Chernobyl Composer Hildur Gudnadottir Wins Best Score Soundtrack For Visual Media Grammy

The 62nd Grammy Awards took place in Los Angeles on Sunday and when it comes to music's biggest night Hollywood also got a bit of recognition with awards in the non-televised portion of the ceremony. Among those awards was the Grammy for Best Original Score For Visual Media with Joker composer Hildur Guðnadóttir taking home the prize for her work on another of her major projects in 2019 - HBO's limited series Chernobyl.

Guðnadóttir was up against some major contenders in the category, including Alan Silvestri for Avengers: Endgame, Ramin Djawadi for the final season of Game of Thrones, Hans Zimmer for The Lion King, and Marc Shaiman for Mary Poppins Returns.

Chernobyl, which told the story of the 1986 nuclear disaster at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in Pripyat, Ukraine, was a huge hit for HBO in 2019. The limited series brought in big ratings for the network and has been honored with several accolades now that awards season is full swing. For Guðnadóttir, though, her work on Chernobyl isn't the only thing getting awards season love. The composer's work on Todd Phillips' Joker has also been earing quite a bit of critical praise and awards. Earlier this month, Guðnadóttir was won the Best Original Score Golden Globe and has since been nominated for the Best Original Score Academy Award as well.

In Joker: Vision & Fury, a making-of documentary included on the Joker home release special features, Guðnadóttir spoke a bit about how she created Joker's haunting main theme.

“I started writing the music just after reading the script,” Guðnadóttir said. “So I just started playing with cello a bit, which is my main instrument, and just played around with some melodies and the feelings and I kind of sat with it for a few hours. And then I was actually practicing something else, and I kind of stumbled onto what became the main theme afterwards. It was just like a feeling strong feeling of something clicking into place, because it just connected with exactly the same feeling that I’d had when I read the script.”

She continued, “I was like, [gasps]. I caught my breath and I was like, ‘Wait!’ I just started recording, and that’s kind of where the main theme was born, out of this feeling. ‘This is how he feels, this is what this feels like.’”

Phoenix and director Todd Phillips only cracked the improvised bathroom scene after setting it to Guðnadóttir's theme, sent to Phillips just a day earlier. The star “loved it,” Phillips says in Vision & Fury, “and he just started doing this dance to it.”

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“I think it’s a really great moment in the movie, and it’s a really much more effective way of illustrating the beginning of the transformation, with grace that kind of comes out of nowhere. You kind of feel that he has it in him,” the director said of the impromptu bathroom dance. “We wrote in the script there’s a certain elegance to him, and a certain romance … he has it in him. There’s music in him, so to speak. But that’s the first time we really see it come out.”

Are you surprised by Guðnadóttir's Chernobyl win? Let us know in the comments below.

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