Phillip Bladh is among a small subset of people who can say they’ve personally won an Oscar. The number of Oscar winners is under 5,000 as of today. As our first known Oscar-winning alumni, we are proud to induct Phillip into our Spotlight Academy Class of 2023. Not only has the Academy recognized Phillip for his production sound mixing work, but he’s also won 9 additional awards including the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA), Association of Motion Picture Sound (AMPS), and the Cinema Audio Society for Sound of Metal.
The road to finding success didn’t happen overnight. Phillip spent almost 12 years working as a production sound mixer on various film productions before winning big with Sound of Metal.
The Los Angeles Recording School Connection
His passion for production audio began in high school with a recording studio that students could use to record all sorts of segments. Phillip tinkered with different mics and audio tools for fun and really developed a love of sound through that early exposure to a recording studio. The traditional college route wasn’t for Phillip after he gave community college a shot.
“In the game of life, when you spin the thing and you can either go to college or you can just get in the car and go… I just kind of got in the car and went,” said Phillip.
That car trip led Phillip and his girlfriend at the time (now wife) down Sunset Blvd. and past The Los Angeles Recording School. He toured the recording facilities and signed up for classes that same day.
First Job as Production Sound Mixer
The recording school gave Phillip the training he needed to start pursuing jobs on set as a production sound mixer. Internships also played a big part in Phillip’s early success. He did a production internship and worked as a boom operator to get some exposure working in sound on a film set. He would talk to the sound crew as if they were colleagues and pick their brains about the kind of gear they used and the techniques that helped get good sound.
Bigger film productions eventually called Phillip for sound gigs including— Sausage Party (2016) starring Seth Rogen and Jonah Hill, The Lovers (2017) starring Debra Winger, and Destroyer (2108) starring Nicole Kidman.
The Lovers producing team had known Phillip’s work from the movie and called him about doing Sound of Metal.
“The producers couldn’t find anyone in Boston who would do the movie [Sound of Metal] for the rate they were offering. It was kind of a perfect storm of… I’m a person who has a passion for recording music, I was available and had worked with the producer before, and at the same time, I had worked on a show for Sundance Now that had two deaf actors on it,” said. Phillip.
“Again, I read the script and sent them notes, and said I would do anything to work on this movie. From there, I interviewed with the director and was hired on the project.”
The rest is… history.
What is Phillip Bladh up to Now?
Phillip lives in New Mexico with his wife and two kids. He still works as a production sound mixer and his recent projects include Flamin’ Hot directed by Eva Longoria (releasing on Hulu and Disney+ in April 2023), C’mon C’mon, and he is signed on to the Warner Bros. live-action/animated hybrid film, Coyote Vs. Acme. In 2023, The L.A. Film School nominated Phillip for the Spotlight Academy where he will be inducted on June 29, 2023, in a live ceremony at Ivar Theatre.