HOLLYWOOD: Sound mixer Kevin O'Connell on Sunday won an Oscar for his work on war drama "Hacksaw Ridge," breaking a rather epic losing streak -- he had been nominated 20 times before with no success.
O'Connell, whose 21 nominations have come over a 33-year period, appeared stunned as his name was read out and dedicated the award to his mother.
"A special thank you tonight to my mother, Skippy O'Connell, who 39 years ago got me a job in sound," he said.
"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 then someday, you go win yourself an Oscar and you can stand up there on that stage and you can thank me in front of the whole world'."
He told reporters that finally winning the golden statuette after so many tries was "the greatest feeling in my entire life."
O'Connell has worked on everything from classic blockbusters including "Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back" and "Raiders of the Lost Ark" to dramas like "Terms of Endearment" and "Memoirs of a Geisha."
He told reporters that "Top Gun" was probably the most difficult movie he had ever worked on.
"It was an incredible amount of work and we didn't have automation at the time," he said.
O'Connell shared the award on Sunday with Andy Wright, Robert Mackenzie and Peter Grace.
"Hacksaw Ridge," Mel Gibson's searing World War II drama, marked the filmmaker's return into Hollywood's good graces after a decade in the wilderness over accusations of anti-Semitism and homophobic slurs.
The film, which received six Oscar nods, tells the true story of Desmond Doss, played by Andrew Garfield, who enlists and is determined to save lives on the frontline, but refuses to carry a gun on moral grounds.
It won two awards -- for sound mixing and film editing.