2019 IFMCA Award nominations announced


Today saw the announcement of the International Film Music Critics Association (IFMCA) 2019 Award nominations. Below is the announcement reproduced in full. Winners will be announced by the IFMCA on February 20, 2020.

FEBRUARY 6, 2020. The International Film Music Critics Association (IFMCA) announces its list of nominees for excellence in musical scoring in 2019, for the 16th annual IFMCA Awards. For the first time in IFMCA history a female composer leads the field, with Icelandic composer and cellist Hildur Guðnadóttir receiving five separate nominations for her work on the critically acclaimed comic-book drama “Joker,” and for the devastating HBO television series “Chernobyl”. These are the first nominations for Guðnadóttir, who is nominated in the categories for Film Score of the Year, Composer of the Year, Drama Score, Television Score, and Film Music Composition of the Year. IFMCA member James Southall was particularly complimentary about “Joker,” describing it as having ‘complexity in its extraordinary emotional depth,’ and calling it a ‘primal’ score which ‘made him think’.

Also nominated for both Score of the Year and Composer of the Year are veteran composers Alexandre Desplat, Thomas Newman, and John Williams. French composer Desplat’s most lauded score of 2019 is the one he wrote for director Greta Gerwig’s new adaption of the classic American novel “Little Women,” which is also nominated for Drama Score. IFMCA member Jon Broxton said that the score ‘overflows with gorgeous orchestrations, sublime instrumental combinations and harmonies,’ and has ‘a dramatic sense of freedom and movement, effortless elegance, and lush emotional content’. Desplat’s other major scores in 2019 include the French drama “Adults in the Room,” the animated sequel “The Secret Life of Pets 2,” and director Roman Polanski’s look at the Dreyfus Affair of 1906 in “J’accuse”. Desplat previously won the IFMCA Score of the Year award in 2008 for “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”.

American Thomas Newman receives his nominations mostly for his work on director Sam Mendes’s epic World War I action-drama “1917,” which is also nominated for Action/Adventure/Thriller Score and Film Music Composition of the Year. IFMCA member Daniel Schweiger called the score ‘a musical experience unlike any other’ that brings ‘the war to end all wars to daringly creative, and dramatically impactful musical life.’ Also in 2019, Newman wrote music for the Netflix drama “The Highwaymen,” which explores the Bonnie & Clyde story from a different perspective, and the biopic “Tolkien,” which is another WWI movie, albeit one that specifically looks at the wartime experiences of the author of The Lord of the Rings.

The legendary John Williams, who turns 88 next week, wrote the final installment in the Star Wars saga, “The Rise of Skywalker,” and in doing so completed a 40-year film music project spanning nine movies that may never be equalled in the history of cinema. The score, which is also nominated for Fantasy/SciFi/Horror Score and Film Music Composition of the Year, is described by IFMCA member James Southall as ‘one last brilliant piece of musical adventure to call time on his signature work … a triumphant conclusion to an extraordinary musical saga,’ who also said that ‘it’s simply impossible to overstate Williams’s contribution to the series’ success’. In a similar vein, IFMCA member Jon Broxton opined that ‘no-one has achieved the holy triumvirate of musical excellence, peer respect, and pop culture recognition the way that John Williams has,’ and described the entire Star Wars saga as ‘works of staggering genius and beauty … his Ring Cycle, the work that will define his life and his legacy, a nine-movement 25-hour masterpiece of enduring musical brilliance that has taken a full 42 years to come to fruition’. Williams has three prior IFMCA Score of the Year wins, for “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” in 2015, “War Horse” in 2011, and “Memoirs of a Geisha” in 2005.

The fifth nominee for Score of the Year is Englishman John Powell’s “How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World,” the third and final entry in the series of well-loved animated films based on the novels by Cressida Cowell. IFMCA member Christian Clemmensen said the score was ‘a satisfying conclusion to an incredible trilogy of music’ and noted that Powell’s work, led by three exuberant main themes of friendship and flying, has ‘become recognizable to children worldwide and has developed into the most famous musical anthem’ from any DreamWorks picture. Powell previously won the IFMCA Score of the Year awards in 2018 for “Solo” and in 2010 for the original “How to Train Your Dragon”.

