The International Film Music Critics Association (IFMCA) announces its list of winners for excellence in musical scoring in 2018, in the 2018 IFMCA Awards.
The award for Score of the Year goes to British composer John Powell for his score for the Star Wars spin-off story “Solo,” which looked at the early life of the legendary rogue and intergalactic smuggler Han Solo. The film was directed by Ron Howard, and starred Alden Ehrenreich, Emilia Clarke, and Donald Glover. In describing the score, IFMCA members Asier Senarriaga and Óscar Giménez called Solo “a spectacular score that combines the classic ideas of Williams with the talent of Powell,” and proclaimed it “the score of the year,” while IFMCA member Jon Broxton – speaking about the score’s multitude of recurring character themes – said that the way Powell “incorporates all the thematic complexity into his score is masterful, but best of all is the way he allows them to develop organically; this is not just a rigid leitmotif score where mathematics trumps emotion. Instead, Powell engages in sensible and appropriate development, meaning that when the emotional outbursts do come, they pack a real wallop, and satisfy both the heart and the brain in equal measure.”
The score is also named Best Original Score for a Fantasy/Science Fiction/Horror Film, while John Williams’s contribution to the score, the standalone piece “The Adventures of Han,” is named Film Music Composition of the Year. These are the seventh and eighth IFMCA Award wins of Powell’s career; he previously won the Score of the Year award for “How to Train Your Dragon” in 2010.
James Newton Howard is named Composer of the Year, and takes home the award for Best Original Score for an Action/Adventure/Thriller Film for his work on the controversial Jennifer Lawrence Cold War spy thriller “Red Sparrow,” for which he wrote an astonishingly powerful classical overture for the film’s opening ballet sequence, as well as some intense action and suspense music. IFMCA member Mihnea Manduteanu described Red Sparrow as “beautiful and passionate” and “melodic and furious”.
Howard’s other work in 2018 was just as outstanding, and included the second Harry Potter spinoff film “Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald,” and the lavish fantasy “The Nutcracker and the Four Realms,” which was inspired by Tchaikovsky’s seminal ballet. IFMCA member Christian Clemmensen called Fantastic Beasts an “accomplished and mature fantasy score” which “sits comfortably with Howard’s accomplished genre works and competes favorably for a place amongst 2018’s best scores.” These are the ninth and tenth IFMCA Awards of Howard’s career. He previously received IFMCA Score of the Year honors in 2006 for “The Lady in the Water”.
British composer Amelia Warner is named Breakthrough Composer of the Year for her enormously impressive mainstream debut work scoring the literary drama based on the life of the groundbreaking horror author “Mary Shelley”. IFMCA member Peter Simons said that Mary Shelley was “a wonderful score … mesmerizing … unlike anything I’ve heard in a long time, if ever. The use of synth and vocals over strings and piano is just exquisite. There is always something interesting going on, either melodically or aurally … it’s one of the most exciting scores of the year”.
The various other genre awards are won by Max Richter for his classically-inspired music for the historical drama “Mary Queen of Scots”; Marc Shaiman for his loving, nostalgic homage to Walt Disney and the Sherman Brothers on the comedy musical sequel “Mary Poppins Returns”; Mark McKenzie for his spectacularly beautiful, reverent score for the Mexican animated film “Max and Me”; and Pinar Toprak for her broad, adventurous, expansive orchestral score for the yacht-racing documentary “Tides of Fate”. With this win Toprak is now the only person with more than two IFMCA Award nominations to win every time she has been nominated – her previous wins were for “The Lightkeepers” (Comedy, 2010) and “The Wind Gods” (Documentary, 2011).
In the non-film categories, composer Christopher Lennertz wins the award for Best Original Score for a Television Series for his bold, exciting score for the rebooted version of the classic sci-fi series “Lost in Space,” while composer Bear McCreary wins the award for Best Original Score for a Video Game or Interactive Media for his thrilling score for the action adventure game “God of War”.
Burbank, California-based La-La Land Records is named Film Music Record Label of the Year in recognition of their ongoing excellence in restoring and releasing the most beloved film scores of the past. Acclaimed album producer Mike Matessino receives both Archival Awards: one for his work restoring and releasing John Williams’s classic score for the 1979 Frank Langella version of “Dracula” on the Varèse Sarabande label, and one for his work in putting together the lavish box set of John Williams’s three Harry Potter scores – “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone,” “Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets,” and “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban” – for La-La Land Records. Producer Robert Townson shares the award for Dracula, and album artist Jim Titus worked on both releases.
COMPLETE LIST OF WINNERS
FILM SCORE OF THE YEAR
- SOLO, music by John Powell
FILM COMPOSER OF THE YEAR
- JAMES NEWTON HOWARD
BREAKTHROUGH COMPOSER OF THE YEAR
- AMELIA WARNER
FILM MUSIC COMPOSITION OF THE YEAR
- “The Adventures of Han” from SOLO, written by John Williams
BEST ORIGINAL SCORE FOR A DRAMA FILM
- MARY, QUEEN OF SCOTS, music by Max Richter
BEST ORIGINAL SCORE FOR A COMEDY FILM
- MARY POPPINS RETURNS, music by Marc Shaiman
BEST ORIGINAL SCORE FOR AN ACTION/ADVENTURE/THRILLER FILM
- RED SPARROW, music by James Newton Howard
BEST ORIGINAL SCORE FOR A FANTASY/SCIENCE FICTION/HORROR FILM
- SOLO, music by John Powell
BEST ORIGINAL SCORE FOR AN ANIMATED FILM
- MAX AND ME, music by Mark McKenzie
BEST ORIGINAL SCORE FOR A DOCUMENTARY
- TIDES OF FATE, music by Pinar Toprak
BEST ORIGINAL SCORE FOR A TELEVISION SERIES
- LOST IN SPACE, music by Christopher Lennertz
BEST ORIGINAL SCORE FOR A VIDEO GAME OR INTERACTIVE MEDIA
- GOD OF WAR, music by Bear McCreary
BEST ARCHIVAL RELEASE – NEW RELEASE OR NEW RECORDING OF AN EXISTING SCORE
- DRACULA, music by John Williams; album produced by Mike Matessino and Robert Townson; liner notes by Mike Matessino; art direction by Jim Titus (Varèse Sarabande)
BEST ARCHIVAL RELEASE – COMPILATION
- HARRY POTTER: THE JOHN WILLIAMS SOUNDTRACK COLLECTION; music by John Williams; album produced by Mike Matessino; liner notes by Mike Matessino; art direction by Jim Titus (La-La Land)
FILM MUSIC LABEL OF THE YEAR
- LA-LA LAND, MV Gerhard, Matt Verboys
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 65 members from countries such as Australia, Belgium, Canada, China, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Romania, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and the United States of America.
Previous IFMCA Score of the Year Awards have been awarded to 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, John Powell’s “How to Train Your Dragon” in 2010, Michael Giacchino’s “Up” in 2009, Alexandre Desplat’s “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” in 2008, Dario Marianelli’s “Atonement” in 2007, James Newton Howard’s “Lady in the Water” in 2006, John Williams’s “Memoirs of a Geisha” in 2005, and Michael Giacchino’s “The Incredibles” in 2004.
View the I.F.M.C.A. Awards Archive here.