Icelandic Short Film Nominated for Oscar

yes people short animated film

Icelandic animated short film Yes People (Já-fólkið), directed by Gísli Darri Halldórsson, has been nominated for a 2021 Oscar award for Best Animated Short Film. The film follows the lives of several different individuals who, according to the trailer description, face “the everyday battle – such as work, school and dishwashing. As the day progresses, their relationships are tested and ultimately their capacity to cope.” RÚV reported first.

Yes People has already been awarded at film festivals across Europe, including Spain’s Weird International Animation Festival, where it won Best European Short Film, and the Uppsala Short Film Festival, where it won the Audience Award.

The film’s script only contains a single word: , or “yes.” Gísli has stated that his inspiration for the film was how intonation and expression affect the meaning of words. “I was thinking about languages and how we have dictionaries where words are explained but we also have another layer of language where you have intonation and expression and you can say the same word but if you change the intonation it can have the opposite meaning. I found that really fascinating.”

The 2021 Academy Awards will be presented on April 26, 2021.

Composer Ólafur Arnalds Receives Emmy Nomination

Ólafur Arnalds musician

Icelandic composer Ólafur Arnalds has been nominated for an Emmy award for the theme song of TV series Defending Jacob. Ólafur was nominated in the category Outstanding Original Main Theme Title Music. The winners will be announced on September 20, 2020.

If he wins the Emmy, Ólafur would not be the first Icelandic composer to do so. Icelandic composer Hildur Guðnadóttir won the prestigious award last September for her music for the HBO miniseries Chernobyl. Icelanders have previously been nominated for Emmys in the categories of cinematography and directing.

The Defending Jacob theme can be heard below.

Hildur Guðnadóttir Earns Oscar Nomination for Joker

Hildur Guðnadóttir

Icelandic composer Hildur Guðnadóttir has earned an Oscar nomination for Best Original Score for the film Joker. Hildur became the first solo woman to win a Golden Globe in the same category on January 4.

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced their nominations for the 92nd Academy Awards yesterday. The ceremony will take place on February 9, 2020, in the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles, California.

Icelandic composer Hildur Guðnadóttir is the only woman nominated in the category of Best Original Score and the fifth woman in Oscar history to be nominated in the category. Her fellow nominees are Alexandre Desplat (Little Women), Randy Newman (Marriage Story) Thomas Newman (1917), and John Williams (Star Wars: The Rise of the Skywalker).

In an interview with Rolling Stone, Hildur related her experience of a distinctly Hollywood moment: “My husband got an ear infection, so I’m actually at the doctor’s office[,] and one of the nurses just came up and congratulated me! […] For a girl from a small town in Iceland, it’s kind of surreal to be sitting in a doctor’s office in L.A. and be congratulated by the nurse.”

Hildur Guðnadóttir is a classically trained cellist who has been composing for film and television for nearly two decades. On Sunday, January 4, Hildur earned a Golden Globe in the same category, becoming the first solo woman in history to win. She had previously won an Emmy for her work on the T.V. series Chernobyl. Iceland Review spoke to Hildur in 2019.

Seven Icelanders have earned Oscar nominations in the past: director Friðrik Þór Friðriksson for Börn náttúrunnar (Best Foreign Language Film); Björk Guðmundsdóttir and Sjón for I’ve Seen It All (Best Original Song); filmmakers Rúnar Rúnarsson and Þórir Snær Sigurjónsson for Síðasti bærinn (Best Short Film); Sturla Gunnarsson for After the Axe (Best Documentary Feature); and Jóhann Jóhannsson for Sicario and The Theory of Everything (Best Original Score).

Hildur Guðnadóttir Nominated for Golden Globe

Icelandic composer Hildur Guðnadóttir’s music for Joker has newly secured her a Golden Globe nomination for best original score. Hildur’s music for the screen has been in the spotlight lately: the composer won an Emmy award in September for her soundtrack for HBO miniseries Chernobyl, which was composed using field recordings from a nuclear power plant.

Joker has snagged four nominations in total – the others are for Best Motion Picture in the drama category; Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture (Drama) for Joaquin Phoenix; and Best Director (Motion Picture). Hildur’s fellow nominees in the score category are Alexandre Desplat for Little Women, Randy Newman for Marriage Story, Thomas Newman for 1917, and Daniel Pemberton for Motherless Brooklyn.

The awards ceremony will take place on January 5 in Beverly Hills, California, hosted by Ricky Gervais.

EGOT on the way?

Hildur has been raking in recognition for her soundtrack work in recent months. Besides the aforementioned Emmy, the composer was also named Television Composer of the Year at the annual World Soundtrack Awards in October. Last month, she received a Grammy nomination for her work on Joker.

Considering the well-deserved attention, some are speculating it is likely that Hildur will also receive an Oscar nomination this year. This would put the musician well on the way to the coveted EGOT distinction – winning an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, and Tony award.

Iceland Review interviewed Hildur recently about her work on Joker and Chernobyl.

Icelanders Nominated for Grammy Awards


Film composer Hildur Guðnadóttir and classical composer Anna Þorvaldsdóttir both have a reason to attend the upcoming Grammy awards in January. Hildur has been nominated for her music in HBO series Chernobyl, while Anna’s album Aequa has been nominated in the category of Best Engineered Album (Classical).

Hildur’s music in Chernobyl has been nominated in the category of Best Score Soundtrack For Visual Media. The score, built from recordings of a nuclear power plant, won her an Emmy earlier this year. Her fellow nominees in the category include Ramin Djawadi for Game of Thrones (Season 8), Hans Zimmer for Lion King, and Alan Silvestri for Avengers: Endgame.