The fifth nominee for Composer of the Year is American composer Bear McCreary, who wrote music for an astonishing six films and four television series in 2019. The most lauded of these are “Godzilla: King of the Monsters”, which is nominated in the Fantasy-SciFi-Horror category, and “The Professor and the Madman”, which is nominated in the Drama category. IFMCA member Florent Groult noted that McCreary ‘takes up [existing Godzilla themes] with great passion and turns them into a score that is massive and fantastic,’ while IFMCA member Randall Larson called it a ‘supremely impressive musical conception rich in agitato gestures and textured in dark, flaring colors; a magnificent work that will stay in memory for a long time’. McCreary’s other work in 2019 includes “Happy Death Day 2U,” “Rim of the World,” the reboot of “Child’s Play,” and “Eli,” as well as the TV shows “The Walking Dead,” “See,” and “Proven Innocent”. This is McCreary’s first Composer of the Year nomination, and his first IFMCA nominations outside the TV and Video Game categories.

Each year the IFMCA goes out of its way to recognize emerging talent in the film music world, and this year is no exception. The nominees in the Breakthrough Composer of the Year category are a diverse group, and the IFMCA is especially excited to reveal that two of the five nominees are women. British composer Nainita Desai impressed members with her spectacular, colorful score for the nature film “Untamed Romania,” which is also nominated in the Documentary category, as well as her scores for the Syrian civil war documentary “For Sama,” among others. Meanwhile, French composer Anne-Sophie Versnaeyen wrote a beautiful score for the nature documentary “Chambord,” having spent many years working as an orchestrator and arranger in French cinema for composers such as Alexandre Desplat and Guillaume Roussel.

The final three composers nominated for Breakthrough Composer are: British electronic composer Bobby Krlic, whose work on the disturbing horror film “Midsommar” earned many plaudits; French composer Mathieu Lamboley, who wrote a broad and expressive orchestral score for the animated film “Minuscule: Les Mandibules du Bout du Monde”; and German Christoph Zirngibl, whose music for the documentary feature “Finis Terrae” was rich and detailed in its musical exploration of big topics like faith and global politics.

As it has in previous years, the IFMCA takes pride in honoring composers from across the film music world; in addition to the ones already mentioned, this year’s international nominees include several from France (Bruno Coulais for “Blanche Comme Neige” in Comedy, Laurent Perez Del Mar for “Le Mystère Henri Pick” in Comedy, and Dan Levy for “I Lost My Body” in Animation), Spanish composers Arturo Cardelús (“Buñuel in the Labyrinth of the Turtles,” Animation) and Carlos Martín Jara (“Sordo: The Silent War,” Action/Adventure/Thriller), Japanese composer Naoki Sato (“Masquerade Hotel,” Action/Adventure/Thriller), and another Frenchman, this time scoring a movie from Sweden – Nathaniel Méchaly for “Eld & Lågor” aka “Swoon” in Comedy.

Several other composers are receiving their first-ever IFMCA Award nominations this year in addition to the aforementioned Cardelús, Levy, Martín, and Méchaly, including Scott Bomar (“Dolemite Is My Name,” Comedy), Gordy Haab (“Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order,” Game), Samuel Sim (“The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance,” Television), and Nathan Whitehead (“Days Gone,” Game).

The International Film Music Critics Association will announce the winners of the 16th IFMCA Awards on February 20, 2020.

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The nominees are:

FILM SCORE OF THE YEAR

  • 1917, music by Thomas Newman
  • HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON: THE HIDDEN WORLD, music by John Powell
  • JOKER, music by Hildur Guðnadóttir
  • LITTLE WOMEN, music by Alexandre Desplat
  • STAR WARS: THE RISE OF SKYWALKER, music by John Williams

