Shenendehowa grad wins Oscar for sound mixing in ‘Whiplash’

Thomas Curley, left, Ben Wilkins and Craig Mann pose in the press room with the award for best sound mixing for “Whiplash” at the Oscars on Sunday, Feb. 22, 2015, at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. AP Photo.Thomas Curley, left, Ben Wilkins and Craig Mann pose in the press room with the award for best sound mixing for “Whiplash” at the Oscars on Sunday, Feb. 22, 2015, at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. AP Photo.

JEFF WILKIN
Gazette Reporter

Former Capital Region resident Thomas Curley has something in common with movie stars Eddie Redmayne and Julianne Moore.

All three won Oscar awards Sunday night, during the 87th Academy Awards ceremony.

While Redmayne and Moore won for their lead roles in “The Theory of Everything” and “Still Alice,” respectively, Curley was on the three-man team that won for sound mixing in “Whiplash,” an independent film about a student jazz drummer who seeks the respect of an abusive teacher.

Craig Mann and Ben Wilkins also received Oscars for the sound work.

The 39-year-old Curley, who was born in Troy and graduated from Shenendehowa High School in Clifton Park, graduated from the University of Buffalo with a degree in film studies. He worked as a broadcast engineer for Fox and NBC television affiliates, and got his big break working as a production assistant on 2002’s “The Time Machine,” parts of which were shot in Troy and other parts of the Capital Region.

During the shoot, Curley met Academy Award winner David MacMillan, who introduced him to location sound recording work. Shortly after “Time Machine” shooting, Curley moved to Los Angeles to pursue production sound on a full-time basis.

Curley and his brother Brian are the principals at Curley Sound in North Hollywood.

“My approach to production sound is simple,” Curley said on the Curley Sound web site. “I analyze each shot as it comes. I discuss the shot with my crew, and production, and choose sound setups based on what is best for the production — not what is most convenient — at all times.”

In addition to “Whiplash” — which won awards for supporting actor J.K. Simmons and for film editing — Curley also has worked on films such as 2012’s “Electric Slide,” “Lovelace” and “Stand Up Guys.”

About the Author

Erin K. O'Neill
Erin K. O'Neill is the Web Editor at The Daily Gazette of Schenectady, NY.