It seems fitting that in an Oscars ceremony utterly devoid of surprises, drama, or any moment more compelling than Clint Eastwood's wife offering her nominated husband's dejected manhood a consoling pat-down, the only potential controversy would unfold backstage, and between warring below-the-line factions weary from their unglamorous battle in a hotly contested Best Sound Mixing awards race. THR notes the odd post-victory smackdown directed at Lucciesque Apocalyto also-ran Kevin O'Connell by Dreamgirls winner Michael Minkler, who indicated that The Streak was stealing the spotlight from his team's achievement:
Could a little rivalry have been revealed in the sound mixing world? Things turned weird when the winners in that category — Willie Burton, Bob Beemer and Michael Minkler for "Dreamgirls" — were onstage in the press room. A question was thrown to the trio about what advice they had for Kevin O'Connell, a nominee for "Apocalypto" who now has been nominated 19 times without a win. While Burton and Beemer had conciliatory things to say — "Hang in there, Kevin, you'll get your chance," Burton said — Minkler's words were the opposite. "I think Kevin should go away with 19 nominations," he said without cracking a smile. "We work really hard, and if we stumble upon an award, we are so grateful. I have to wonder ... Kevin is an OK mixer, but he should take up another line of work." He exited the stage leaving people wondering whether he was serious.
9:46 p.m.: A reporter asks the Sound Mixing winners for Dreamgirls about Kevin O'Connell, one of the Sound Mixing losers for Apocalypto—and one of Oscars all-time losers, now having been vanquished 19 times. "I just wonder what Kevin's trying to do out there by trying to get an award by using sympathy," an absolutely straight-faced Oscar-holding Michael Minkler says. "And Kevin's an okay mixer, but enough's enough about Kevin."
9:47 p.m.: What?!
9:48 p.m.: "I think he should just take up another line of work," the Oscar-gloating Minkler adds.
9:49 p.m.: Huh?!
9:50 p.m.: Minkler and his team are gone—no chance for a follow-up question.
9:50 p.m.: I talk to the reporter who asked the question, checking to see if he heard what I heard. "He couldn't have been serious," the reporter says. "But that's what he said."
Indeed, we need to recognize the deflating possibility that this was all just some sort of in-joke between peers. But in the interest of generating even the tiniest drop of intrigue from the tragically unlubricated Academy circle-jerk that chafed America's collective genitals for three hours and forty-seven minutes on Sunday night, we'll go right on believing that the cutthroat world of sound mixing is about to be rocked by a series of retaliatory murders over this public humiliation, each of which will be followed by shocking master recordings released to the media featuring nothing but the terrifying, grisly sounds of an unlucky engineer's brain being splattered against the glass of a mixing booth.