Alexandre Desplat's sophisticated orchestral film scores are informed by influences spanning Claude Debussy, Maurice Ravel, Georges Delerue, Bernard Herrmann, and António Carlos Jobim as well as jazz and world music. A diverse composer who works in a variety of film genres, he emerged in the mid-'80s, developing an extensive resumé in his native France before coming to the attention of Hollywood. That happened with his at-once gorgeous and fanciful score for the English-language film The Girl with the Pearl Earring in 2003. He earned his first of many Academy Award nominations for 2006's The Queen. Often valued for his elegant whimsicality, he joined the Twilight Saga in 2009 and the Harry Potter franchise in 2010 before taking home Oscar statuettes for Wes Anderson's The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014) and Guillermo del Toro's The Shape of Water (2017).
Desplat was born in Paris in 1961 to a Greek mother and a French father who met in the U.S. while both were attending the University of California at Berkeley. They married in San Francisco and settled in France. Alexandre began studying the piano at age five, later switching to trumpet and then flute. Fascinated by both music and film, he decided to pursue a career as a composer of movie scores by the age of 15.
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Wes Anderson's Moonrise Kingdom (2012), Best Picture winner Argo (2012), and Anderson's The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014). The latter provided Desplat's first Academy Award win (the same year he was also nominated for The Imitation Game) as well as his second Grammy Award. His work over the next couple of years was highlighted by 2015's The Danish Girl (his second film with The King's Speech director Tom Hooper) and the 2016 animated feature The Secret Life of Pets.
George Clooney-directed crime thriller Suburbicon as well as Guillermo del Toro's romantic fantasy The Shape of Water, which won him a second Oscar. Desplat's successful partnership with Wes Anderson continued on 2018's Isle of Dogs. His scores in 2019 included The Secret Life of Pets 2, Roman Polanski's historical fiction thriller An Officer and a Spy, and Greta Gerwig's literary adaptation Little Women. Desplat teamed up with Anderson again for the director's 2020 film The French Dispatch.