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Oscar-winner Alexandre Desplat

On March 4, French composer Alexandre Desplat won the second Oscar of his career for the soundtrack of "The Shape of Water".

 

During the 90th Academy Awards, Alexandre Desplat won an Oscar for the soundtrack of Guillermo del Toro's "The Shape of Water".

 

On Sunday 4 March, the French composer won the second Oscar of his career for the soundtrack of Guillermo del Toro's "The Shape of Water". Alexandre Desplat had already won an Oscar in 2014 for the soundtrack of 'The Grand Budapest Hotel" by Wes Anderson. He joined the highly exclusive club of Oscar-winner French composers: Michel Legrand and Maurice Jarre both won three Oscars.

Multiple influences

Alexandre Desplat is the composer of 150 original scores marked many influences. Born in 1961 from a French father and a Greek mother, he was caught from early in a musical maelstrom, from jazz to bossa nova and songs from Egyptian singer Oum Kalsoum, his father's favourite. At 5 years old, he discovered music with his piano, before trying the trumpet and the flute. He then studied musical analysis at the Conservatoire de Paris with Claude Ballif and completed his training by studying orchestration with Jack Hayes in Los Angeles. "I took a long time to build myself and understand what my world was. I had so many influences that I had to summarise them", said the composer.

 

International reputation

Desplat already had a nice collection of trophies, from Bafta to Grammys Awards and three Césars in 2006, 2011 and 2013 for "The Beat that my Heart Skipped", "The Ghost Writer" and "Rust and Bones". His career was limited to the French border in the 2000's, but went international when contracts came from the US, with Girl with a Pearl Earring by Peter Webber in 2003 and Birth by Jonathan Glazer in 2014. From now on, major projects became a norm, with prominent directors such as David Fincher, Kathryn Bigelow and Luc Besson. He also worked several times with Stephen Frears, Wes Anderson and Jacques Audiard.

"This new worldwide recognition for Alexandre Desplat rewards the career of an exceptional composer", said the president of the Centre national du cinéma et de l’image animée français (CNC). This second Oscar for Best Original Score just completed the international dimension of the maestro's career. The minister for Culture François Nyssen was pleased by his success: "his work with filmmakers from all over the world participates in the reputation of France". 

 

 

  

 

A film-lover composer

The musician is passionate about films, of course. A renowned film-buff, he was member of the jury of the Cannes festival in 2010 and president of the Mostra in Venice in 2014. When he was president of the Mostra, he explained the place of music in films, in his eyes. To him, music has two major roles in a film: function and fiction. "Function is the pace and speed, and fiction is what creates a world that exists not in the film, but around the film. It's this balance that I find interesting.”