“Black Panther” composer Ludwig Göransson won the Oscar for Best Original Score at the 91st Academy Awards on Sunday night. This was Göransson’s first nomination — though he’s collaborated with director Ryan Coogler since “Fruitvale Station” — and the first time that a film from the Marvel Cinematic Universe earned a nomination in this category. The other nominees this year were Terence Blanchard (“BlacKkKlansman”), Nicholas Britell (“If Beale Street Could Talk”), Alexandre Desplat (“Isle of Dogs”), and Marc Shaiman (“Mary Poppins Returns”).
Göransson’s victory — a minor upset considering that Blanchard and Britell were favored to win, and that Desplat and Shaiman are beloved veterans in the industry — caps off a staggeringly successful year for “Black Panther,” which grossed more than $1.3 billion at the worldwide box office and landed a total of seven Oscar nominations (including Best Picture) after becoming one of the biggest cultural phenomenons of the 21st century. Göransson’s score was one of many individual elements that helped elevate “Black Panther” above the average superhero movie, and defied the aural bombast that’s typically associated with the genre. Layered with South African and Senegalese drumming and topped with cascading waves of triumphant horns, these percussive compositions rumbled with the pride and anxiety that powers Coogler’s afropunk epic.
In addition to his movie work (other credits include “We’re the Millers” and “Central Intelligence”), Göransson has worked as a producer for a number of high-profile artists, including Childish Gambino, Haim, Chance the Rapper, ZZ Top, and Kanye West.
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The 91st Academy Awards took place at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood on Sunday, February 25. The host-less show aired on ABC, and was also live-streamed by the network.