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INTERNATIONAL FILM MUSIC CRITICS ASSOCIATION AWARDS NOMINATIONS ANNOUNCED


The International Film Music Critics Association (IFMCA) announces its list of nominees for excellence in musical scoring in 2023, for the 20th annual IFMCA Awards. Composers John Williams and Christopher Young lead the list of composer nominees with four nominations each, closely followed by Lorne Balfe, Stephen Barton, Ludwig Göransson, and Bear McCreary, who each have three.

 

Legendary American composer Williams’s nominations are all for his work on Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny, the fifth film in the beloved action-adventure series starring Harrison Ford as the eponymous globetrotting archaeologist. Dial of Destiny received nominations for Score of the Year, Best Action/Adventure score, and Composition of the Year for the score’s main theme, “Helena’s Theme,” while Williams himself was nominated for Composer of the Year.

 

IFMCA member James Southall praised Dial of Destiny as “a nostalgic throwback to those great times of the past – a set of meticulously-composed new music by one of the greatest film composers we’ve ever had – an exhibition in skill and technique with the orchestra which is guaranteed to go beyond almost any other film music we hear this year.” Similarly, IFMCA member Christian Clemmensen said that the score was “an especially gratifying treat and an immense pleasure to hear in the 2020’s. It extends the quality of the prior two [Indiana Jones] works and continues to espouse the uniquely superior aspects of Williams’s writing from decades past”.

 

Like Williams, American composer Young’s nominations are all for his work on one film: the stylish horror The Piper, directed by Erlingur Óttar Thoroddsen and starring Charlotte Hope and the late Julian Sands. The score is nominated for Score of the Year, Best Horror/Thriller Score, and Composition of the Year for the second movement of the score’s pivotal “Concerto for Flute and Orchestra,” and Young is nominated for Composer of the Year.

 

IFMCA member Jon Broxton stated that the score was “sensational… an encapsulation of everything that has ever made Young’s music great… a huge Gothic horror score for the full orchestra, choir, and various specialty instruments which is endlessly creative, compositionally and intellectually, and as well as being scary and chilling, also packs an emotional punch.” Likewise, IFMCA member Conrado Xalabarder described the score as “a powerful creation with symphonic and choral music for adults and children… it is deceptively innocent, it is macabre and insane, it causes madness and death… another of Christopher Young’s dazzling creations”.

 

The other nominees for Score of the Year are The Boy and the Heron by Japanese composer Joe Hisaishi, Godzilla Minus One by Japanese composer Naoki Sato, and Oppenheimer by Swedish composer by Ludwig Göransson. The Boy and the Heron is the latest collaboration between Hisaishi and director/animator Hayao Miyazaki, a relationship that goes all the way back to 1984 with Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind; the music is both deeply emotional and playfully whimsical, capturing the essence of the magic inherent in Miyazaki’s visually stunning film.

 

Godzilla Minus One is the latest entry into the series of films featuring the iconic kaiju character that was first introduced in 1954; Sato’s score for the film is a modern, sometimes aggressive, sometimes poignant musical reflection of life in post-World War II Japan, and also contains several appropriate acknowledgements of composer Akira Ifukube’s classic music for the series. Oppenheimer is director Christopher Nolan’s expansive biopic of J. Robert Oppenheimer, the theoretical physicist credited with being the “father of the atomic bomb” for his role in the 1940s Manhattan Project that developed the first nuclear weapons; Göransson’s music for the film is a dense, intricate, powerful score that reflects the balance between Oppenheimer’s humanity and the devastating consequences of his work.

 

The other nominees for Composer of the Year are Scottish composer Lorne Balfe, and Americans Laura Karpman and Bear McCreary. Balfe’s enormously varied work in 2023 included the latest installment of the hit Tom Cruise spy thriller series Mission: Impossible - Dead Reckoning, Part One (nominated in the Action/Adventure category), the groundbreaking Netflix nature documentary series Life on Our Planet (nominated in the Documentary category), the irreverent fantasy adventure based on the classic role-playing game Dungeons & Dragons: Honour Among Thieves, the motor racing drama Gran Turismo, and the period drama Tetris, which reveals the incredible story behind the creation of the classic block-stacking computer game.

