Nicholas Britell is a composer, pianist, and movie producer best known for his scores to such critically acclaimed films as The Big Short and Moonlight. A graduate of Julliard's Pre-College Division and Harvard University who started playing piano at the age of five, Britell scored his first film as a college student in the early 2000s. After graduating, he found regular work on film shorts while keeping a day job. He eventually came to the attention of a broader segment of the film community when he performed his own piano composition, "Forgotten Waltz No. 2," for the 2008 short Eve, directed by Natalie Portman.
Among varied projects in the classical realm (including Portals with violinist Tim Fain) and continued work on shorts, he wrote music for the TV documentary Haiti: Where Did the Money Go and the crime film Gimme the Loot, both released in 2012. His additional music, such as violin pieces and spirituals, can be heard in the 2013 Best Picture Oscar winner 12 Years a Slave. Meanwhile, he also produced a short film called Whiplash, later developed into the 2014 Best Picture nominee of the same name, which he co-produced. His biggest breakthrough yet in film composing came a year later with another Best Picture nominee, The Big Short. His playful score for that movie incorporated jazz, funk, and classical elements. Steady work in Hollywood features followed, beginning with Free State of Jones and Moonlight in 2016. ~ Marcy Donelson