Hildur Guðnadóttir shattered the glass ceiling by being the first woman to be awarded a Golden Globe for Best Original Film Score for her work in “Joker”. She was also nominated for hew work in the TV series “Chernobyl”.
Her “Joker” score topped the nominations of such estimable composers like Alexandre Desplat for “Little Women”, Randy Newman for “Marriage Story”, Thomas Newman for “1917” and Daniel Pemberton for “Motherless Brooklyn”.
Guðnadóttir has also bagged a Grammy nomination! Last year the world witnessed a string of revolutionary female artists like Taylor Swift, Lizzo, Billie Elish, etc making a statement with just their impressive bodies of work.
“I’m speechless. This is unbelievable,” Guðnadóttir said, accepting her Golden Globe. “Thank you, Todd (Phillips, the director), for inviting me on the journey of a lifetime, for all the trust and faith and your openness.” She also thanked Joaquin Phoenix for making her job easy. Phoenix used the score to fully mould his character and really get into the skin of the unfunny clown, emphasising the impact of the music and its role in the film’s narrative.
In her speech, Guðnadóttir addressed the wariness in the industry that prevented female composers from being given huge projects like hers. She thanked the valiant efforts of those in and out of the industry because of whom such leaps have become possible!
When asked about her piece in “Joker” she said “In the beginning, you feel like you’re listening only to a solo cello, but there are almost 100 people playing throughout the score,” she said. “As the film develops, the orchestra steps more and more in front and, by the end, kind of suffocates the cello. This poor guy gets so angry, and the orchestra gets angry with him; everything gets louder and more aggressive, and the music really punches you in the face.”
The composer performed all of the cello passages in her Berlin studio. It was then mixed with the orchestra, recorded later in New York.
The only other woman to share the honour of this particular Golden Globe was Lisa Gerrard, who was a co-winner with Hans Zimmer for “Gladiator” in 2000.
Well it looks like 2020 is off to a great start!