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  • James Kunovski

Kevin O’Connell & Oscar Luck (Video)

Sound designer Kevin O’Connell has been the recipient of 21 Oscar nominations.

He has won once.

His streak lasted more than three decades and ended in 2017 with his most recent nomination to date and win for Hacksaw Ridge. Twice receiving double nominations in the same year, O’Connell’s historic patch can be attributed to a few Oscar motives. For one, plenty of the films he lost to took home Best Picture, or were at least nominated, bounding those screeners to the top of voters’ piles. He would lose to twelve films that held spots in that coveted category, whereas prior to 2017, O’Connell had only worked on two nominees. Interestingly, it was a Best Picture nominee that would grant him an eventual trophy. Much of his nominated work can be categorised, quite literally and somewhat snobbishly into “strong box office equals meh reception”. These films would have entered the Academy’s radar from their strong commercial presence but failed to gather enough praise to win awards. Top that off with them often being their film’s sole nomination, the alternative of the more prestigious Best Picture nominees, and you have an exclusive algorithm. With his unique disposition, he joins the ranks of renowned cinematographer Roger Deakins, who would win after 13 nominations. A club that hopefully the likes of fellow sound designer Greg P. Russell (17 nominations without a win), composer Thomas Newman (15 nominations without a win) and songwriter Diane Warren (11 nominations without a win) can soon join.


Timeline 1984 For Terms of Endearment. The award went to The Right Stuff. 1985 For Dune. The award went to Amadeus. 1986 For Silverado. The award went to Out of Africa. 1987 For Top Gun. The award went to Platoon. 1990 For Black Rain. The award went to Glory. 1991 For Days of Thunder. The award went to Dances with Wolves. 1993 For A Few Good Men. The award went to The Last of the Mohicans. 1996 For Crimson Tide. The award went to Apollo 13. 1997 For Twister and The Rock. The award went to the English Patient. 1998 For Con Air. The award went to Titanic. 1999 For The Mask of Zorro and Armageddon. The award went to Saving Private Ryan. 2001 For The Patriot. The award went to Gladiator. 2002 For Pearl Harbor. The award went to Black Hawk Down. 2003 For Spider-Man. The award went to Chicago. 2005 For Spider-Man 2. The award went to Ray. 2006 For Memoirs of a Geisha. The award went to King Kong. 2007 For Apocalypto. The award went to Dreamgirls. 2008 For Transformers. The award went to The Bourne Ultimatum. 2017 He wins for Hacksaw Ridge.

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