 

Karpman received acclaim for her outstanding work on two very different films in 2023: the authentic jazz she wrote for the satirical literary-themed comedy American Fiction (nominated in the Comedy category), and the bold and exciting action score she wrote for the super-hero fantasy sequel The Marvels. Similarly, the ever-busy McCreary wrote excellent music across all genres, encompassing film, television, and video games, and his most lauded works included the comedy-horror We Have a Ghost, the vampire horror The Last Voyage of the Demeter (nominated in the Horror/Thriller category), the latest seasons of TV series such as Foundation, Outlander, and Percy Jackson and the Olympians, and two impressive game scores for God of War: Ragnarök – Valhalla (nominated in the Video Game category) and Forspoken.

 

The other composer with three nominations in 2023 is Englishman Stephen Barton, who along with Frederik Weidmann co-wrote a spectacular homage to classic Star Trek music for the third season of the Paramount+ TV series Star Trek: Picard, and then along with Gordy Haab co-wrote a spectacular homage to classic Star Wars music for the video game Star Wars: Jedi – Survivor. In addition to their nominations in their respective genre categories, the “Leaving Spacedock” cue from Star Trek: Picard is also nominated for Composition of the Year.

 

Each year the IFMCA makes special efforts 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, spanning continents and styles. American composer Sherri Chung, having spent years writing additional music for numerous WB super-hero TV series, broke out in her own right in 2023 with several projects, the most acclaimed of which was her outstanding music for the HBO Max animated series Gremlins: Secrets of the Mogwai. French composer Michael “Mika” Penniman Jr. successfully made the difficult jump from pop music to film music with his excellent score for the action/adventure Princes of the Desert, and American composer Corey Wallace – who has been writing music for low-budget features and short films for nearly 20 years – finally got his breakout this year with his superb, traditional orchestral adventure score for the tornado disaster movie Supercell.

 

Then there are the two Polish composers, Paweł Lucewicz and Łukasz “L.U.C” Rostkowski, who broke into the international film music scene with their scores for two very different but equally acclaimed films. Lucewicz’s score was for Forgotten Love, a remake of a beloved Polish film from the 1980s, which elicited a score of great beauty and deep emotion to follow the story of man searching for his lost family. Rostkowski’s score was for The Peasants, a painstakingly artistic animated film for which the former rapper-turned-composer blended traditional folk music with modern orchestral textures, resulting in a score which is a spectacular, joyous celebration of pan-Slavic musical culture.

 

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: Finnish composer Panu Aaltio for the children’s action/adventure sequel Rangers of the Lost Ring, Japanese composer Takeshi Furukawa for the video game Planet of Lana, Spanish composer Oscar Martín Leanizbarrutia for the religion-themed documentary Libres, Japanese composer Takatsugu Muramatsu for the murder/mystery comedy In Love and Deep Water, French composer Philippe Rombi for the crime caper comedy The Crime is Mine, and Turkish composer Pinar Toprak for the fantasy video game Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora.

 

Several composers are receiving their first ever IFMCA Award nominations this year in addition to the aforementioned newcomers; these are Sonya Belousova (One Piece, Television), Kris Bowers (Haunted Mansion, Comedy), Jerskin Fendrix (Poor Things, Fantasy/SciFi), Kevin Kiner (Ahsoka, Television), Peter Murray (Hogwarts Legacy, Game), Chuck E. Myers (Hogwarts Legacy, Game), The Newton Brothers (The Fall of the House of Usher, Television), Giona Ostinelli (One Piece, Television), Martin Phipps (Napoleon, Drama), J. Scott Rakozy (Hogwarts Legacy, Game), Mark Ronson (Barbie, Comedy), Anthony Willis (M3gan, Horror/Thriller), and Andrew Wyatt (Barbie, Comedy).

 

The International Film Music Critics Association will announce the winners of the 20th IFMCA Awards LIVE on the IFMCA YouTube channel on February 22, 2024.

 

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The complete list of nominees is as follows:

 

SCORE OF THE YEAR

 

•       GOJIRA-1.0/GODZILLA MINUS ONE, music by Naoki Sato

•       INDIANA JONES AND THE DIAL OF DESTINY, music by John Williams

•       KIMITACHI WA DŌ IKIRU/THE BOY AND THE HERON, music by Joe Hisaishi

•       OPPENHEIMER, music by Ludwig Göransson

•       THE PIPER, music by Christopher Young

 

COMPOSER OF THE YEAR

 

•       LORNE BALFE

•       LAURA KARPMAN

•       BEAR MCCREARY

•       JOHN WILLIAMS

•       CHRISTOPHER YOUNG

 

BREAKTHROUGH COMPOSER OF THE YEAR

 

•       SHERRI CHUNG

•       PAWEŁ LUCEWICZ

•       MICHAEL “MIKA” PENNIMAN JR.

