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100 Women We Love: Class of 2011

photo by Darren Decker, A.M.P.A.S
Lora Hirschberg

This year, Lora Hirschberg (right) became the first woman—and the first out lesbian—to win the Best Achievement in Sound Mixing Academy Award for her work on Inception, which also garnered her the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) Award for Best Film Sound. Born near Cleveland, Hirschberg studied film and music at NYU, and immediately began working in film sound in New York. In 1989 she was hired to work a ground-floor level film sound job in American Zoetrope’s machine room, prompting her auspicious move to San Francisco. Hirschberg has since mixed sound for more than 60 films, many of them at her current home with Skywalker Sound, including Howl, Rent, Shortbus, Panic Room, Adaptation and Quills. She has always been out at work, and her long and successful career has been punctuated with numerous honors, including an Emmy nomination for sound work on HBO's The Celluloid Closet in 1996, and her first Academy Award Nomination for Best Sound Mixing for The Dark Knight in 2009. Hirschberg continues to live in the Bay Area with her wife and two daughters. –DP

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