For the first time ever, tonight’s Grammy awards featured a category just for video game soundtracks. And the first ever winner in this new category was Ubisoft’s Assassin’s Creed. Congratulations! A momentous occasion for everyone involved, but for the rest of us, also a very funny moment of live television.
While video games have been nominated before (like Kirby in 2021) and even won Grammys before—Christopher Tin’s Civilization IV intro, which was back in 2011—2023 saw the debut of a brand new category, called “Best Score Soundtrack For Video Games/Interactive Media”.
The nominees were veteran games composer Austin Wintory (hilariously given his previous body of work, for Aliens: Fireteam Elite), Bear McCreary (Call of Duty: Vanguard), Richard Jacques (Guardians of the Galaxy), Christopher Tin again (for the Civ-like Old World) and Stephanie Economou for Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla’s expansion Dawn of Ragnarok.
Composer and violinist Economou—who at time of publishing had a Twitter bio simply saying “Non-award-winning composer”—is now an award-winning composer. Congratulations Stephanie! Making the occasion even more memorable for everyone watching at home, though, was presenter and comedian Randy Rainbow (also nominated tonight, for best comedy album) being given an envelope that had “Assassin’s Creed Valhalla” written inside it then reading it like this:
Meta Quest Pro
The Meta Quest Pro centers on working, creating, and collaborating in a virtual space.
It must be nerve-wracking at the best of times being up there and announcing awards knowing that so many people (even if this was the earlier “premiere” ceremony) are watching you. Then imagine being asked to read, not “Beyonce”, but “Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla: Dawn of Ragnarok” when you’re not someone who has been exposed to those words non-stop for three years, and has somehow internalised them and made them seem even remotely normal. It is not a normal collection of words. It would be hard!
You can watch Economou’s full acceptance speech, in which she thanks everyone who “fought tirelessly” for this category to be included in the awards, here.
UPDATE 6:16pm ET, February 6: Rainbow has responded in the best possible way, writing:
Yes, I totally had a Travolta/Adel Dazeem moment at the Grammys.🤦♀️It was the second category of the show, I was still finding my footing and don’t know video games. And of the many phonetic spellings I had to contend with as host, that one wasn’t included so I just started speaking in tongues.🤣
If it’s any consolation, when my nominated category was called, they accidentally pronounced my name “Dave Chappelle”.