“First Man” composer Justin Hurwitz won the Golden Globe for Best Original Score at the 2019 ceremony.
The other nominees in this category were Alexandre Desplat (“Isle of Dogs”), Ludwig Göransson (“Black Panther”), Marco Beltrami (“A Quiet Place”), and Marc Shaiman (“Mary Poppins Returns”). All five of the nominees have also earned a spot on the Oscar shortlist for Best Original Score. The award was presented by Idris Elba and Taylor Swift.
Hurwitz, who also won the Golden Globe for “La La Land” in 2016, joked on stage about how bizarre it must have seemed to base an entire score around the use of a theremin. Speaking to IndieWire earlier this year, the composer justified his decision as a way of splitting the difference between the wonder of outer space, and the taciturn nature of astronaut Neil Armstrong, who was mourning for his young daughter at the time of his historic trip to the Moon: “Armstrong’s grief needed to feel like something that transcended his earthly life. The theremin is just a great intersection between technology and humanity.”
The instrument’s aching warble is front and center in the moments following Armstrong’s one giant leap for mankind, but it also sobs in the background of the track that first establishes Armstrong’s marriage with his wife Janet, like an echo from deep within the hole in their hearts. “It sounds like the human voice, so you can really almost cry with it and wail with it,” Hurwitz said. “Everything is so flexible on the theremin, so you’re always sliding and bending into the notes. It’s human and not at the same time, so it’s no wonder the instrument has become emblematic of old sci-fi films.”
The 76th Annual Golden Globes were presented Sunday, January 6, during a live ceremony that aired on NBC and was live-streamed online. The awards were voted on by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, a group of international journalists who determine the nominees and winners. For a complete list of the winners from this year’s ceremony, click here.