Oscar Artists: O’Connell, Kevin–Sound Mixer

For the 18th time, sound mixer Kevin O’Connell was nominated for an academy award, this year for his work on Memoirs of a Geisha. But, for the 18th time, he went home with nothing.

The academy has nominated O’Connell for his work on Terms of Endearment, Top Gun, A Few Good Men, Con Air, and Spider-Man among many others. But he holds the record for the most selections without a win and his continued misfortune begins to look almost supernatural.

Five of his first six nominations, for instance, were with his long-time collaborator Donald Mitchell; then in the first year they worked apart, Mitchell won the Oscar. On two occasions, in 1997 and 1999, O’Connell was even double-nominated, for Twister and The Rock, and The Mask of Zorro and Armageddon only to see his hopes dashed each time (by The English Patient and Saving Private Ryan).

“When they start reading off the nominations my body temperature goes up to 150,” O’Connell, 48, confessed in an interview after this year’s nominations were revealed. “I feel like my face is going to explode and I can’t hear anything. I don’t even hear my name being announced. I get flutters just talking about it.”

This year, Memoirs of a Geisha won for cinematography, art direction and costume design, but not for sound, which went to King Kong’s team. All four are previous Oscar winners.

Is it the fault of the academy’s voting system, which dictates that the list of nominations be chosen by one’s peers, but that the winners should then be voted for by the academy at large, many of whom are not informed, to say the least.