‘Joker’ and ‘Chernobyl’ composer Hildur Guðnadóttir to follow historic awards sweep with Rewire Festival performance

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Hildur Guðnadóttir accepts the award for Best Original Score – Motion Picture at the Golden Globe on Jan. 5. [NBC photo]

For her haunting work on “Joker,” Icelandic composer Hildur Guðnadóttir not only became the first woman to win best original score at the Oscars as the category is currently structured, but she also completed an awards season sweep that may well be unprecedented.

While Guðnadóttir is the first woman to win in the best original score category as we’ve known it for the past two decades, she is not the first woman to win an Academy Award for score: Marilyn Bergman shared a best original song score Oscar with her husband Alan Bergman and Michel Legrand for their work on “Yentl” in 1984. Female composers Rachel Portman and Anne Dudley won the best original musical or comedy score Oscars back to back in 1996 and 1997 for their scores on “Emma” and “The Full Monty,” respectively. But Guðnadóttir is the first to be honored for best original score since the category was restructured as such in 1999, according to EW.

“To the girls, to the women, to the mothers, to the daughters who hear the music bubbling within, please speak up. We need to hear your voices,” she said in her Oscars acceptance speech.

For her haunting “Joker” score, Guðnadóttir also won the BAFTA on Feb. 2, the Critics Choice award on Jan. 12, the inaugural Society of Composers & Lyricists award Jan. 7, and the Golden Globe on Jan. 5, according to Variety.

Born in Iceland and based in Berlin, she preceded her “Joker” wins with an Emmy Award victory for her work on the HBO miniseries “Chernobyl” on Sept. 15 and a Grammy win for the soundtrack of that score on Jan. 26.

“It’s been overwhelming at times, I’m not going to lie,” she said, per Variety.

Consider that in one five-month period, the composer, cellist and singer suddenly finds herself just a Tony Award away from EGOT status.

Guðnadóttir’s sweep may well be a singular accomplishment for a film and television composer, Variety reports. Michael Giacchino appears to come the closest, with an Oscar, Grammy, BAFTA and Critics Choice award for “Up” all in less than two months in early 2010. He also earned an Emmy for “Lost,” but that was six years earlier, not during the same season.

On the film side, she won over more veteran composers – all men – which at the Oscars included three who had already earned Academy Awards. John was on his 52nd nomination, for “Star Wars: Episode IX – The Rise of Skywalker.” Alexandre Desplat, nominated for “Little Women,” was already a two-time Oscar winner going into this year’s 92nd Academy Awards, as was “Marriage Story” composer Randy Newman. Among this year’s five nominees, only “1917” composer Thomas Newman has yet to win an Oscar, although he has been nominated 15 times, according to Variety.

“Thank you to the Academy for welcoming me so warmly,” she said in her acceptance speech. “My fellow nominees, masters of the craft, it’s been such an honor to get to know you all

Guðnadóttir, 37, is considering offers for future film and TV projects, Variety reports.

She will present an extended spatial performance of her Emmy-winning “Chernobyl” score April 3 with celebrated BBC nature recordist Chris Watson and composer Sam Slater, with lighting design by Theresa Baumgartner, at the Rewire Festival in The Hague, Netherlands.

According to Variety, she also is expected to participate in a series of live-to-picture concerts of her “Joker” music.
The live Joker event, featuring a full orchestra, will begin at London’s Eventim Apollo on April 30 before touring the UK until July. It will also expand to European and further international locations, with dates and venues to be announced, according to Deadline.

The London opening will be conducted by Jeff Atmajian – the conductor and orchestrator of the original soundtrack – with Dave Mahoney of concert outfit Senbla conducting the UK Tour dates, Deadline reports.

“I’m thrilled to get to see and hear Joker in the cinema with a live orchestra. When we recorded the music, the orchestra brought such depth and detailed attention to the performances that we were all literally holding our breaths during most of the recording sessions. It was a beautiful trip. I’m so happy to get to go there again and for an audience to experience that too,” Guðnadóttir said.


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