•       ŁUKASZ “L.U.C” ROSTKOWSKI

•       COREY WALLACE

 

COMPOSITION OF THE YEAR

 

•       “Can You Hear the Music?” from OPPENHEIMER, music by Ludwig Göransson

•       “Concerto for Flute and Orchestra, Movement 2” from THE PIPER, music by Christopher Young

•       “Found” from LA SOCIEDAD DE LA NIEVE/SOCIETY OF THE SNOW, music by Michael Giacchino

•       “Helena's Theme” from INDIANA JONES AND THE DIAL OF DESTINY, music by John Williams

•       “Leaving Spacedock” from STAR TREK: PICARD, music by Stephen Barton and Frederik Wiedmann

 

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE FOR A DRAMA FILM

 

•       THE BOYS IN THE BOAT, music by Alexandre Desplat

•       NAPOLEON, music by Martin Phipps

•       OPPENHEIMER, music by Ludwig Göransson

•       LA SOCIEDAD DE LA NIEVE/SOCIETY OF THE SNOW, music by Michael Giacchino

•       ZNACHOR/FORGOTTEN LOVE, music by Paweł Lucewicz

 

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE FOR A COMEDY FILM

 

•       AMERICAN FICTION, music by Laura Karpman

•       BARBIE, music by Mark Ronson and Andrew Wyatt

•       HAUNTED MANSION, music by Kris Bowers

•       KUREIJI KURUZU/IN LOVE AND DEEP WATER, music by Takatsugu Muramatsu

•       MON CRIME/THE CRIME IS MINE, music by Philippe Rombi

 

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE FOR AN ACTION/ADVENTURE FILM

 

•       THE HUNGER GAMES: THE BALLAD OF SONGBIRDS AND SNAKES, music by James Newton Howard

•       INDIANA JONES AND THE DIAL OF DESTINY, music by John Williams

•       MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE - DEAD RECKONING, PART ONE, music by Lorne Balfe

•       PERTSA & KILU: FAARAON SORMUS/RANGERS OF THE LOST RING, music by Panu Aaltio

•       SUPERCELL, music by Corey Wallace

 

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE FOR A FANTASY/SCIENCE FICTION FILM

 

•       THE CREATOR, music by Hans Zimmer

•       FENG SHEN DI YI BU: ZHAO GE FENG YUN/CREATION OF THE GODS I: KINGDOM OF STORMS, music by Gordy Haab

•       GOJIRA-1.0/GODZILLA MINUS ONE, music by Naoki Sato

•       PETER PAN & WENDY, music by Daniel Hart

•       POOR THINGS, music by Jerskin Fendrix

 

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE FOR A HORROR/THRILLER FILM

 

•       A HAUNTING IN VENICE, music by Hildur Guđnadóttir

•       THE LAST VOYAGE OF THE DEMETER, music by Bear McCreary

•       M3GAN, music by Anthony Willis

•       THE NUN II, music by Marco Beltrami

•       THE PIPER, music by Christopher Young

 

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE FOR AN ANIMATED FILM

 

•       CHŁOPI/THE PEASANTS, music by Łukasz “L.U.C” Rostkowski

•       ELEMENTAL, music by Thomas Newman

•       KIMITACHI WA DŌ IKIRU/THE BOY AND THE HERON, music by Joe Hisaishi

•       MIGRATION, music by John Powell

•       SPIDER-MAN: ACROSS THE SPIDER-VERSE, music by Daniel Pemberton

 

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE FOR A DOCUMENTARY

 

•       BLUE WHALES: RETURN OF THE GIANTS, music by Steven Price

•       LIBRES, music by Oscar Martín Leanizbarrutia

•       LIFE ON OUR PLANET, music by Lorne Balfe

•       STILL: A MICHAEL J. FOX MOVIE, music by John Powell

•       WILD ISLES, music by George Fenton

 

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE FOR TELEVISION

 

•       AHSOKA, music by Kevin Kiner

•       ALL THE LIGHT WE CANNOT SEE, music by James Newton Howard

•       THE FALL OF THE HOUSE OF USHER, music by The Newton Brothers

•       ONE PIECE, music by Sonya Belousova and Giona Ostinelli

•       STAR TREK: PICARD, music by Stephen Barton and Frederik Wiedmann

 

