Jóhann Jóhannsson Named Film Composer of the Year at World Soundtrack Awards

October 19, 2018

On October 17, the World Soundtrack Academy honored six members of the ASCAP film/TV music community for their sterling music for screens at the prestigious 2018 World Soundtrack Awards.

The late Icelandic composer Jóhann Jóhannsson was named Film Composer of the Year on the basis of the three final film scores he completed before his death in early 2018. The award was accepted on his behalf by his protégé Hildur Guðnadóttir, his co-composer on Mary Magdalene. SACEM/ASCAP affiliate Philippe Sarde was presented with the Lifetime Achievement Award; Sarde is the composer of classic film scores including Tess, Barocco and The Judge and the Assassin.

Kendrick Lamar continued his winning streak with a Best Original Song award for the title track from the Black Panther soundtrack, co-written by producer Mark “SOUNWAVE” Spears. And Kansas-based composer Logan Nelson earned the SABAM Award for the Most Original Composition by a Young International Composer.

The World Soundtrack Awards ceremony concluded with a concert of film scores by ASCAP Henry Mancini Award laureate Carter Burwell, performed by the Brussels Philharmonic under the baton of Dirk Brossé. In keeping with tradition, ASCAP Film Scoring Workshop alumnus composer Nicholas Britell - winner of the Discovery of the Year Award 2017 - closed the ceremony with an exclusive performance of his music for Moonlight. Tamar-Kali, who received the Discovery of the Year honor this year, will be invited back in 2019 to perform her acclaimed music to Mudbound.

The Awards capped off the 2018 Ghent Film Festival, which hosted a number of ASCAP film music luminaries and industry executives in a series of daytime seminars and panels. The annual Film Music Seminar hosted Carter Burwell in conversation with sound editor Skip Lievsay to speak about their many collaborations on Coen Bros. films; Nicholas Britell and director Barry Jenkins were also on hand for a discussion about their work together on Moonlight and the upcoming If Beale Street Could Talk. Video game composers Joe Henson & Alexis Smith aka The Flight (PRS - Assassin's Creed: Odyssey) and Brian D'Oliveira (SOCAN - Resident Evil 7, Shadow of the Tomb Raider) opined on the changing face of screen music during the Scoring for New (interactive) Media panel.

ASCAP composer Hauschka (prepared piano) and collaborator Dustin O’Halloran improvised on themes from their score to Lion as the basis of a haunting nighttime concert. As part of the live VIDEODROOM series of music/visual cross-pollinations, London rapper GAIKA (PRS) presented a complete image-and-sound remix of the cult anime film Akira; ASCAP composer and improviser Lea Bertucci performed her fascinating new show ‘projection/reflection,’ wherein a projector placed behind Bertucci threw a focused beam of light onto a reflective patch on the performer’s back, which was then reflected onto the wall behind her as she played.

Congratulations to all of our World Soundtrack Award-winning composers and songwriters:


Film Composer of the Year

Jóhann Jóhannsson
Mandy; Mary Magdalene; The Mercy
Read our interview with Jóhannsson, which goes into his work on The Mercy

Best Original Song Written Directly for a Film

Kendrick Lamar & Mark Anthony Spears
“Black Panther” from Black Panther

Discovery of the Year 2018


SABAM Award for the Most Original Composition by a Young International Composer

Logan Nelson

Read ASCAP’s entire list of 2018 World Soundtrack Awards nominees