oscars in the world, but for Mexico, some trumpets were sounding off on Sunday, April 25.