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Hildur Guðnadóttir, First Female Oscar Score Winner in 23 Years, Tells Women ‘We Need to Hear Your Voices’

Variety logo Variety 2/10/2020 Chris Willman
a woman in a black dress © Rob Latour/Shutterstock

Hildur Guðnadóttir became only the fourth woman to win an Academy Award for score as she walked away with honors for her “Joker” music Sunday night. She is the first woman to win for score in 23 years.

“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 accepting the award.

Guðnadóttir prevailed in the voting over four more veteran composers, three of whom already had Academy Awards. John Williams, who celebrated his 77th birthday the day before, was on his 52nd nomination, for the latest “Star Wars” film. Alexandre Desplat, nominated for “Little Women,” was a previous winner, as was Randy Newman, up for “Marriage Story,” although his two previous Oscar wins came in the song category. Among this year’s five nominees, only Thomas Newman, nominated for “1917,” lacks an Oscar now, after being up for it 15 times.

Iceland-born, Berlin-based Guðnadóttir represents a rare case of a composer being brought in before shooting to provide original music. She composed a theme for Joaquin Phoenix’s Joker character after reading the script, and the actor danced to the sound of her electro-acoustic cello on-set.

All the Oscar winners & highlights (via Photo Services)


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