An Oscar finally for soundman - after 21 nominations

Kevin O'Connell delivers a speech on stage after he won the Best Sound Mixing award for "Hacksaw Ridge" at the 89th Oscars on Feb 26, 2017 in Hollywood, California.
Kevin O'Connell delivers a speech on stage after he won the Best Sound Mixing award for "Hacksaw Ridge" at the 89th Oscars on Feb 26, 2017 in Hollywood, California.PHOTO: AFP

LOS ANGELES (NYTimes) - If at first you don't succeed, try, try, try, try, try, try, try, try, try, try, try, try, try, try, try, try, try, try, try, try again.

We should be clear, though: It would be wrong to suggest that Kevin O'Connell, who won the Oscar for Best Sound Mixing for Mel Gibson's Hacksaw Ridge on Sunday, had not succeeded until now.

You do not get 21 Oscar nominations without a long history of success. But his win broke a 20-nomination losing streak, the longest streak in Oscars history.

He was first nominated for the 1983 film Terms Of Endearment, losing to The Right Stuff. In the 34 years since, he has been credited on more than 200 movies.

In the speech he had long awaited, he began by thanking his colleagues, and then pivoted to a tribute to his mother: "And a special thank you tonight to my mother, Skippy O'Connell, who 39 years ago got me a job in sound and when I asked her, 'Ma, how can I ever thank you?' she looked at me and she said, 'You know, I'll tell you how you can thank me: You can work hard, you can work really hard, and some day you can go win yourself an Oscar, and you can stand up on that stage and you can thank me in front of the whole world.'

"Mom, I know you're looking down on me tonight. So, thank you. Thank you all so much. I really appreciate this."

O'Connell beat nominees including Singapore's Ai-Ling Lee, who with Andy Nelson and Steve A. Morrow, was named for work on La La Land.

Notable loser-winners in Oscar history include composer Randy Newman. He won an Oscar for Monsters Inc. on his 16th try in 2002.

"I don't want your pity," he said when he finally got to give an acceptance speech. "I want to thank first of all the music branch, for giving me so many chances to be humiliated over the years."