UPDATED with video: For eight years, French composer Alexandre Desplat was always a bridesmaid and never a bride at the Oscars, with several nominations for scores to such pics like The Queen, King’s Speech and Argo. That is until 2015, when he finally won for The Grand Budapest Hotel. That was also an interesting year for Desplat because he was also nominated for The Imitation Game, and rather than cancel himself out, as many Oscar pundits would guess, the composer actually won.
Desplat’s take on why he always came up dry at the Oscars was because he was known for understated scores versus brassy ones. But tonight the Academy showed that they indeed truly adore Desplat, and gave him his second original score win for Guillermo del Toro’s The Shape of Water. “Thank you for letting the music be the voice of your characters,” Desplat said to del Toro from the stage of the Dolby tonight.
Desplat delivered a romantic waltz accentuated with an accordion and his own whistling to complement the love story between Sally Hawkins’ mute Elisa and Doug Jones’ Amphibian man during the Cold War.
Desplat came to know del Toro through his productions Rise of the Guardians and the series Trollhunters, both of which the composer worked on. In regards to how their collaboration on The Shape of Water began, Desplat says, “Two years ago, we had sushi together and he said I want to talk with you about fish.”