09 20 Oct '24

Discover the second wave of 2023 World Soundtrack Awards nominees!

WSA winners 2022
News 05 Sep 2023
A lot of notable artists dedicated themselves to film music last year, and now have a chance to win prizes at the prestigious 23rd edition of the World Soundtrack Awards. The list of nominees includes both WSA newcomers, such as Japanese band RADWIMPS & Kazuma Jinnouchi, and saxophonist Colin Stetson (Arcade Fire, Bon Iver), and WSA favourites such as Nainita Desai (who, among others, won the Discovery of the Year Award in 2021). This year, the British composer picked up another nomination, this time for an entirely new award: the WSA Game Music Award. All nominees for WSA2023 have now been announced.

The 23rd edition of the World Soundtrack Awards takes place on Saturday 21 October 2023 at Capitole Ghent. Veteran composers Nicola Piovani and Laurence Rosenthal are set to receive Lifetime Achievement Awards for their tremendous contributions to the art of film and television music. Discovery of the Year 2022 Eiko Ishibashi is also one of the guests. Brussels Philharmonic, conducted by maestro Dirk Brossé, will perform music by these three composers during the World Soundtrack Awards Ceremony & Concert.

Discovery of the Year Award

With the Discovery of the Year Award, the WSA aims to highlight emerging film music talent. Most of this year's nominees are relative newcomers to the field of composition for film, but often have extensive experience as music producers or musicians in a wide range of genres, making for a very exciting selection. Dascha Dauenhauer's ominous scores have previously come into their own in the science fiction series The Swarm and Berlin, Alexanderplatz, for which she also received a nomination in 2020. This year, she convinced the Academy with Golda, in which Helen Mirren plays the role of Israeli prime minister Golda Meir. Simon Franglen is anything but a novice to the music industry. He collaborated on award-winning albums by the likes of Whitney Houston and Toni Braxton, and collaborated with composers such as Howard Shore for Se7en and James Horner for Titanic. He now takes over from Horner in the Avatar series as the composer for Avatar: The Way of Water. RADWIMPS is another renowned name for anime lovers. The band was previously responsible for the distinctive soundtracks of Makoto Shinkai films Your Name and Weathering with You, and, in collaboration with composer Kazuma Jinnouchi, secured a nomination for Shinkai's latest film, Suzume. Icelander Herdís Stefánsdóttir persuaded the Academy with her dark score for Knock at the Cabin, the most recent film from director M. Night Shyamalan. Finally, Colin Stetson acquired a nomination for The Menu, following previous standout scores for Hereditary and The Color Out of Space. Stetson will be present at Film Fest Gent: he will play a live set based on his soundtracks in the VIDEODROOM programme and will be a guest for a live podcast recording during the WSA Film Music Days.

Public Choice Award

As is customary, the general public had the opportunity to vote for their favourite film score of the past year. The one who receives the most votes takes home the Public Choice Award. Daniel Pemberton already picked up a nomination for Film Composer of the Year this year and doubled his chances of winning a WSAward with a nomination in this category for Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse. Also in the running is Britain's Amelia Warner, previously nominated for Discovery of the Year in 2018 and the Public Choice Award in 2021, for Mr Malcolm's List. Belgian composer Michelino Bisceglia is also an audience favourite, having been nominated in 2022, and he is back at it again this year with My Sailor, My Love. Composers Fabrizio Mancinelli with the musical The Land of Dreams and Mark Smythe with the horror film The Reef: Stalked are proving strong competition.

WSA Game Music Award

New for this year is the WSA Game Music Award, presented at the game music concert PRESS PLAY: Music in Games. River Boy aka Narayana Johnson has been nominated for the cute but sinister game Cult of the Lamb; Maclaine Diemer for the puzzle and adventure game Firmament; Nainita Desai for Immortality, in which players must unravel a mystery in the film industry; Gareth Coker, Grant Kirkhope and Yoko Shimomura for Mario + Rabbids Sparks of Hope and Gregory Nicolett for the magical potion shop simulator Potionomics.

Best Original Score for a Belgian Production

Belgian films continue to win prizes nationally and internationally, so their scores cannot be left behind. In the Best Original Score for a Belgian Production category, the nominees are Valentin Hadjadj for Close by Lukas Dhont, the opening film of FFG2022; FFG music director Dirk Brossé for the popular nature documentary Onze Natuur and Hannes De Maeyer for Rebel by director duo Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah.