Iceland Review spoke with Hildur about her work on both Chernobyl and the Joker film earlier this year.

Icelandic Composer of Chernobyl Nominated for Emmy

Hildur Guðnadóttir

Icelandic composer Hildur Guðnadóttir has been nominated for a 2019 Emmy Award for her original music for the TV series Chernobyl. Hildur’s atmospheric soundscape, sculpted from live recordings made inside the nuclear power plant where the show was filmed, has been praised for how its weaves seamlessly into the action of the series.

HBO production Chernobyl is a historical drama miniseries which centres around the aftermath of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster of April 1986. To write the score, Hildur visited the shooting location, a nuclear power plant in Lithuania, and made live recordings of its atmospheric sounds. “I wanted to explore what a nuclear disaster sounds like – to go into the plant, put on the gear, walk through the huge spaces, smell how it smells,” she told Iceland Review in a recent interview. Alongside sound engineer Chris Watson and score producer Sam Slater, Hildur observed and recorded the plant’s hums, echoes, and thuds, produced by everything from dosimeters to doors.

It’s these recordings that were moulded into the score for Chernobyl in the place of traditional instruments. “Often film music is boosting the emotion on the screen,” Hildur explains. “But because the events at Chernobyl were so devastating in themselves, I found it was really important that I wasn’t exaggerating anything with thriller music or dramatic strings, I wanted to approach the music very honestly.”

Hildur is featured in the August-September issue of Iceland Review magazine, where she talks about her work on Chernobyl as well as upcoming Hollywood film Joker, starring Joaquin Phoenix. Subscribe to Iceland Review here.

Víkingur Ólafsson Nominated for BBC Music Magazine Award

Pianist Víkingur Heiðar Ólafsson.

Icelandic pianist Víkingur Heiðar Ólafsson has been nominated for the 2019 BBC Music Magazine Awards. RÚV reported first.

Víkingur’s album Johann Sebastian Bach has been nominated in the instrumental music category of the awards. The album has enjoyed a warm reception since its release last year, charting on NPR’s list of the top 50 albums of 2018, where Víkigur’s interpretations were praised as “personal, poetic, and precise.” One track on the recording made it on the New York Times’ list of Top 25 Classical Music Tracks of 2018, where Joshua Barone hailed Víkingur as “a master of finding and exploiting unexpected pockets of musicality.”

The BBC Music Magazine Awards nominees are selected from among some 200 albums that the magazine has awarded five stars over the preceding 12 months. The winners are decided by public vote, which is open to all until February 19.

The Icelanders Nominated for Person of the Year

Lilja Alfreðsdóttir is one of the people nominated for Person of the Year.

Online newspaper Vísir and radio station Bylgjan organise a yearly vote in Iceland for person of the year. Each December, readers and listeners are invited to nominate people online and by phone who they believe deserve the title for their achievements during the year. This month, nearly 7,000 nominations were received. Vísir and Bylgjan have gone over the nominations and created a shortlist on ten individuals, listed below.

A winner, chosen by public vote throughout the end of the month, will be announced on December 31.

Shortlist for Person of the Year

Kári Stefánsson

The CEO of deCODE genetics launched a website where Icelanders can find out whether they carry a genetic mutation in the genome BRCA2 which makes them more likely to be diagnosed with cancer. deCODE also funded the purchase and installation of Iceland’s first PET scanner, now in use at the National University Hospital.

Benedikt Erlingsson

The director of Woman at War, which swept up at award ceremonies around the world, has used his new-found publicity to speak out about combating climate change. Woman at War was awarded the Nordic Council Film Prize and the European Parliament’s LUX Prize this year, among several other wins and nominations.

Guðmundur Fylkisson

The police officer and chief inspector handles missing children cases on behalf of the Government Agency for Child Protection. Every year some 80-90 children go missing in Iceland; one 12-year-old went missing 20 times.

Lilja Alfreðsdóttir

The Minister of Education and Culture showed courage when describing the crude and now-infamous conversation of MPs recorded at Klaustur Bar as “violence.” The MPs were abusers who should not be given power within Icelandic society, Lilja stated sincerely in an interview on evening program Kastljós.

Bára Halldórsdóttir

The anonymous whistle-blower responsible for recording the sexist, ableist, and homophobic conversation of six MPs at a Reykjavík bar and sending it to media eventually came forward, revealing herself to be a queer, disabled woman. Bára could face a lawsuit at the hands of the MPs for her actions.

Einar Hansberg Árnason

The athlete rowed 500km (310mi) in 50 hours on a rowing machine at Crossfit Reykjavík to raise funds for Kristín Sif Björgvinsdóttir and her family, and raise awareness of suicide among young men. Kristín Sif’s husband took his own life earlier that year.

Elísabet Margeirsdóttir

The long-distance runner became the first woman to complete the 400km (248mi) Ultra Gobi Race in China’s Gobi Desert in under 100 hours. She placed seventh in the race overall.

Guðmundur Ragnar Magnússon

The Icelandic Coast Guart sailor saved 15 people from the ship Fjordvik which stranded in Helguvík in November. Guðmundur broke two ribs in the process, but continued the operation until all of the ship’s passengers had reached safety, and was the last man off board.

Guðrún Björt Yngvadóttir

The biomedical scientist was elected international president of Lions Clubs International, making her the first woman to serve in the post in the organisation’s 101-year history.

Bára Tómasdóttir

The mother of Einar Darri Óskarsson, who died in May from an overdose of sedatives, started the “I have only one life” movement in memory of her son. The movement aims to raise awareness of the dangers of drug use among youth.