Composer Ludwig Göransson has worked on every Ryan Coogler film to date, going back as far as Coogler’s first student film at USC. Earlier this morning, that collaboration paid off for Göransson as he nabbed his first ever Academy Award nomination for his work on Black Panther.
Black Panther’s Oscar success is truly remarkable: both as a movie with a cast overwhelmingly made up of people of color and as the first superhero movie to ever get a Best Picture nomination. Over the last couple of months it looked more and more likely this day would be kind to the film, but, as Göransson points out, he was not taking anything for granted and was legitimately shocked he got a nomination for Best Original Score. Ahead, we speak to Göransson about his and Black Panther’s nominations.
How did you find out? Were you watching this morning or does someone call you?
Me and my wife woke up around 5:15 a.m. and she put it on her iPhone, the announcements. And we were both equally surprised and shocked. It was crazy.
Did you scream? I would probably scream.
[Laughs] I think it was a combination of some really weird sounds and faces. It was really early in the morning. I was still kind of in a dream state, so I felt like I was dreaming.
You’ve worked with Ryan Coogler many times now. Did you get a sense that if you keep working with him good things were going to happen?
You know what, I felt that from the very first short film we did together. Even before Fruitvale Station, we met at USC as students. We became friends and he asked me to do his first student film, which was a five-minute short film with no dialogue. And right after I saw that movie I was like, oh, this guy is going to go places. I could immediately tell how talented he was.
Is it now an automatic yes for you if he calls?
Yeah. I mean, from the first time we met, he’s a one of a kind and a true visionary. I mean, you’ve met him, so you probably know just by his character, being around him you get sucked right in.
Before you started, were you concerned with Marvel there would be a template of some kind? It sounds like now that wasn’t the case, but before you started were you concerned?
I wasn’t concerned at all. [Laughs] Because I knew they hired Ryan before they hired me. So, from having worked with Ryan on two films previously, I know the way he works and I know the way he gets along with people and the way he makes everyone feel comfortable. And, also, before I was even hired, I had my first meeting with Nate Moore, who is one of the producers of Black Panther. And everything was so much love and so much positive energy from the get-go. So, yeah, I was never worried about it.
In the last few months we all kind of assumed Black Panther would do well today. But thinking back, did you think your first Oscar nomination would come from a superhero movie?
No way. And I did not assume Black Panther would get so many nominations. I was so surprised and am so pinching myself for being nominated.
Did today feel like a team win? This seemed like a very collaborative film.
Absolutely. I’ve been working with a lot of these people on all of Ryan’s movies. He has an incredible team. Why I’m so happy about this nomination is you get to share it with all of your best friends and there’s so much love. It’s people you’ve worked with for a long time. People you started with when you were no one. Being able to share this with that team is so special.
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