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The Matrix: A Major Oscar-Winner in Minor Categories

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Usually when you hear of a film sweeping the Oscars, you think of Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Film, etc. But that wasn’t the case with The Matrix which snagged four statuettes, all of them in technical categories: Film Editing, Sound, Sound Effects Editing, and Visual Effects.  

In the Film Editing category, The Matrix was up against American Beauty , The Cider House Rules , The Sixth Sense and The Insider .  That’s a very strong field.  The shocking ending of The Sixth Sense owed much to how its brilliant cuts precluded any viewer suspicion.  And the gorgeously lyrical ending of American Beauty remains a triumph of technique.

For Sound, competition from The Green Mile and The Mummy , among others looked less threatening. The Matrix team seemed destined to win, composed as it was of the two former Oscar nominees John T. Reitz ( Days of Heaven ) and David E. Campbell ( Legends of the Fall , Dick Tracy ), one Oscar winner Gregg Rudloff ( Glory ), and David Lee (who, although he’d never been nominated before, had more than a handful of AFI awards to his credit).

For Visual Effects, The Matrix had but two competitors: Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace — tough to beat — and the less spectacular Stuart Little.  Team Matrix consisted of John Gaeta (who’s since worked on the film’s two sequels and Speed Racer); Janek Sirrs (whose lengthy career includes stints on The Muppet Christmas Carol, Waterworld, and I Am Legend); Steve Courtley, (a Matrix mainstay who also worked on The Road Warrior and Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome); and Jon Thum (whose most recent projects are Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Superman Returns). Dane A. Davis picked up the final award for Sound Effects Editing.

The Matrix plays tonight at 8PM | 7C on AMC.  Click here for the movie’s complete schedule this month.

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