When Oscar voters spoke up last Tuesday, two intriguing craft category nominations stuck out, both coming from the same branch: Mark P. Stoeckinger’s third bid to date for the sound editing of “Unstoppable” and Greg P. Russell’s fourteenth — yes, fourteenth — for the sound mixing of “Salt.”
The Academy’s sound branch consists of 405 members, enough to be the fourth-largest voting block of the organization. Including Best Picture, they have three opportunities on a nominations ballot to make their voices heard, as opposed to the usual two for other disciplines.
It seemed a good idea to sit down with these two lone representatives of their films, given that they were ushered into the race by the same community (and hey, they share a middle initial). Both are also coming off of nominations last year.
After one of the most intricate jobs of his career on “Star Trek” in 2009, Stoeckinger was fortunate to work with both Ridley Scott (“Robin Hood”) and his brother Tony (“Unstoppable”) for the first time this year. “They’re similar in that sound is an important tool for their film-going experience, for sure,” he says. “And they’re amazingly creative guys.”
When he first met with Tony Scott about the white-knuckle train ride that is “Unstoppable,” he says “there was a whole backend of a sequence where the trains are braking and it’s squeaking and I said it could be challenging for audiences and he said, ‘Eh, don’t worry about that.’ That’s kind of the Tony Scott style.”