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE FOR A VIDEO GAME OR INTERACTIVE MEDIA

 

•       AVATAR: FRONTIERS OF PANDORA, music by Pinar Toprak and Neal Acree

•       GOD OF WAR: RAGNARÖK – VALHALLA, music by Sparks & Shadows, themes by Bear McCreary

•       HOGWARTS LEGACY, music by Chuck E. Myers, J. Scott Rakozy, and Peter Murray

•       PLANET OF LANA, music by Takeshi Furukawa

•       STAR WARS: JEDI – SURVIVOR, music by Stephen Barton and Gordy Haab

 

BEST ARCHIVAL RELEASE

 

•       CHAPLIN, music by John Barry; album produced by Neil S. Bulk, liner notes by Jon Burlingame, album art direction by Scott Saslow (La-La Land)

•       HEIDI/JANE EYRE, music by John Williams; album produced by Mike Matessino, liner notes by John Takis and Mike Matessino, album art direction by Jim Titus (Quartet)

•       HOOK, music by John Williams; album produced by Mike Matessino, liner notes by Mike Matessino, John Takis, and Jason LeBlanc, album art direction by Jim Titus (La-La Land)

•       LAURENCE ROSENTHAL: MUSIC FOR FILM AND TELEVISION, music by Laurence Rosenthal; the Brussels Philharmonic conducted by Dirk Brossé, album produced by Thomas Van Parys/Film Fest Gent, liner notes by Laurence Rosenthal, Robert Townson, and Thomas Van Parys, album art direction by Stuart Ford (Silva Screen/Film Fest Gent)

•       MACARTHUR, music by Jerry Goldsmith; album produced by Douglass Fake, liner notes by Jeff Bond and Douglass Fake, album art direction by Kay Marshall (Intrada)

•       THE MAN WHO KNEW TOO MUCH/ON DANGEROUS GROUND, music by Bernard Herrmann; the Royal Scottish National Orchestra conducted by William Stromberg, album produced by Douglass Fake, liner notes by Steven Smith, album art direction by Stephane Coedel and Kay Marshall (Intrada)

•       NIGHT AFTER NIGHT, music by James Newton Howard; orchestra conducted by Gavin Greenaway, featured performers Jean-Yves Thibaudet, Hilary Hahn, and Maya Beiser, album produced by Michael Dean Parsons, liner notes by James Newton Howard and M. Night Shyamalan, album art direction nominee to be confirmed (Sony Classical)

•       THE ROCK, music by Nick Glennie-Smith, Hans Zimmer, and Harry Gregson-Williams; album produced by Stéphane Humez, liner notes by Kaya Savas, album art direction by Kay Marshall (Intrada)

•       SÉANCE ON A WET AFTERNOON/KATHERINE HEPBURN, music by John Barry; Orquesta de Córdoba conducted by Fernando Velázquez, album produced by Jose M. Benitez and Leigh Phillips, liner notes by Jon Burlingame, album art direction by Nacho B. Govantes and Jim Titus (Quartet)

•       A SYMPHONIC CELEBRATION: MUSIC FROM THE STUDIO GHIBLI FILMS OF HAYAO MIYAZAKI, music by Joe Hisaishi; the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Joe Hisaishi, album produced by Joe Hisaishi and Anna Barry, liner notes by Michael Beek, album art direction by Yuka Araki (Deutsche Grammophon)

 

FILM MUSIC RECORD LABEL OF THE YEAR

 

•       INTRADA RECORDS, Douglass Fake, Roger Feigelson

•       LA-LA LAND RECORDS, MV Gerhard, Matt Verboys

•       MOVIESCORE MEDIA, Mikael Carlsson

•       MUSIC BOX RECORDS, Cyril Durand-Roger, Laurent Lafarge

•       QUARTET RECORDS, Jose M. Benitez

 

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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 70 members from countries such as Australia, Belgium, Canada, China, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Iran, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and the United States of America.

 

Previous IFMCA Score of the Year Awards have been awarded to Bear McCreary’s The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power in 2022, Maurizio Malagnini’s Coppelia in 2021, Christopher Willis’s The Personal History of David Copperfield in 2020, John Williams’s Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker in 2019, 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, and John Powell’s How to Train Your Dragon in 2010.

 

For more information about the International Film Music Critics Association go to www.filmmusiccritics.org, visit our Facebook page, find us on YouTube, follow us on Twitter @ifmca, or contact us at ifmca.main@gmail.com.

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