Composer and conductor Alexandre Desplat, Oscar winner and seven-time Academy Award nominated, for his prolific filmography and his collaborations with Stephen Frears, Terrence Malick, Ang Lee, Kathryn Bigelow, Jacques Audiard, Wes Anderson, Roman Polanski, George Clooney or Matteo Garrone is one of the most worthy heirs of the French masters of film music.
Brought up in a cultural and musical mix thanks to his Greek mother and his French father who studied and got married in California, he grew up listening to French symphonists, Ravel or Debussy , world music and jazz.
He studied piano and trumpet before choosing the flute as the main instrument. As a free auditor in Claude Ballif’s analysis class at the CNSM, he enriches his classical musical education by studying Brazilian and African music. He will record later with Carlinhos Brown or Ray Lema.
Passionate about film music, it’s as much his musical sensitivity as his intimate approach to cinematographic language that will allow his privileged relationship with filmmakers. Inspired by the scores of Maurice Jarre, Bernard Herrmann, Nino Rota or Georges Delerue, it is after hearing the score of John Williams for Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope (1977) that he decides to compose exclusively for the big screen.
During the recording of his first feature film he meets violinist Dominique Lemonnier. This is the beginning of an exceptional artistic exchange as she becomes her favorite soloist, artistic director and wife. With his strong sense of interpretation, his creative spirit and his singular violin playing, Solré inspired Alexandre’s compositions, influencing his music in depth, initiating a new way of writing for the strings in the cinema.
Collaborator of Jacques Audiard since his first film, he creates for his works strong and singular compositions and he won in 2005 for The Beat That My Heart Skipped (2005) the Silver Bear of the Berlinale, and his first Caesar. He works in France with Philippe de Broca and Francis Girod but Girl with a Pearl Earring (2003) of Peter Webber, his 50th score for the film, he gets a first Golden Globe nomination and BAFTA and began his rise in Hollywood. Leading American career and European collaborations and remaining faithful to his directors, he composes among others Syriana (2005)’s scores of Stephen Gaghan, Birth (2004) of Jonathan Glazer, Coco Before Chanel (2009) by Anne Fontaine, The Army of Crime (2009) by Robert Guédiguian, Largo Winch (2008) by Jérôme Salle, L’ennemi intime (2007) or Hostage (2005) by Florent-Emilio Siri.
Prizes and collaborations with the greatest directors follow one another. In 2007, he received his first Oscar nomination for Stephen Frears’s The Queen (2006) and won his first European Film Award. The same year, he won the Golden Globe, the Los Angeles Film Critics Association Award, and the World Soundtrack Award for John Curran’s score The Painted Veil (2006), performed by pianist Láng Lang. He composed in 2008 for Lust, Caution (2007) by Ang Lee and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008) by David Fincher which will earn him a second Oscar nomination and a fourth Golden Globes and BAFTA nomination.
With his score for The Ghost (2010) by Roman Polanski, he won in 2010 a second César and a second European Film Award. The same year he wrote the music of The Twilight Saga: New Moon (2009) by Chris Weitz, whose album was a platinum record, and Tom Hooper’s The King’s Speech (2010) for which he won the BAFTA, the Grammy Award, and was nominated for the fourth time at the Oscars and for the fifth time at the Golden Globes.
In 2010-2011 he wrote the music of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 (2010) and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 (2011) which became the third greatest success of all time. He composed in 2011 nine partitions, The Tree of Life (2011) of Terrence Malick, Carnage (2011) by Roman Polanski, Fantastic Mr. Fox (2009) by George Clooney , which earned him another Oscar nomination, La fille du puisatier (2011) by Daniel Auteuil and The Ides of March (2011) by George Clooney.
In 2012 he worked with Kathryn Bigelow for Zero Dark Thirty (2012), Matteo Garrone for Reality (2012), Gilles Bourdos for Renoir (2012), Jérôme Salle for Zulu (2013), George Clooney for Moonrise Kingdom (2012) and Jacques Audiard for Rust and Bone (2012) for which he won a third Cesar. For his score of Argo (2012) of Ben Affleck, Oscar for Best Picture, it is named for the sixth time BAFTA, and for the fifth time at the Golden Globes and the Oscars.
He signed in 2013 the partition The Monuments Men (2014) from George Clooney, Venus in Fur (2013) of Roman Polanski, and was appointed to the BAFTAs and the Oscars for Philomena (2013) of Stephen Frears.
In 2014 he composed the music Godzilla (2014) of Gareth Edwards, and receives exceptional fact, two Oscar nominations for The Imitation Game (2014) of Morten Tyldum and The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014) by George Clooney, for which he won a BAFTA, Grammy and Oscar.
Member of the jury of the Cannes Film Festival in 2012, he became in 2014 the first composer President of the jury of the Venice Film Festival. Crowning long years of collaboration, he directed the London Symphony Orchestra in December 2014 for a concert of his works at the Barbican Theater in London.
In 2018, Alexandre Desplat received a second Oscar, a Golden Globe and a BAFTA for The Shape of Water (2017) of Guillermo del Toro.