IFMCA Award Winners 2020

February 18, 2021

Winners for 2020 IFCMA Awards Announced

The International Film Music Critics Association (IFMCA) announces its list of winners for excellence in musical scoring in 2020, in the 2020 IFMCA Awards.

The award for Score of the Year goes to composer Christopher Willis, for his score for the Dickensian comedy THE PERSONAL HISTORY OF DAVID COPPERFIELD, directed by Armando Iannucci. In describing the score, IFMCA member Florent Groult called it a “luminous neo-romantic mini symphony,” while his colleague Olivier Desbrosses called it an “inspired score that in no way seeks to hide its many nods to the great masters of classical music,” and features “sensational orchestrations and constant elegance.” Similarly, IFMCA member Jon Broxton said the score was “the music of an idealized England; the contrast between the bustling streets of London and a more languid life in the countryside, the distinct beauty of its sun-kissed fields and its rugged sea shores, the depiction of lords and ladies and gentlemen, scoundrels and thieves, high society and common folk, and the way that this most profound of literary protagonists weaves his way through it all … there is not a dull moment … there is not a moment where Willis is not taking the time to say something interesting with his music – presenting a new theme, a variation on an existing one, or painting a vivid musical picture of this specific time and place.” The score is also named Best Original Score for a Comedy Film. These are the second and third IFMCA Awards of Willis’s career, him having previously won the Comedy award in 2017 for his score for his feature debut THE DEATH OF STALIN.

Daniel Pemberton is named Composer of the Year, having written acclaimed music for four films in 2019. The most lauded of these were the literary adventure ENOLA HOLMES, based on the popular young adult novels by Nancy Springer about the younger sister of the legendary sleuth Sherlock; the political drama THE TRIAL OF THE CHICAGO 7, which looks at the real-life trial of a group of anti–Vietnam War protesters charged with inciting riots at the 1968 Democratic National Convention; and RISING PHOENIX, an acclaimed documentary following the stories of nine Paralympic athletes. All of these scores were nominated in their respective genre categories. IFMCA member James Southall called Enola Holmes “a great orchestral adventure romp, whose quirks only add to its great sense of fun … fresh and energetic and one of the year’s strongest scores.” Southall also described “The Trial of the Chicago 7” as “at its peak, one of the strongest film scores of the year” while lauding the fact that “Pemberton exercises a lot of restraint, with subtle music highly respectful of the unfolding drama within the film”. This is Pemberton’s first IFMCA win in any category.

Composer Thomas Clay is named Breakthrough Composer of the Year for his work scoring his own film, FANNY LYE DELIVER’D. Thomas Clay wrote and directed the film as an independent ‘Puritan western’ and then decided to score the film himself after he spent more than a year unsuccessfully attempting to secure a composer. The resulting score is a blend of 16th century period instruments and contemporary dramatic scoring that belies its low-budget status, and is all the more impressive considering the circumstances in which it was composed. IFMCA member John Mansell observed that the score “is similar to that of many Italian-made westerns, with the music becoming part of the action and the storyline, and adding a near operatic feel to the proceedings.” Mansell also praised the score for utilizing “real instruments and vocalists and developed themes throughout, underlining, punctuating, caressing, and at times ingratiating the movie with these. The music is filled with a plethora of colors and textures, one moment being brooding and dark, and then altering its stance and style to purvey a more romantic or melancholy mood.”

The various other genre awards are won by: Tarō Iwashiro for his moving score for the Japanese drama FUKUSHIMA 50, about the men and women who worked selflessly to make the eponymous nuclear power plant safe after a devastating earthquake; John Powell for his music for the latest adaptation of Jack London’s classic adventure novel THE CALL OF THE WILD; Hans Zimmer for his action-packed and uplifting score for the sci-fi/fantasy super hero sequel WONDER WOMAN 1984; Bruno Coulais for his music for the beautiful and mystical Irish animated film WOLFWALKERS; and Steven Price for his score for the important and prescient nature documentary DAVID ATTENBOROUGH: A LIFE ON OUR PLANET.

In the non-film categories, composer Carlos Rafael Rivera wins two awards for his score for the critically acclaimed chess-themed TV series THE QUEEN’S GAMBIT, including the prestigious Film Music Composition of the Year award for his spectacular main title theme. In addition, composers Michael Giacchino and Nami Melumad win the award for Best Original Score for a Video Game or Interactive Media for their bold, stirring score for the latest instalment in Medal of Honor series, subtitled ABOVE AND BEYOND.

Spain-based Quartet Records is named Film Music Record Label of the Year for the first time, in recognition their outstanding series of expanded re-releases and re-recordings which in 2020 included titles such as Bernard Herrmann’s ENDLESS NIGHT, and Ennio Morricone’s THE GOOD, THE BAD, AND THE UGLY. Producer James Fitzpatrick and Tadlow Music receives the Archival Award for their new recording of Miklós Rózsa’s score for the 1961 biblical epic KING OF KINGS, conducted by Nic Raine with the City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra. In the Compilation category, the award goes to producer Bernhard Güttler and the Deutsche Grammophon label for JOHN WILLIAMS IN VIENNA, a compilation of classic John Williams film music pieces re-arranged for virtuoso violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter, conducted by Williams himself as part of a gala concert featuring the renowned Wiener Philharmoniker Orchestra.

For more details, see IFMCA.

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