Would The Dark Knight have been as impressive without the engulfing explosive sounds created as The Joker briskly walked away from the hospital he just incinerated? Would it have been as thrilling if Batman’s batpod mimicked the sound of your average car, instead of the growling engine of a lightning-fast machine as it raced with rocket grenades? Would the movie have been so dramatic without capturing the last echoing howl from The Joker, strung up like a puppet above Gotham? The answer is clear: Absolutely not.

The role of sound in The Dark Knight was one of the crucial elements in making the movie the blockbuster success it was and it is a role that is not going unnoticed. Gary Rizzo, a Full Sail University Recording Arts Graduate and Valedictorian, has been nominated for an Academy Award in the category of Best Sound Mixing alongside Lora Hirschberg and Ed Novick for their work on Christopher Nolan’s box office hit.

The nomination is just another indication of Rizzo’s great contribution to the world of moviemaking. Currently serving in the position of re-recording mixer, Rizzo has had a long career in sound mixing since graduating in 1993, working on such varied films as Titanic, Dogma, Hellboy, Fahrenheit 9/11, Batman Begins and Horton Hears a Who! The Dark Knight is Rizzo’s second Oscar nomination for Sound Mixing, having received one for his work on 2004’s The Incredibles.

But while Rizzo’s career has taken him far away from his alma mater, Full Sail University couldn’t be more proud of their former student’s success. “To say that Gary’s career has been exemplary and extraordinary is an understatement,” says Full Sail’s director of alumni relations, Jay Noble. “The entire Full Sail family is immensely proud of not only the quality of work that he has demonstrated as an artist in his craft, but also of the man that he has become. We are all cheering for him on Oscar night and know that no matter the outcome, he will continue to have an amazing career journey with many more celebrations to share.”