Oscar Nominees Reveal Secrets About ‘Revenant’ Bear, Hidden Cat in ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ (Video)

Four of this year’s contenders for sound mixing discuss their work in new edition of “Eyes & Ears on the Oscars” in partnership with Dolby

What the heck is sound mixing, and why does somebody get an Oscar for it?

Four of this year’s nominees sat down with TheWrap awards editor Steve Pond to explain tricks of the trade — as well as some secrets about some of last year’s most high-profile movies.

For those who don’t know, sound mixers oversee recording of a movie’s sound both on set and in postproduction with added sound effects that lend a greater authenticity. (Sound editors handle the overall soundtrack.)

“Fundamentally what we do is storytelling,” Randy Thom, one of four nominees for “The Revenant,” explained.

On Alejandro G. Inarritu’s film, Thom said, “The biggest challenge was probably the bear sequence. It was clear that that sequence was what the whole story was going to hinge on.”

For Gregg Rudloff, a nominee for “Mad Max: Fury Road,” variety was key given the nature of George Miller‘s movie. “At its core, it’s a chase movie. It’s one long chase,” he said. “We needed to keep an ever-evolving soundtrack.”

Christopher Scarabosio, a nominee for “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” revealed a surprise about the sound during the fateful encounter between Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) and Rey (Daisy Ridley) — the work of one of the film’s lead sound editors, David Acord.

“The base of Kylo Ren’s Force sound is his cat purring,” Scarabosio said.

The sound mixers acknowledged that most moviegoers probably don’t understand what they do — or the difference between THX or Atmos or the latest in sound design technology. “Going back, I think there’s an awareness of a quality, hopefully,” said Andy Nelson, a nominee for both “Bridge of Spies” and “The Force Awakens.”