Meet the female composer who made history at the Oscars

Hildur Gudnadóttir, who won last Sunday the Oscar for Best Original Score for her work on “Joker”, has been making history for a while. 

Hildur Guðnadóttir, cellist and composer.

Hildur Guðnadóttir, cellist and composer. / Photo: twitter.com/hildurness

LatinAmerican Post | Luisa Fernanda Baéz

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Leer en español: Conoce a la compositora que hizo historia en los Óscar

As read on Filo News, this 37-year-old composer from Iceland has always had music in her veins: her mother, Ingveldur Guðrún Ólafsdóttir, is an opera singer; her father, Guðni Franzson, is a composer and clarinetist and her brothers are part of the band Múm and Agent Fresco. When Gudnadóttir was five years old, she started playing cello and at the early age of ten, she performed her first professional concert next to her mother. 

As for her professional training, she went to the Reykjavik Academy of Music and studied composition and new media at the Academy of Arts in Iceland and the University of the Arts in Berlin.

Even though we understand that in 2020 we shouldn’t even be talking about victories for women, we are still far away from achieving gender equality in many fields. For example, as indicated by Annenberg Media of the USC, a report from the University of Southern California, among the top 100 highest-grossing films of 2018, only three female composers participated, and none of them with a female director.

Also, the same analysis indicates that, from 2007 to that year, the fields with the most female presence were production (23%), executive production (19%), editing (18%) and screenwriting (11%), but when it comes to composers only 1% were females, that is 19 women against 1,227 men.

So this is why it is important to talk about women like Hildur Gudnadóttir, who just became the first woman to ever win Best Original Score on her own at the Academy Awards and the first female winner in 35 years since Sharon Robinson, Sue Sheridan and Allee Willis won for Beverly Hills Cop in 1985. 

Also read: The Joker: the movie is beautiful, painfully beautiful

“I think it's just magnificent to be able to be a part of this conversation and to shed some light on the situation of women in the industry, especially in this category, because it's a little bit silly how few there are," she told Deadline last month. "It's completely [incomprehensible] to me. So, I think it's just wonderful to be a part of that conversation, and in the kindest way possible say, "Hey, isn’t this a bit ridiculous?”, said Gudnadóttir to The Week. 

During her acceptance speech, Gudnadóttir was all about encouraging women. “To the girls, to the women, to the mothers, to the daughters who hear the music bubbling within, please speak up,” she said. “We need to hear your voices".

Last year she also received a Golden Globe for her work in “Joker” and both a Grammy and an Emmy for her compositional work on the HBO miniseries “Chernobyl.” 

“I’ve noticed a bit of wariness sometimes in the last decade or so to trust women for these bigger projects,” Guðnadóttir said after her recent Golden Globes win. “But I believe that because of all the awareness that has been raised in the last couple of years about the position of women in the industry, I have benefited a lot.”

As read on Shape Platform, Hildur has released four critically acclaimed solo albums: Mount A (2006), Without Sinking (2009), Leyfðu Ljósinu (2012) and Saman (2014)

"I think that one of the best ways to empower young people to see composition as an option, or to see this line of work, is to have more women visibility in the industry. It is a huge honor. To be part of that visibility and hopefully send a message to the industry and, more importantly, to the girls that are starting, that this is possible”, said the compositor to AP. 

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