‘Sound of Metal’ scores with 2 Oscars: film written, directed by local Marder brothers

  • Director Darius Marder, of Ashfield, left, and Abraham Marder, a musician from Amherst, arrive at the Oscars on Sunday at Union Station in Los Angeles. Their movie “Sound of Metal” won two Oscars in the editing category and for its sound design. AP PHOTO/CHRIS PIZZELLO

  • Nicolas Becker celebrates after he won Best Sound for “Sound of Metal” at a screening of the Oscars on Monday in Paris, France. AP PHOTO/LEWIS JOLY

  • Mexican sound engineers Michelle Couttolenc, left, and Jaime Baksht pose in a sound studio in Mexico City, March 18. The Oscar-winning movie “Sound of Metal,” about a heavy metal drummer that starts going deaf, has three Mexican sound engineers. The film won in the editing category and for its sound design. AP PHOTO/BERENICE BAUTISTA

  • Phillip Bladh, from left, Carlos Cortes, Michelle Couttolenc and Jaime Baksht, winners of Best Sound for “Sound of Metal,” pose in the press room at the Oscars on Sunday at Union Station in Los Angeles. AP PHOTO/CHRIS PIZZELLO

Staff Writer
Published: 4/26/2021 7:23:05 PM

“Sound of Metal,” a movie directed and written by two Pioneer Valley natives — brothers Darius and Abraham Marder, of Ashfield and Amherst, respectively — won two Oscar awards Sunday, one for Best Sound and the other for Best Film Editing.

The movie was nominated for four more awards that it did not win: Best Screenplay, Best Actor in a Leading Role, Best Actor in a Supporting Role and Best Picture.

“Sound of Metal” tells the fictional story of a heavy metal drummer who loses his hearing, played by Riz Ahmed, who had been nominated for his leading role. Paul Raci, who plays the manager of a community for deaf people, was nominated for his supporting role.

In Franklin County, “Sound of Metal” is notable because Conway was the childhood home of the director Darius Marder and co-writer Abraham Marder.

“Seeing my cast and crew — who stepped up and believed in ‘Sound of Metal,’ put it all on the line, against all odds — now getting recognition is immensely satisfying for me. I feel like a proud papa,” Darius Marder said when the nominations were announced in March.

The Marder brothers could not be reached for comment following Sunday’s award ceremony.

In addition to the Marder brothers, this year’s Oscars have another local connection in that Chloé Zhao, who won Best Director for the movie “Nomadland,” graduated from Mount Holyoke College in 2005 with a degree in political science. Originally from China, she is the second woman and first Asian woman to win in this category.

“Sound of Metal” originally premiered at the 2019 Toronto International Film Festival. Its American premiere, however, was in Greenfield. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the film did not have a large red carpet event. Instead, the Marder brothers had a small celebration for the movie at Greenfield Garden Cinemas in November.

Of the two awards “Sound of Metal” won Sunday, the award for Best Sound was a historic first. In previous years, there were separate Oscars for sound editing and sound mixing.

In “Sound of Metal,” the sound designer, Nicolas Becker, who is based in Paris, worked with a sound mixing team of four who are based in Mexico — Jaime Baksht, Philip Bladh, Carlos Cortes and Michelle Couttolenc.

‘“Sound of Metal’ received from its team so much care, love and attention,” Becker said while accepting the award in Sunday’s televised ceremony.

Accepting the award for Best Film Editing, the movie’s editor, Mikkel E.G. Nielsen, thanked his home country of Denmark for funding education in film.

“That’s amazing. This is what you get. So just continue doing it,” Nielsen said.

He also thanked Darius Marder personally.

“Thank you for your incredible vision,” Nielsen said. “Thank you for inviting me on this life-changing, I would say, journey. It’s been like following a rainbow for me, and today I feel like we found the gold.”

Reach Max Marcus at mmarcus@recorder.com or 413-930-4231.

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