Hildur Guðnadóttir is the only woman nominated for best score at this year’s Oscars. The Icelandic composer’s nomination marks only the seventh time in Oscar history where a woman has been recognised in the Best Original Score category.
In January, she become the first solo woman to win Best Score Soundtrack for Visual Media at the Grammys for her work on HBO’s Chernobyl.
— Variety (@Variety) February 9, 2020
Asked on the red carpet “What does it feel like to be a trailblazer?” Guðnadóttir said “It’s been incredible to feel the energy and the conversations that have been happening around, doors that are opening up and records broken and people realising the situation for women in my field and I’m so happy to be part of that change happening.”
Guðnadóttir was invited by Todd Phillips, the director of ‘Joker’ to compose the original score. “The script was just fantastic – it struck me very hard.”
“I fell in love with the film and wrote all the main themes before they started shooting, so they were able to use that music, and I was able to be a part of that,” she said in an interview with BBC.
Guðnadóttir also took the BAFTA’s for Best Original Score earlier this month, as well as a Golden Globe, a Critics’ Choice Award and an SCL Award for her original score for Joker.
Speaking with Deadline when she learned of her nomination of the Oscars, the Reykjavik Music Academy graduate said, “It is magnificent to be able to shed some light to the situation of women in the industry, especially in this category, because it’s a little bit silly how few there are. It’s completely incomprehensible to me.”
“I do feel like, in the last few years, there’s been so much awareness about the position of women in this industry, and as a result of all that discussion, people are noticing the situation more. That’s the best place to start, is to talk about it,” she said. “But I think the way to make actual change is to start trusting women and giving them chances, and I think that’s actually started to happen.
Guðnadóttir credits her home country of Iceland for strength and unshakable courage as a woman.
“When I was growing up in Iceland, my whole childhood, there was a female president,” she said. “Then, my grandmother was one of the first women doctors in Iceland, and I think it’s in ways like that, that we see actual change happening.”
“In my mind, there was no reason why women couldn’t be doctors, and why women couldn’t be president—and why women can’t be composers. Of course, women can write music, and in an industry that’s all about telling stories—telling every single story under the sun—I think it should be an absolute given that we should celebrate every voice under the sun to tell all of these stories. I mean, women are half of the voices in the world.”
If Guðnadóttir takes the Best Original Score Oscar tonight for Joker, she will be the first female composer to win in more than 20 years. Since 1983, only three women have won that category.