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Elliot Goldenthal

Composer Elliot Goldenthal pulled an upset win with his music for “Frida,” beating the widely favored Elmer Bernstein for “Far From Heaven” and classical music figure Philip Glass for “The Hours.”

Goldenthal, previously nominated for “Interview With the Vampire” and “Michael Collins,” immersed himself in the Mexican idiom for “Frida,” writing original music that sounded authentic and choosing traditional songs appropriate to the period of painter Frida Kahlo’s life.


The “Frida” music ranged from evocative acoustic guitar solos to romantically reflective moments and up-tempo, folk-influenced tunes. Vocals by Chavela Vargas (who knew Kahlo) and contemporary Latin artists Lila Downs and Caetano Veloso augmented the instrumental tracks.

Goldenthal thanked his partner (and co-nominee as lyricist in the original song category for their “Frida” song “Burn It Blue”) Julie Taymor, who directed “Frida.” Goldenthal dedicated his award “to the bridges that we tried to build, to the people of Mexico, to the artistic tradition and legacy of personal and political art.”