Skip to page content

Nicholas Britell

About this Artist

Two-time Academy Award-nominated composer and pianist Nicholas Britell is known for his critically acclaimed scores on feature films with Academy Award-winning writer-directors Barry Jenkins and Adam McKay. In 2016, Britell was responsible for the world-renowned score for Best Picture winner Moonlight, written and directed by Jenkins. Britell received his first Academy Award, Golden Globe, and Critics’ Choice nominations for Moonlight as well as the 2016 Hollywood Music in Media Award for Best Original Score (Dramatic Feature). The year prior, he wrote the score for McKay’s much-nominated The Big Short, based on Michael Lewis’s best-selling book.

In 2018, Britell wrote the highly acclaimed score for Barry Jenkins’ If Beale Street Could Talk. Britell received his second Academy Award nomination as well as BAFTA and Critics’ Choice nominations for the score and was awarded Best Original Score by numerous critics’ groups, including the Los Angeles, Boston, Chicago, and Washington, DC Film Critics Associations, New York Film Critics Online, and the Online Film Critics Association. In 2018, he also wrote the score for McKay’s Vice, starring Christian Bale, which went on to receive eight Academy Award nominations including Best Picture. Britell’s most recent film work is the score for Disney’s Cruella, starring Emma Stone, and Netflix’s The King, starring Timothée Chalamet. In 2019, Britell was honored by the World Soundtrack Awards as Film Composer of the Year for his scores for If Beale Street Could Talk and Vice. In 2020, the World Soundtrack Awards honored Britell for a second year running, this time with the TV Composer of the Year Award for Succession.

For television, Britell won an Emmy for Outstanding Original Main Title Theme as well as the 2018 Hollywood Music in Media Award for Best Original Score (TV Show/Limited Series) for Succession Season 1, for which he re-teamed with McKay who directed the pilot. Britell’s score and main title theme have become some of the most talked about music for television on social media, with audience demand leading Britell to produce a remix of the main title theme with lyrics from legendary hip-hop artist Pusha-T (their remix “Puppets” was released in October 2019 by Def Jam Recordings). Most recently, Britell scored Barry Jenkins’ critically acclaimed limited series The Underground Railroad for Amazon.

Britell’s upcoming projects include writing the score for Jenkins’ The Lion King for Disney, HBO’s Succession’s Season 3, and Adam McKay’s Don’t Look Up for Netflix.

In 2017, Britell won the Discovery of the Year Award at the World Soundtrack Awards in Ghent, Belgium, and he also received the Distinguished Composer Award from the Middleburg Film Festival. In May 2019, he was awarded – along with music supervisor Gabe Hilfer - the first-ever ASCAP Harmony Award celebrating outstanding collaborative achievement between composers and music supervisors for If Beale Street Could Talk. In 2012, he was the recipient of a Henry Mancini Fellowship from the ASCAP Foundation and also won the ASCAP/Doddle Award for Collaborative Achievement.  

Britell is a Steinway Artist and is also a Creative Associate of the Juilliard School; he speaks often and gives masterclasses at conservatories and universities including the Eastman Conservatory, Harvard University, Columbia University, New York University, the Mannes School of Music, and Vassar College. In December 2018, it was announced that Britell would be part of Esa-Pekka Salonen’s newly formed creative collective “brain trust” as Salonen took the reins as music director of the San Francisco Symphony. Britell’s public performances have included concerts at London’s Barbican Hall, the Million Dollar Theatre in Los Angeles, Chicago’s Ravinia, and Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall.

Britell is an honors and Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Harvard University, as well as a piano performance graduate of the Juilliard School’s Pre-College Division. He returned in May 2016 as the Pre-College’s commencement speaker.