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Sound Mixer Peter J. Devlin on Returning to Wakanda and Why He’s Feeling Good About the Academy’s Future


March 3, 2023

Peter J. Devlin — who started his career as an audio assistant at the BBC and went on to work on big action movies including Black Panther: Wakanda Forever and smaller dramatic films such as Frost/Nixon — will accept the Cinema Audio Society’s Career Achievement Award. Devlin has worked on more than 70 films and received Oscar nominations for five of them, including Star Trek and Pearl Harbor. Last year, he became the first production sound mixer to be elected a governor of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences.

Regarding working on the Black Panther series, Devlin says it was important to be involved early on, with collaborators including costume designer Ruth E. Carter, who “spent so much time with me, weeks ahead of the project, to go through all the different costumes and devise a plan as to how to get those mics on those actors.”

He remembers Chadwick Boseman with respect and warmth. “Chadwick stayed in character, the whole movie. I never got to meet Chadwick until the very last day on Black Panther, when I took the microphone off him, and suddenly it was Chadwick,” says Devlin. “He really had such a gentle quality to him and he impacted everybody on that set. … He was remembered every single day on the set of Wakanda Forever.”

Devlin also tells THR that he is honored to be a part of the Academy board; education about and awareness of all categories is of particular interest to him. Asked about last year’s controversial move to present eight categories including sound before the televised show (the Academy has said that this year, all awards will be presented live), Devlin reflects, “As a kid growing up in Belfast, I actually watched the Academy Awards to look at who those craftspeople were. That’s what influenced me because I knew I would never be in front of the camera. So not to have those people on the show, that’s not what the Academy Awards is about.”

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