It was a huge deal when John Williams agreed to come back and compose the score for Star Wars: The Force Awakens. To a lot of people, Star Wars just isn’t Star Wars without Williams’ stirring music. The score for The Force Awakens was rightfully nominated for an Oscar, but Williams lost out on the Academy Award to his old pal Ennio Morricone for his work on Quentin Tarantino’s The Hateful Eight.
Williams’ work on The Force Awakens may not have won him an Academy Award, but this year’s Grammys gave Williams a second chance at snagging a gold statue for his work on the film. For him to win the Grammy, Williams would have to defeat the guy who took away his chance at Oscar gold, Ennio Morricone.
Sunday afternoon ahead of the televised portion of the Grammys ceremony, John Williams won round two against Morricone (via ComicBook.com). Williams’ Force Awakens score took home Best Score Soundtrack for Visual Media, besting Morricone for The Hateful Eight, Thomas Newman for Bridge Of Spies, Alva Noto and Ryuichi Sakamoto for The Revenant, and Kyle Dixon and Michael Stein for Netflix’s Stranger Things.
If you’re keeping score, that’s five total Grammys for John Williams for his work on Star Wars. Three of those Grammys were for the first Star Wars, and a fourth was awarded for his work on The Empire Strikes Back (the movie that introduced the iconic ‘Imperial March’). Williams has now won 23 Grammys altogether, on 66 nominations. His first career Grammy was awarded all the way back in 1975 when he won for the legendary Jaws score.
The score for Star Wars: The Force Awakens of course reused many familiar themes from earlier Star Wars movies, but Williams did work in lots of new material, including memorable themes for Rey and Snoke. The Snoke theme was particularly impressive with its 24-voice male chorus creating a sinister backdrop to that mysterious and evil character. Overall, Williams did a great job weaving the familiar and the new together, much like J.J. Abrams did with the entire film.
Williams was not on hand to pick up his 23rd career Grammy, but he had a pretty good excuse: he’s too busy working on the score for the next Star Wars movie, The Last Jedi, which is set to hit theaters December 15, 2017. Somewhere, John Williams is watching The Last Jedi (at least a rough cut; he’s never actually personally seen a finished Star Wars film if you can believe it) and dreaming up the next possibly Grammy-winning Star Wars score. It’s truly great to be John Williams.