FILM COMPOSER OF THE YEAR

  • ALEXANDRE DESPLAT
  • HILDUR GUÐNADÓTTIR
  • BEAR McCREARY
  • THOMAS NEWMAN
  • JOHN WILLIAMS

BREAKTHROUGH COMPOSER OF THE YEAR

  • NAINITA DESAI
  • BOBBY KRLIC
  • MATHIEU LAMBOLEY
  • ANNE-SOPHIE VERSNAEYEN
  • CHRISTOPH ZIRNGIBL

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE FOR A DRAMA FILM

  • A HIDDEN LIFE, music by James Newton Howard
  • JOKER, music by Hildur Guðnadóttir
  • LITTLE WOMEN, music by Alexandre Desplat
  • MOTHERLESS BROOKLYN, music by Daniel Pemberton
  • THE PROFESSOR AND THE MADMAN, music by Bear McCreary

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE FOR A COMEDY FILM

  • BLANCHE COMME NEIGE/WHITE AS SNOW, music by Bruno Coulais
  • DOLEMITE IS MY NAME, music by Scott Bomar
  • ELD & LÅGOR/SWOON, music by Nathaniel Méchaly
  • JOJO RABBIT, music by Michael Giacchino
  • LE MYSTÈRE HENRI PICK, music by Laurent Perez Del Mar

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE FOR AN ACTION/ADVENTURE/THRILLER FILM

  • 1917, music by Thomas Newman
  • DUMBO, music by Danny Elfman
  • THE MAN WHO KILLED HITLER AND THEN THE BIGFOOT, music by Joe Kraemer
  • MASQUERADE HOTEL, music by Naoki Sato
  • SORDO: THE SILENT WAR, music by Carlos Martín Jara

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE FOR A FANTASY/SCIENCE FICTION/HORROR FILM

  • AVENGERS: ENDGAME, music by Alan Silvestri
  • GODZILLA: KING OF THE MONSTERS, music by Bear McCreary
  • MIDSOMMAR, music by Bobby Krlic
  • STAR WARS: THE RISE OF SKYWALKER, music by John Williams
  • US, music by Michael Abels

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE FOR AN ANIMATED FEATURE

  • BUÑUEL IN THE LABYRINTH OF THE TURTLES, music by Arturo Cardelús
  • FROZEN II, music by Christophe Beck
  • HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON: THE HIDDEN WORLD, music by John Powell
  • J’AI PERDU MON CORPS/I LOST MY BODY, music by Dan Levy
  • MINISCULE: LES MANDIBULES DU BOUT DU MONDE, music by Mathieu Lamboley

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE FOR A DOCUMENTARY

  • THE BIGGEST LITTLE FARM, music by Jeff Beal
  • CYBER WORK AND THE AMERICAN DREAM, music by Chad Cannon
  • FINIS TERRAE, music by Christoph Zirngibl
  • OUR PLANET, music by Steven Price
  • UNTAMED ROMANIA, music by Nainita Desai

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE FOR TELEVISION

  • CHERNOBYL, music by Hildur Guðnadóttir
  • THE DARK CRYSTAL: AGE OF RESISTANCE, music by Daniel Pemberton and Samuel Sim
  • GOOD OMENS, music by David Arnold
  • HIS DARK MATERIALS, music by Lorne Balfe
  • THE ORVILLE, music by John Debney, Joel McNeely, and Andrew Cottee

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE FOR A VIDEO GAME OR INTERACTIVE MEDIA

  • DAYS GONE, music by Nathan Whitehead
  • ERICA, music by Austin Wintory
  • A PLAGUE TALE: INNOCENCE, music by Olivier Derivière
  • REND, music by Neal Acree
  • STAR WARS JEDI: FALLEN ORDER, music by Gordy Haab and Stephen Barton

BEST NEW ARCHIVAL RELEASE – RE-RELEASE OR RE-RECORDING

  • AIR FORCE ONE, music by Jerry Goldsmith; album produced by Cary E. Mansfield and Bryon Davis; liner notes by Daniel Schweiger; art direction by Mark Shoolery and Bill Pitzonka (Varèse Sarabande)
  • APOLLO 13, music by James Horner; album produced by Mike Matessino; liner notes by John Takis; art direction by Kay Marshall (Intrada)
  • THE BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN, music by Franz Waxman; album produced by Mike Matessino; liner notes by Frank K. DeWald and John Waxman; art direction by Dan Goldwasser (La La Land)
  • DIAL M FOR MURDER, music by Dimitri Tiomkin; The Royal Scottish National Orchestra, conducted by William Stromberg; album produced by Douglass Fake; liner notes by Roger Feigelson and Douglass Fake; art direction by Kay Marshall (Intrada)
  • DRACULA/THE CURSE OF FRANKENSTEIN, music by James Bernard; The City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Nic Raine; album produced by James Fitzpatrick; liner notes by David Huckvale; art direction by Nic Finch (Tadlow)

