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Within moments of its release people had started taking in terms of Academy Awards for Inception, and not just for its direction and acting. The movie is viewed as a strong contender for â€˜craftâ€™ Oscars, both for visuals and for the sound that accompanies them. Thereâ€™s little surprise in that for those who follow the backroom boys and girls as keenly as stargazers follow the twitterati. The director, Christopher Nolan, assembled a constellation of technical stars to match his A-list cast, including the composer Hans Zimmer, Richard King as sound designer and â€“ naturally â€“ AMS Neve consoles.
The entire soundscapeÂ has to evoke the stuck-in-a-dream â€“ or, rather, nightmare â€“ concept of the movie itself. So Hans Zimmerâ€™s score â€“ recorded at Air Lyndhurst on the Neve 88RS with SP2 scoring panel, and engineered by Geoff Foster â€“ had to be reminiscent of film noir. To get the mix of reference and nostalgia as well as science fiction, the scoreâ€™s main themes are based on elements of Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien, the movieâ€™s â€˜trigger songâ€™, but also incorporate guitar playing from Johnny Marr along with orchestra.
For the sound effects, Richard King â€“ a sound editing Oscar-winner for The Dark Knight and Master and Commander â€“ wanted subtly to convey the multiple perception levels that people experience when dreaming. To achieve that complexity, he designed a layered soundtrack, often melding several elements or even recordings of the same sound as heard from different perception points. The mix took place at Warner Bros Postâ€™s Stage 9 on the AMS Neve DFC Gemini. Nolan and King specified the same team as theyâ€™d worked with for The Dark Knight, with Gary Rizzo and Lora Hirschberg on secondment from Skywalker Sound as re-recording mixers.
Regardless of how Inception fares at the 2011 Academy Awards, it â€“ and its sound team â€“ have already won the accolades that really count, taking well over $Â½bn at the box office. And demonstrating the successful realization of the storyâ€™s multi-layered complexity, thereâ€™s a significant rate of multiple viewings from fans seeking a deeper understanding of the movie.