Alexandre Desplat and Gabriel Yared guests of honour for 20th World Soundtrack Awards

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News 16 Jun 2020
The 20th anniversary edition of the World Soundtrack Awards will be celebrated in a special way. Adapted to current circumstances, this year's WSA will be an online edition, livestreamed from Kinepolis Ghent, where the ceremony itself will take place. This will give the festival's international audience the chance to enjoy the award ceremony and concert from everywhere around the world in a safe and corona-proof manner. The World Soundtrack Awards will be the closing event of Film Fest Ghent.

While embracing the digital opportunities of these times, the focus will be on celebrating the rich history of the awards. The 20th anniversary of the WSAwards presents a wonderful opportunity to honour the Film Composers of the Year from the previous two decades.

On the occasion of the 20th anniversary, the WSA is proud to welcome back Alexandre Desplat, record holder of the World Soundtrack Film Composer of the Year Award, Gabriel Yared, guest of honour at the very first edition of the WSA, and Michael Abels, Discovery of the Year 2019. Their music, as always performed by the Brussels Philharmonic and Vlaams Radiokoor and conducted by Maestro Dirk Brossé, will be prerecorded and will be part of the live event and the livestream.

Alexandre Desplat as central guest

The World Soundtrack Awards 2020 will welcome Alexandre Desplat, eleven-time Academy Award nominee and five-time WSAward winning Film Composer of the Year, as guest of honour. Desplat is one of the most dazzling film composers of recent decades, known for his extraordinary collaborations with world-renowned directors such as Ang Lee, Roman Polański, George Clooney, Terrence Malick, Matteo Garrone, Thomas Vinterberg, Wes Anderson, Guillermo del Toro, Kathryn Bigelow, Jacques Audiard and many more.

The acclaimed French composer recently scored Greta Gerwig's critically-acclaimed Little Women, which was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures (Original Score) and a Golden Globe for Best Original Score. Moreover, he has recently composed the score for The French Dispatch, directed by Wes Anderson, and he is now working on the score for the new film of Guillermo del Toro, Pinocchio.

Since his music was last featured at the WSA (2009, 2013), Desplat has won two Academy Awards for Best Original Score (for Wes Anderson's The Grand Budapest Hotel and for Guillermo del Toro’s The Shape of Water). He won the World Soundtrack Award for Film Composer of the Year in 2014 for The Grand Budapest Hotel, Godzilla, The Monuments Men, Venus in Fur, Zulu and Marius; in 2011 for A Better Life, Largo Winch II, The King's Speech, The Tree of Life, La fille du puisatier, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2; in 2010 for Julie & Julia, Fantastic Mr Fox, The Ghost Writer, The Twilight Saga - New Moon, Tamara Drewe; in 2009 for The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Coco avant Chanel, Largo Winch, Chéri and in 2007 for The Queen and The Painted Veil. He also won the World Soundtrack Award for Best Original Film Score of the Year in 2014 for The Grand Budapest Hotel, in 2010 for Fantastic Mr. Fox and in 2009 for The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.

Alexandre Desplat: "The WSA is THE major festival for film music. I have been lucky not only to be awarded but also to meet in Ghent fellow composers and film makers from around the world who I would never have been able to meet otherwise. The organisation is pristine and perfect and the enthusiasm of the audience unique. I also can’t be more thankful to Dirk Brossé whose musical dedication to each of us brings the concerts to the highest artistic level."

Film Fest Ghent’s music director Dirk Brossé: "I always wonder where Desplat gets his inspiration from. His approach is always surprising, his music is always honest. His orchestrations are diverse: whether he chooses the grandeur of the full orchestra or the intimacy of chamber music, one always recognizes his work."

Lifetime Achievement Award for Gabriel Yared

The 2020 World Soundtrack Lifetime Achievement Award will be presented to acclaimed composer Gabriel Yared, who was the guest of honour at the very first edition of the WSAwards in 2001.

Academy Award-winning composer, Gabriel Yared has grown next to very talented directors such as Jean-Luc Godard, Jean-Jacques Beinex, Robert Altman, Bruno Nuytten, Paul Schraeder, Jean-Jacques Annaud, Costa-Gavras, Michel Ocelot, Xavier Dolan and especially Anthony Minghella. Their collaboration was rewarded by an Oscar, a Golden Globe and a Grammy Award for the score for The English Patient. In 2004, he won the World Soundtrack Award as composer of the year for his work on Cold Mountain and Sylvia. Gabriel Yared is more than ever a composer-voyager, an hypersensitive artist, whose original scores are now shaping the collective memory.

Today, Yared continues to amaze us and to magnify all scripts and images he receives. His beautiful sensitivity and his great talent have been recently requested by Edoardo Ponti for his film The Life Ahead, signing the awaited return of Sophia Loren, as well as Jimmy Keyrouz for Broken Keys, which received the label 'Sélection Cannes 2020'.

Gabriel Yared: "I am thrilled and very honoured to be presented with the Lifetime Achievement Award. I have been a major supporter of the WSA since its inception 20 years ago. Over these years, I observed the WSA evolve and thrive, contributing to the launching of many young composers’ careers with the Discovery Award. As a result of the recognition and fantastic promotion received from the WSA, many of these musicians are highly prolific composers working in Hollywood today. This is a remarkable accomplishment which I personally find very important. Equally, the WSA provides opportunities for the composers to meet up with industry experts in a professional environment, paving the way for future collaborations."

Dirk Brossé: "Yared's music is original, extremely refined and inventive. He pays a lot of attention to details. He is the grandmaster of the small form. His score for Camille Claudel is one of the best scores ever composed. His music survives as concert music."

Discovery of the Year 2019 Michael Abels returns

As has been the custom since the beginning, the winner of the previous WSAward for Discovery of the Year returns to Film Fest Ghent to present a selection of his work. Michael Abels’ winning score for the film Us, directed by Jordan Peele, and other selections from his work will be performed at the WSAwards2020 livestreamed concert. Abels made a name for himself as a composer for the screen, but is also co-founder of the Composers Diversity Collective advocating an increased visibility for composers of colour within the cultural and entertainment industries.

Michael Abels: "The World Soundtrack Awards has been a consistent and enthusiastic supporter of emerging film composers as they find their place in the film community. I was deeply honored to be the World Soundtrack Awards Discovery of the Year 2019, and I’m thrilled to return in 2020 to have my music performed by Maestro Dirk Brossé and the Brussels Philharmonic.”


The WSA is part of a film music programme during Film Fest Ghent 2020, which will also be made partially available online. More details about the industry programme will follow soon.

Following the livestream (via and will be free.