Sabam Award for Best Original Composition by a Young Composer

Finally, the Academy announces the nominations for the Sabam Award for Best Original Composition by a Young Composer, worth 2,500 euros. The participating composers were asked to write a score for a scene from the game Abzû, whose original music was composed by Austin Wintory, host of Film Fest Gent's game music concert PRESS PLAY: Music in Games. Abzû is an epic descent into the depths of the sea, where players explore beautifully rendered ocean environments with fluid swimming controls. French composers Emma Kélalèche and Emile Cooper Leplay and American composer Alec Sievern are the young film music talents competing for this prize.

These nominees were announced previously:

Film Composer of the Year

Six nominees star in the top category, Film Composer of the Year, which honours a composer’s body of work over the past year. Most notable is German composer Volker Bertelmann (also known as recording artist Hauschka), who is fresh off his Oscar win for his score for the critically acclaimed war epic All Quiet on the Western Front. Considered within the nomination - in addition to All Quiet on the Western Front - are his scores for another war film, Krigsseileren (War Sailor), and Finnish dystopian drama Veden Vartija (Memory of Water). It is Bertelmann’s second-ever WSA nomination, after 2018’s nomination in the category Television Composer of the Year for Patrick Melrose and Gunpowder. Joining him in the list of nominees are five previous WSA Film Composer of the Year winners. 2016 winner Carter Burwell, best known for his long-standing partnership with the Coen brothers, is nominated for his fragile and deceptively simple score for Martin McDonagh’s The Banshees of Inisherin, the fourth collaboration between the British-Irish director and the composer. Burwell had an incredible year even without The Banshees of Inisherin, with scores for Lena Dunham’s infectious YA adaptation Catherine Called Birdy and the thrilling To Catch a Killer by Wild Tales director Damián Szifron. Five-time winner in this category, Alexandre Desplat reclaims his spot after a two-year absence. His nominated scores include the music for Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio, The Lost King, Tirailleurs (Father & Soldier), A Cooler Climate, and Wes Anderson’s Palme d’Or contender Asteroid City. In 2020, Icelandic composer Hildur Guðnadóttir became the first woman to win the Film Composer of the Year Award. Three years later, she returns in the category with her remarkable scores for Women Talking and Tár, both Best Picture nominees at the 95th Academy Awards. Daniel Pemberton, winner in 2021, is nominated for his scores for four high-profile films: See How They Run, Enola Holmes 2, Amsterdam and record-breaking animation film Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse. Iconic composer and Steven Spielberg-collaborator John Williams had a busy year. At 91 years of age, he wrote the music for Spielberg’s most personal film to date, The Fabelmans, and for Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny, the final outing of Harrison Ford as the beloved archaeologist and Williams’ self-proclaimed final film score. In 2001, John Williams became the first winner of the Film Composer of the Year Award.

Television Composer of the Year

In the category Television Composer of the Year, there’s an abundance of talent and highly rated TV shows that are currently defining the golden age of television. Composers Chris Bacon & Danny Elfman worked on the energetic score of Netflix’s Wednesday, which marked the umpteenth collaboration between Elfman and director Tim Burton. Wednesday proved to be an enormous success, enabling an upcoming second season. Last year’s TV Composer of the Year Nicholas Britell is no stranger to the World Soundtrack Awards, having won five WSAwards in total. This year, the American composer and three-time Academy Award-nominee earns a nomination for his scores for Andor, a well-received entry in the Star Wars universe, and the fourth and final season of Succession. Also recognised by the World Soundtrack Academy is composer Bear McCreary. Paying respect to Howard Shore’s legendary themes, McCreary’s score for The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power is stellar in its own right. Added to that are the scores for fantasy series The Witcher: Blood Origin and Catherine de’ Medici-portrait The Serpent Queen. Leaving an indelible mark on the video game industry, The Last of Us was bound to be adapted into a TV series. HBO’s adaptation was not only defined by its performances, but also by Gustavo Santaolalla & David Fleming’s now WSA-nominated music, which stayed true to the minimalist musical language of the game. Competing in this category for the second year in a row, with the music for The White Lotus series, Chilean-born composer Cristobal Tapia de Veer brought in longtime collaborator Kim Neundorf to expand upon the music from the first season, resulting in a wholly unique sound.

