Screen Music Awards winners announced for 2023

Composers for Deadloch, Monolith, The Clearing, and Bluey have all been honoured at the 2023 Screen Music Awards

APRA AMCOS and the AGSC (Australian Guild of Screen Composers) have announced the winners for the 2023 Screen Music Awards.

Benjamin Speed, a screen composer and music producer, clinched the prestigious Feature Film Score of the Year award for his work on The Portable Door. His recent score for the science fiction thriller Monolith can now be heard across Australian cinemas.

Read: Monolith review: a chilling Australian indie horror

Michael Yezerski, achieved a double win for his contributions to the Netflix series Ivy + Bean. His work secured the titles of Best Television Theme and Best Music for Children’s Programming.

Amanda Brown was honoured with the Best Music for a Television Series or Serial Award for her work on Deadloch. The comedy series, created by Kate McCartney and Kate McLennan, notably showcased Brown’s inspired choral rendition of the Divinyls’ classic I Touch Myself.

Renowned composer and conductor Nigel Westlake received accolades for his work on the soundtrack of Blueback, an adaptation of Tim Winton’s best-selling novel, directed by Robert Connolly. Collaborating with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, Nigel ‘crafted an evocative orchestral score that beautifully encapsulates the vastness and mystery of the ocean’, said an APRA-AMCOS representative.

Mark Bradshaw claimed his first Screen Music Award with the Best Music for a Mini-Series or Telemovie for his composition in the eight-part psychological thriller series The Clearing on Disney+. Also among the first-timers is James Mountain, who nabbed the Best Music for a Short Film award for Mud Crab.

Read: The Clearing on Disney+ review: a juicy look at cults and complicity

The creative duo of Damien Lane and Jodi Phillis secured the Best Original Song Composed for the Screen Award for their composition Rollercoaster from the Soundtrack to Our Teenage Zombie Apocalypse. The series narrates the tale of four music-obsessed teens competing in the Triple J Unearthed High competition while facing a zombie apocalypse.

Cezary Skubiszewski’s film score for Flyways, a documentary following endangered migratory shorebirds on their ancient migration routes, earned him the Screen Music Award for Best Music for a Documentary. This marks Skubiszewski’s third win in the Documentary category and his tenth Screen Music Award overall.

Read: Cezary Skubiszewski: ‘You have to push yourself, give a bit of your soul, your heart.’

Finally, Joff Bush broke a 15-year winning streak by composer Neil Sutherland and was named Most Performed Screen Composer – Overseas for his work on the beloved children’s show Bluey.

The Screen Music Awards ceremony was hosted by Susie Youssef, with co-presenters David Wenham and Remy Hii.

Erkki Veltheim, the new Musical Director, led the Screen Music Awards Orchestra in performing the nominated pieces for Feature Film Score of the Year. The orchestra also paid tribute to Burkhard Dallwitz for his Golden Globe-winning score in the Peter Weir feature film The Truman Show, marking 25 years since its composition.

A special moment during the event commemorated the 50th anniversary of Basically Black, the first Australian TV show performed by an all-Indigenous cast and led by Blak writers. The show addressed serious issues such as racism and white paternalism through humuor. The Screen Music Awards Orchestra, along with guest performers Ursula Yovich and Kutcha Edwards, presented a sample of the show’s score.

The evening concluded with a performance of Rollercoaster, the winner of the Best Original Song Composed for the Screen, delivered by singer-songwriter and actor Mina-Siale.

Silvi Vann-Wall is a journalist, podcaster, and filmmaker. They joined ScreenHub as Film Content Lead in 2022. Twitter: @SilviReports