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With ‘Black Panther’ and Childish Gambino Wins, Ludwig Göransson Sets a Grammy Record

Variety — Jon Burlingame

Ludwig Göransson’s Grammy wins Sunday night broke yet another record: The Swedish composer and collaborative partner with Childish Gambino became the first artist to win song of the year and best score soundtrack for projects in entirely different music genres.

Göransson won for his “Black Panther” score and shared the song of the year Grammy with Donald Glover for co-writing the Childish Gambino song “This Is America.”

He’d also been nominated for a third award, best R&B song, for co-penning another Childish Gambino song, “Feels Like Summer.” (“This is America” additionally won three other awards, for record of the year, best rap/sung performance and best music video.)

There have been five occasions in Grammy history when the same composer won song of the year as well as original score: Ernest Gold (“Exodus,” in 1961), Henry Mancini (“Moon River” from “Breakfast at Tiffany’s,” 1962), Johnny Mandel (“The Shadow of Your Smile” from “The Sandpiper,” 1966), Marvin Hamlisch (“The Way We Were,” 1975) and Alan Menken (“A Whole New World” from “Aladdin,” 1994).

But all of those instances involved a song and the movie that spawned it. Göransson won for a movie score but also managed to win for a song penned for an album unconnected to any film.

What does this mean for Göransson’s chances at the Oscars Feb. 24? Observers think it could bode well by calling greater attention to the score (substantial portions of which were recorded in West Africa to give Wakanda a more authentic sound), as voting for the Oscars begins on Tuesday.

But it’s hardly a lock. Also winning at the Grammys on Sunday was Terence Blanchard, the composer for Spike Lee’s “BlacKkKlansman.” Blanchard won best instrumental composition for “Blood and Soil,” a track from the “BlacKkKlansman” soundtrack (beating, among others, movie tracks by John Williams, Alexandre Desplat, John Powell and Alan Silvestri).

Blanchard received his first Oscar nomination for “BlacKkKlansman,” after scoring films for Lee since 1991’s “Jungle Fever.” He’s also the first African-American composer to be nominated in that category since Herbie Hancock for 1986’s “Round Midnight.”

Also up for score honors at the Oscars are the music from “Mary Poppins Returns,” “If Beale Street Could Talk” and “Isle of Dogs.” Lady Gaga’s “Shallow,” which won two Grammys Sunday (best song written for visual media and best pop duo/group performance), is widely favored to win song honors at the Oscars.

Kendrick Lamar’s “Black Panther” companion album was nominated for seven Grammys but won only one, best rap performance for the album track “King’s Dead.” That album’s far better known single “All the Stars,” nominated for record and song of the year (and currently nominated for a Best Song Oscar), failed to win a Grammy.