Journalism is a funny business, and it’s changed a lot since I started in 1973. I saw Phantom Thread on November 25 and immediately felt that Jonny Greenwood’s score could be a serious Oscar contender. I consider myself extremely fortunate to have gotten an interview with him the very next day. But my story was due the day after that, and there was only room for a short piece in the Variety music section that was published December 11. So I condensed a 1,400-word Q&A down to 400 words. Since then, he’s been nominated; there’s a great deal of talk about it; and he’s coming to L.A. for the Oscars on March 4. So we decided to publish the complete interview, which sheds considerable light on the music and the scoring process with director Paul Thomas Anderson.
Radiohead’s Jonny Greenwood, who rarely grants interviews, made an exception to talk to Variety about his music for Paul Thomas Anderson’s new film Phantom Thread, starring Daniel Day-Lewis in what may be his final acting role. Greenwood was fascinating, talking at length about his mostly piano-and-strings score for the period piece about an enigmatic London couture figure and his model/lover. Of Greenwood’s four films for Anderson (including the remarkable There Will Be Blood), this score stands the best chance to get the composer his first Oscar nomination.