The International Film Music Critics Association (IFMCA) announced the winners of the 2018 IFMCA Awards on February 21.
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. IFMCA members Asier Senarriaga and Óscar Giménez called Solo “a spectacular score that combines the classic ideas of Williams with the talent of Powell,” 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 Solo 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. His 2018 work also included the second Harry Potter spinoff film Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, and the lavish fantasy The Nutcracker and the Four Realms.
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.
In the non-film categories, composer Christopher Lennertz wins the award for Best Original Score for a Television Series for Lost in Space, while composer Bear McCreary wins the award for Best Original Score for a Video Game or Interactive Media 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.
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)
[Based on a press release. Thanks to Steve Vertlieb for the story.]