59th Anniversary Motion Picture Sound Editors

2012 MPSE Career Achievement Award Recipient

George Watters II

George Watters II is a two-time Academy Award winning supervising sound editor. He won Oscars in 1990 for The Hunt for Red October, and again in 2001 for Pearl Harbor. He has eight Academy Award nominations including Top Gun (1986), Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country (1991), Crimson Tide (1995), Armageddon (1998), Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl ( 2003), and Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Mans Chest (2006). He is a four-time MPSE winner and has been nominated for three Bafta Awards.

Among George’s other film credits are Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time, The Chronicles of Narnia, The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe, Hitch, Man on Fire, Sweet Home Alabama, Dejà Vu, The National Treasure films, Gone in 60 Seconds, Thomas Crown Affair, Bad Boys ll, Enemy of the State, Con Air, The Rock, Patriot Games, Days of Thunder, Beverly Hills Cop 1 and 2, Witness, Crocodile Dundee ll, Naked Gun 1 & 2, Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, Star Trek III: The Search for Spock and Flashdance.

George got his start in the film business in 1973. After several different studio interviews, he was hired as an apprentice in the Television Sound Editing Department at Paramount Pictures. “I was very excited because at that time they were producing such shows as Mission Impossible, Mannix, Love American Style and the Odd Couple, which were shows I was familiar with having seen them on tv. The department also had many movies of the week and televsion pilots that I was able to work on. I was very fortunate in the timing because there was so much going on.”

After the TV season ended, George moved over to Feature Sound Editing. “At that time I had the opportunity to work a bit in picture editing and music editing, but I found I preferred sound FX editing. Sound is sculptural, imaginative, universal and for me the most creative medium.”

The following year George assisted and learned from many of the top Feature Film Sound Editors working on such movies as Chinatown, Marathon Man, and the Longest Yard, among others. “It was a great opportunity for me to spend a lot of time in the cutting room as well as on the dubbing stage observing how many great directors of that period including Roman Polanski, John Schlessinger and Robert Aldrich mixed their films.” George’s first feature film credit as a Supervising Sound Editor was American Hot Wax in 1978. He continued to work on many movies at Paramount Studios as a Supervising Sound Editor until 1992.

After leaving Paramount he worked at Universal, Warner Brothers, 20th Century Fox and finally Walt Disney Studios from 2000-2011. George has focused his entire film career on sound editing and consequently has supervised seventy-six feature films over the last thirty-three years.

George has been a Supervising Sound Editor on Jerry Bruckheimer Films for thirty years. “I am so grateful for the support and trust Jerry has consistently given to me and my crew. He has always allowed us the freedom to be creative, demonstrating his commitment to sound which probably stems from his natural understanding and appreciation of it. His recognition of detail makes all the effort worthwhile. He continually produces diverse types of films where sound plays a key role. For me personally it is a dream come true.”

George has been privileged to work with many esteemed directors throughout his career. He has worked on multiple films with Tony Scott, Michael Bay, Jon Turtletaub, Gore Verbinski, and Leonard Nimoy among others. Additionally he has worked with Kenneth Branagh, John Woo, Peter Weir, John McTiernan and Carl Reiner.

To me, sound plays such an important part in movies. I approach each film project as a unique opportunity. When you work on a film and it is completed, your work in relationship to the film lasts forever.

When sound works it has a lasting contribution.”

The film making process is a group effort. I have been so lucky throughout my career to have worked with so many really great crews.

Each person on the sound crew contributes something unique to each project and as a supervisor I feel it is important to recognize this. Additionally I enjoy the collaborative effort of working with everyone on the dubbing stage during the mixing process. It is rewarding to watch how all the different pieces come together.”

Outside of work George’s interests include collecting Shelby Mustangs, vintage baseball cards and memorabilia and vintage surfboards. He was a drummer for many years during the 1960’s in rock and roll bands and continues a lifelong interest in a multitude of musical genres.

He and his wife Shan, spend time between their homes in Sherman Oaks and Cambria, a beach town on the California Central Coast. They have two daughters, and two grandchildren.

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