Sound Man O'Connell: A Fixture in the Oscar Mix Movie sound mixer Kevin O'Connell's Academy Award nomination for his work on Transformers is his 20th Oscar nod. He has never won. What's it like for a sound man to never hear his name called on Oscar night?
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Sound Man O'Connell: A Fixture in the Oscar Mix

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Sound Man O'Connell: A Fixture in the Oscar Mix

Sound Man O'Connell: A Fixture in the Oscar Mix

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ALEX CHADWICK, host:

Well, okay, we're getting ready. One of the people we're going to want to keep an eye on at that theater on Sunday night is sound mixer Kevin O'Connell.

MADELEINE BRAND, host:

Right. He is, well, the Susan Lucci of the Oscars. He's nominated for his twentieth Academy award this year. It's for the film "Transformers". And he has never won.

CHADWICK: So you'd think he would be a little irritable. But we went to see him yesterday at the Sony studios. Kevin O'Connell, he seemed like the happiest guy in the world.

Mr. KEVIN O'CONNELL (Sound Mixer): You have to understand, you know, it's an honor to be nominated 19 or 20 times. You know, I never take it for granted. It's the best feeling on the planet. And you know, every time I get nominated, I feel that it's just spectacularly wonderful.

CHADWICK: You're nominated, I believe, as a re-recording mixer. At least that's your - that's the title attached to - what exactly is a re-recording mixer?

Mr. O'CONNELL: A re-recording mixer is someone who takes all of the sounds in a movie - the dialogue, the music, and the sound effects - and they blend them together to create the voice of the film. It's a very involved process. We have control over every single sound in a movie, and it's a great job.

CHADWICK: Is there a talisman or something you maybe have carried with you that would be a good luck item?

Mr. O'CONNELL: Well, I haven't figured out what that is yet. But an interesting story this year is I was at a function called the Mothers of the Motion Picture Industry, where I was actually winning an award. And they said if you have a blue dot underneath your cup you win the table prize. And I lifted up my cup, I had a blue dot. I said, hey, I finally won something. So when I got up and made my acceptance speech for the plaque they were giving me, I actually said, you know, my mother would be proud of me today because I actually finally won something. And everyone had a good laugh at it.

CHADWICK: Last year you went to the Oscars. You left that ceremony and went to see your mother, who was very ill.

O'CONNELL: Right. That was a rough night. And she actually died that night. And I left the ceremony right after my award was announced and I went to the hospital. And I was lucky enough to be with her when she died. So it was just a rough night all the way around. And you know, last year was a rough year, but you know, I know my mother would want me to continue. She would want me to, you know, buck up and stay positive, and that's what I'm doing. And if one person gets a message from this to never give up on their dreams, then it was worth it to me.

CHADWICK: You know, Kevin, this year's going to be better than last anyway.

O'CONNELL: Well, it's already better than last. I can just tell you that. I mean, right now I feel just so honored to be even talking to you right now. I wouldn't be having this conversation if I had won 20 year ago. And if the world knows a little bit more about how important sound is to the filmmaking process, then at the end of the day I feel good about it.

CHADWICK: Kevin O'Connell, nominated for an Oscar Sunday night in sound. Good luck to you.

Mr. O'CONNELL: Thanks very much, Alex. Appreciate it.

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