Italy had reason to celebrate at this year’s Academy Awards thanks to the well-deserved Oscar win by Ennio Morricone.
The 87-year-old composer won Best Original Score for Quentin Tarantino’s The Hateful Eight, making him the oldest Oscar winner ever. Morricone, who received an honorary Oscar in 2007 “for his magnificent and multifaceted contributions to the art of film music,” had been nominated five previous times.
“There isn't a great soundtrack without a great movie that inspires it," the Rome-born artist said on the stage of the Dolby Theater during his acceptance speech. "This is why I thank Quentin Tarantino for choosing me, as well as the producer Harvey Weinstein and the whole crew.” He concluded by thanking his wife: “I dedicate this music and this award to my wife Maria.”
Over the past seven decades, Morricone has composed more than 500 scores for cinema and television, and more than 100 classical works. He has worked with Hollywood’s top directors on more than 70 award-winning films. His first nomination was for Days of Heaven in 1979, followed by The Mission in 1986, The Untouchables in 1987, Bugsy in 1991, and Malena in 2000.
He famously composed Sergio Leone’s so-called Dollars Trilogy, “what is now considered his most groundbreaking work,” according to Variety. The soundtrack for The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, one of the movies in the trilogy, was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 2009.
To celebrate Morricone’s Oscar win, here are three of his most famous film scores (we're pretty sure you'll instantly recognize them!).
A Fistful of Dollars (1964):
Il buono, il brutto, il cattivo (1966):
Cinema Paradiso (1988):