“Joker” composer Hildur Guðnadóttir made Oscar history Sunday, becoming the fourth woman to (ever) take home the coveted award of Best Original Score. Her win also marks the first time a woman has received the award since 1997.
“To the girls, to the women, to the mothers, to the daughters, who hear the music bubbling within, please speak up,” the Icelandic composer said during her acceptance speech. “We need to hear your voices.”
Guðnadóttir’s win comes on the heels of a highly decorated season for the musician. Prior to Sunday’s broadcast of the Oscars, the composer swept up Golden Globe, Critics’ Choice and BAFTA awards for her “Joker” score — making her the first female composer to win at each ceremony during a single season. The Oscar places the musician just one Tony Award away from joining the prestigious EGOT club.
While creating the score for the Todd Phillips-directed film, Guðnadóttir said in an interview with NPR that she tried to establish an emphatic connection between her music and the character of Arthur Fleck (also known as the Joker). To do so, she turned toward her own inner feelings of darkness to draw out sensations of isolation and loneliness.
“I sat down with the cello to kind of just find my way into his voice and into his head,” Guðnadóttir said in the interview. “And I’m just like kind of holding onto this feeling that I had after reading the script. As soon as I played those first notes, it really hit me in the chest somehow, and it was a really strong, physical reaction that I got. And I was like, yes, this is it.”
Guðnadóttir’s win beat out competition from John Williams (“Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker”), Randy Newman (“Marriage Story”), Alexandre Desplat (“Little Women”) and Thomas Newman (“1917”).
Earlier this season, Guðnadóttir nabbed her first Emmy for her Chernobyl soundtrack, which also picked up a Grammy for Best Score Soundtrack for Visual Media in January.
Top Image: Hildur Guðnadóttir accepts the Oscar for Original Score during the live ABC Telecast of The 92nd Oscars at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood, CA on Sunday, Feb. 9, 2020. Photo: Blaine Ohigashi / ©A.M.P.A.S.