The International Film Music Critics Association (IFMCA) announces its list of winners for excellence in musical scoring in 2019, in the 2019 IFMCA Awards.

The International Film Music Critics Association awarded Score of the Year to legendary veteran John Williams for his score for the ninth and final Star Wars film, “The Rise of Skywalker,” which concludes the sequel trilogy of adventures about the scavenger Rey, former Stormtrooper Finn, and Kylo Ren of the Imperial First Order. The film is directed by J. J. Abrams, and stars Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, and Adam Driver.

In describing the score, IFMCA member James Southall described The Rise of Skywalker as ‘one last brilliant piece of musical adventure … a triumphant conclusion to an extraordinary musical saga,’ and also said that ‘it’s simply impossible to overstate Williams’s contribution to the series’ success’. The score is also named Best Original Score for a Fantasy/Science Fiction/Horror Film, while the main theme The Rise of Skywalker is named Film Music Composition of the Year.

Williams’ final Star Wars music also was nominated for the Oscar, Grammy, BAFTA, and many other honors. It’s a unique creation, spanning 43 years of continuous work weaving together over 50 themes that are shared between multiple films.

The IFMCA also gave a Special Award to Williams, primarily in recognition of his achievement in scoring the 9-movie saga that began with the original Star Wars film in 1977. IFMCA member Jon Broxton opined that ‘no-one has achieved the holy triumvirate of musical excellence, peer respect, and pop culture recognition the way that John Williams has,’ and described the entire Star Wars saga as ‘works of staggering genius and beauty’.

This brings to 26 the total IFMCA Award wins to date for Williams’s career. This goes with 25 Grammy wins and 52 Academy Award Nominations, and countless other honors including the only AFI Life Achievement Award given to a composer.

He also helped a colleague win. In the Compilation category, the award went to producer Bernhard Güttler of the Deutsche Grammophon label for “Across the Stars,” a new compilation of classic John Williams film music themes arranged for virtuoso violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter and conducted by Williams himself with the Recording Arts Orchestra of Los Angeles.

Bear McCreary was named Composer of the Year, having written music for six films and four television series in 2019. Hildur Guðnadóttir won for her innovative score for the critically acclaimed TV series “Chernobyl,” while composer Neal Acree wins the award for Best Original Score for a Video Game or Interactive Media for his dynamic score for the action adventure survival game “Rend”.

The full list of winners are:

Film Score of the Year

  • Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, music by John Williams

Film Composer of the Year

  • Bear McCreary

Breakthrough Composer of the Year

  • Nainita Desai

Best Original Score for a Drama Film

  • Little Women, music by Alexandre Desplat

Best Original Score for a Comedy Film

  • Jojo Rabbit, music by Michael Giacchino

Best Original Score for an Action/Adventure/Thriller Film

  • 1917, music by Thomas Newman

Best Original Score for a Fantasy/Science Fiction/Horror Film

  • Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, music by John Williams

Best Original Score for an Animated Feature

  • How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World, music by John Powell

Best Orignal Score for a Documentary

  • Our Planet, music by Steven Price

Best Original Score for Television

  • Chernobyl, music by Hildur Guðnadóttir

Best Original Score for a Video Game or Interactive Media

  • Rend, music by Neal Acree

Best New Archival Release, Re-Release or Re-Recording

  • Dial M for Murder, music by Dimitri Tiomkin; The Royal Scottish National Orchestra, conducted by William Stromberg; album produced by Douglass Fake; liner notes by Roger Feigelson and Douglas Fake; art direction by Kay Marshall (Intrada)

Best New Archival Release – Compilation

  • Across the Stars, music by John Williams; The Recording Arts Orchestra of Los Angeles and Anne-Sophie Mutter, conducted by John Williams; album produced by Bernhard Güttler; liner notes by Jon Burlingame; art direction by Büro Dirk Rudolph (Deutsche Grammophon)

Film Music Record Label of the Year

  • La La Land Records, MV Gerhard and Matt Verboys

Film Music Composition of the Year

  • The Rise of Skywalker, from Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, music by John Williams

The Roberto Ascheri Special Award

  • John Williams, for career achievement


David Raiklen
David Raiklen

David Raiklen wrote, directed and scored his first film at age 9. He began studying keyboard and composing at age 5. He attended, then taught at UCLA, USC and CalArts. Among his teachers are John Williams and Mel Powel.
He has worked for Fox, Disney and Sprint. David has received numerous awards for his work, including the 2004 American Music Center Award. Dr. Raiklen has composed music and sound design for theater (Death and the Maiden), dance (Russian Ballet), television (Sing Me a Story), cell phone (Spacey Movie), museums (Museum of Tolerance), concert (Violin Sonata ), and film (Appalachian Trail).
His compositions have been performed at the Hollywood Bowl and the first Disney Hall. David Raiken is also host of a successful radio program, Classical Fan Club.