Circuit Breaker Interview: Justin Hurwitz Talks About Scoring ‘First Man’ And Working With Damien Chazelle

Justin Hurwitz

Academy Award-winning composer Justin Hurwitz has made a strong mark on the industry in just a small amount of time. Only four scores into his career, he’s considered one of the best in the business. That he’s done it while only working with filmmaker Damien Chazelle is a unique factor that helps set him apart from the pack.

Hurwitz won Academy Awards for Best Original Score and Best Original Song for his work on “La La Land.” Prior to that, he had contributed original scores for Chazelle works “Guy and Madeline on a Park Bench” as well as “Whiplash.”

Now, he sees himself on the Oscar circuit yet again for the Neil Armstrong biopic “First Man,” Chazelle’s latest technical marvel. Hurwitz’s unique sounds and ability to work flawlessly with Chazelle are once again in evidence here. In fact, just a few days ago, the score received a Golden Globe.

First Man” stars Ryan Gosling as Armstrong, the stoic astronaut who would be the first man ever to walk on the surface of the moon. As he prepares for that dangerous mission, he deals with a complicated family situation at home. Tragedy touches his life and makes Armstrong even more determined not to fail in space, even if he’s failing here on Earth.

The film also stars Kyle Chandler, Jason ClarkeClaire Foy, Corey Stoll, and many more.


I recently had the opportunity to speak with Mr. Hurwitz about his work on “First Man,” as well as his unique collaboration with Chazelle. We also got into how he first got interested in music, how he approaches composing scores, and much more.

We hope you’ll enjoy this conversation with Justin Hurwitz.

“First Man” is distributed by Universal Pictures and is in theaters now. It hits Blu-Ray and DVD on January 22nd.

Be sure to check out our Official Oscar Predictions Page to see where “First Man” ranks among the contenders!

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Written by Joey Magidson

When he’s not obsessing over new Oscar predictions on a weekly basis, Joey is seeing between 300 and 350 movies a year. He views the best in order to properly analyze the awards race/season each year, but he also watches the worst for reasons he mostly sums up as "so you all don't have to". In his spare time, you can usually find him complaining about the Jets or the Mets. Still, he lives and dies by film. Joey's a voting member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association.


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