Ludwig Göransson Wins His Second Oscar for ‘Oppenheimer’ Score

Ludwig Göransson made good on an awards-season sweep by winning an Academy Award Sunday night for the music of “Oppenheimer,” his second career win for best original score.

The Oscar completes a run the 39-year-old Swedish composer has had picking up Grammy, Golden Globe, BAFTA, Critics Choice and Society of Composers & Lyricists awards for the score of Christopher Nolan’s film.

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Göransson previously won the original score Oscar for 2018’s “Black Panther.” He also has two Emmys for the music of “The Mandalorian,” another Oscar nomination for a song in 2022’s “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever,” and three more Grammys for “Black Panther” and his songwriting-producing work with Childish Gambino.

Göransson’s was one of seven Oscars won by “Oppenheimer.” At the podium, he thanked director Nolan for his initial idea to use the violin as a central instrument in the score, which both “set a real nice tone for the film” and allowed him to work closely with his wife, violinist Serena Göransson, during the creation of the music.

He also looked up at the balcony in the Dolby Theatre and thanked his parents “for giving me guitars and drum machines instead of video games” growing up. Backstage a few minutes later he added a thank-you to star Cillian Murphy “for his mesmerizing gaze.”

The composer spent nine months creating more than three hours of music for the biopic of nuclear physicist J. Robert Oppenheimer. He wrote a violin theme of, he said, “haunting loneliness” for the title character and added synthesizers for the “impending doom” of the A-bomb tests. Interestingly, there are no drums or percussion in the score.

Göransson’s careful choices of assignment and tendency to immerse himself deeply in any single project have made him among the most sought-after of current composers. His other films include “Fruitvale Station,” “Creed” I and II, the animated “Turning Red” and “Tenet,” his first film for Nolan. He got his start scoring TV’s “Community” in 2009.

Oscar voters continued to reward composers from beyond American shores. U.S.-born composers have won in only six of the past 25 years. Göransson also becomes only the fifth Swedish-born artist to win more than one Oscar. Ingrid Bergman won three for acting, director Ingmar Bergman won three for international film, Sven Nykvist won two for cinematography and Per Hallberg won three for sound editing.

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