Best Original Song

Boasting a spectacular ensemble of artists, the category of Best Original Song highlights the talent of musicians, lyricists and singers alike. Pop phenomenon Taylor Swift is nominated for her song “Carolina” from the film Where the Crawdads Sing. “Ciao Papa” from Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio marks Alexandre Desplat’s second nomination this year. The sorrowful song is written by Desplat, Guillermo del Toro and Roeban Katz. Also featured in this category is “Keep Rising”, the closing anthem from The Woman King written by Angélique Kidjo, Jeremy Lutito and Jessy Wilson. Performed by Rihanna, “Lift Me Up” is the heartfelt end credits song of MCU entry Black Panther: Wakanda Forever and was written by Ludwig Göransson, Robyn Fenty, Ryan Coogler and Temilade Openiyi. Finally, the WSAcademy nominated the catchy musical number “Your Personal Trash Man Can”, written by Thomas Mizer & Curtis Moore, from The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel season 5.

Overview of the nominees

  • Film Composer of the Year
    • Volker Bertelmann | Krigsseileren (War Sailor), All Quiet on the Western Front, Veden vartija (Memory of Water)

    • Carter Burwell | The Banshees of Inisherin, Catherine Called Birdy, To Catch a Killer

    • Alexandre Desplat | Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio, The Lost King, Tirailleurs (Father & Soldier), Asteroid City, A Cooler Climate

    • Hildur Guðnadóttir | Women Talking, Tár

    • Daniel Pemberton | See How They Run, Enola Holmes 2, Amsterdam, Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse

    • John Williams | The Fabelmans, Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny
  • Television Composer of the Year
    • Chris Bacon & Danny Elfman | Wednesday

    • Nicholas Britell | Andor, Succession S04

    • Bear McCreary | The Serpent Queen, The Witcher: Blood Origin, The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power

    • Gustavo Santaolalla & David Fleming | The Last of Us

    • Cristobal Tapia de Veer & Kim Neundorf | The White Lotus S02
  • Best Original Song
    • “Carolina” from Where the Crawdads Sing | written by Taylor Swift | performed by Taylor Swift

    • “Ciao Papa” from Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio | written by Alexandre Desplat, Guillermo del Toro, Roeban Katz | performed by Alexandre Desplat, Dominique “Solrey” Lemonnier, Gregory Mann

    • “Keep Rising” from The Woman King | written by Jessy Wilson, Jeremy Lutito, Angélique Kidjo | performed by Jessy Wilson, Angélique Kidjo

    • “Lift Me Up” from Black Panther: Wakanda Forever | written by Temilade Openiyi, Robyn Fenty, Ludwig Göransson and Ryan Coogler | performed by Rihanna

    • “Your Personal Trash Man Can” from The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel S05 | written by Thomas Mizer, Curtis Moore | performed by The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel Cast

  • Discovery of the Year
    • Dascha Dauenhauer - Golda

    • Simon Franglen - Avatar: The Way of Water

    • RADWIMPS, Kazuma Jinnouchi - Suzume

    • Herdís Stefánsdóttir - Knock at the Cabin

    • Colin Stetson - The Menu

  • Public Choice Award
    • Daniel Pemberton - Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse

    • Amelia Warner - Mr. Malcolm’s List

    • Michelino Bisceglia - My Sailor, My Love

    • Fabrizio Mancinelli - The Land of Dreams

    • Mark Smythe - The Reef: Stalked

  • WSA Game Music Award
    • River Boy (Narayana Johnson) - Cult of the Lamb

    • Maclaine Diemer - Firmament

    • Nainita Desai - Immortality

    • Gareth Coker, Grant Kirkhope, Yoko Shimomura - Mario + Rabbids Sparks of Hope

    • Gregory Nicolett - Potionomics

  • Best Original Score for a Belgian Production
    • Valentin Hadjadj - Close

    • Dirk Brossé - Onze Natuur

    • Hannes De Maeyer - Rebel

  • Sabam Award for Best Original Composition by a Young Composer
    • Emma Kélalèche

    • Emile Cooper Leplay

    • Alec Sievern

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