MTSU Alumnus Nominated for Academy Award in Best Sound

Story by Ethan Pickering | Lifestyles Editor

Feature Image courtesy of ABC.

Sound editor and Middle Tennessee State University Alumnus, Brian Chumney has been nominated for an Academy Award for best sound for the 2021 film, “West Side Story,” directed by Stephen Spielberg.

Chumney, who graduated from MTSU in 1998 majoring in recording industry management, now works for Skywalker Sound, a division of Lucasfilm. He has worked on sound for a number of movies over the past decade including “Solo: a Star Wars Story,” the “How to Train Your Dragon” series and “The Revenant.”


He got his foot-in-the-door to the film industry by moving to California and doing technical support for Lucasfilm. After making connections, he got offered a dialogue assistant job and is now currently a supervising sound editor for Skywalker Sound.

The film adaptation of the 1957 musical, “West Side Story,” came out in 1961, and now has been revived 60 years later in 2021.

“We watched (the original) in preparation for this new one,” Chumney said “I was never really a musical fan, but I was blown away by the cinematography and performances of the original.”

Chumney did majority of the work on “West Side Story” while the film was in post production. Along with a team of sound editors, he edited the dialogue and music for the musical film.

“You don’t just watch a movie, you listen to it,” Chumney said “sound is very important to all films.”

Chumney is the only MTSU alumnus to be nominated for an Academy Award in sound.

“I’m proud to be an MTSU alum,” said Chumney, “the things I learned in school definitely prepared me for this trail that I have blazed, and I am very grateful for that.”

The 94th Academy Awards are being hosted in Hollywood on Sunday, March 27, 2022.

To contact Lifestyles Editor Ethan Pickering, email

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