BEST NEW ARCHIVAL RELEASE – COMPILATION

  • ACROSS THE STARS, music by John Williams; The Recording Arts Orchestra of Los Angeles and Anne-Sophie Mutter, conducted by John Williams; album produced by Bernhard Güttler; liner notes by Jon Burlingame; art direction by Büro Dirk Rudolph (Deutsche Grammophon)
  • THE DISASTER MOVIE SOUNDTRACK COLLECTION, music by John Williams; album produced by Mike Matessino; liner notes by Jeff Bond and Jon Burlingame; art direction by Jim Titus (La La Land)
  • MARCO BELTRAMI: MUSIC FOR FILM, music by Marco Beltrami; The Brussels Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Dirk Brossé; album produced by Film Fest Gent; liner notes by Patrick Duynslaegher and Raf Butstraen; art direction by Stuart Ford (Silva Screen)
  • NEVADA SMITH: THE PARAMOUNT WESTERNS COLLECTION, music by Various Composers; album produced by John Takis and Frank K. DeWald; liner notes by John Takis and Frank K. DeWald; art direction by Dan Goldwasser (La La Land)
  • PLANET OF THE APES: THE ORIGINAL FILM SERIES SOUNDTRACK COLLECTION, music by Jerry Goldsmith, Leonard Rosenman, and Tom Scott; album produced by Mike Matessino and Neil S. Bulk; liner notes by Mike Matessino and Jeff Bond; art direction by Dan Goldwasser (La La Land)

FILM MUSIC RECORD LABEL OF THE YEAR

  • INTRADA RECORDS, Douglass Fake and Roger Feigelson
  • LA LA LAND RECORDS, MV Gerhard and Matt Verboys
  • MOVIESCORE MEDIA, Mikael Carlsson
  • MUSIC BOX RECORDS, Cyril Durand-Roger and Laurent Lafarge
  • QUARTET RECORDS, Jose M. Benitez

FILM MUSIC COMPOSITION OF THE YEAR

  • “A Hidden Life” from A HIDDEN LIFE, music by James Newton Howard
  • “Call Me Joker” from JOKER, music by Hildur Guðnadóttir
  • “Portals” from AVENGERS: ENDGAME, music by Alan Silvestri
  • “The Night Window” from 1917, music by Thomas Newman
  • “The Rise of Skywalker” from STAR WARS: THE RISE OF SKYWALKER, music by John Williams

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The International Film Music Critics Association (IFMCA) is an association of online, print and radio journalists who specialize in writing and broadcasting about original film, television and game music.

Since its inception, the IFMCA has grown to comprise over 65 members from countries such as Australia, Belgium, Canada, China, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Romania, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and the United States of America.

Previous IFMCA Score of the Year Awards have been awarded to John Powell’s “Solo” in 2018, Jonny Greenwood’s “Phantom Thread” in 2017, Jóhann Jóhannsson’s “Arrival” in 2016, John Williams’s “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” in 2015, Hans Zimmer’s “Interstellar” in 2014, Abel Korzeniowski’s “Romeo & Juliet” in 2013, Mychael Danna’s “Life of Pi” in 2012, John Williams’s “War Horse” in 2011, John Powell’s “How to Train Your Dragon” in 2010, Michael Giacchino’s “Up” in 2009, Alexandre Desplat’s “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” in 2008, Dario Marianelli’s “Atonement” in 2007, James Newton Howard’s “Lady in the Water” in 2006, John Williams’s “Memoirs of a Geisha” in 2005, and Michael Giacchino’s “The Incredibles” in 2004.

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