Acclaimed Italian composer Ennio Morricone received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on Friday as he heads into an Oscar weekend that will deliver him his sixth Academy Award nomination. Morricone, 87, has yet to win an Oscar. He is nominated at the 88th Academy Awards this weekend in the category of Best Original Score for Quentin Tarantino’s film, The Hateful Eight.
Ennio Morricone, a native Italian speaker, spoke to the crowd through an English translator at the ceremony honoring him with his Hollywood Walk of Fame star, and he praised Tarantino’s work while discussing the challenges of working with a brand new colleague. Quentin Tarantino’s films have featured the compositions of Ennio Morricone before, but the score for The Hateful Eight is the first original score that Morricone penned for Tarantino.
“A big challenge for me was to work with someone I hadn’t known. I knew his movies and admired him. And he had made a beautiful movie, I knew that, but the great challenge was to work with him for the first time.”
Ennio Morricone received praise in kind from Tarantino, who stated that he went through his personal collection of vinyl records after he returned from his first meeting with Morricone in Rome, and discovered that he owns more records by Morricone than by any other musician. Longtime blockbuster producer Harvey Weinstein, an executive producer of The Hateful Eight, also attended the ceremony.
“This is one of the richest careers in our industry, who has brought so much joy,” Weinstein said of Morricone. Weinstein also told the crowd that his familiarity with Ennio Morricone’s work dates back to his childhood. He called the day that Tarantino suggested Morricone for The Hateful Eight‘s film score one of the happiest days of his life.
Ennio Morricone also remarked at the Walk of Fame ceremony that he disagrees with the perception of The Hateful Eight as a western, and stated that he believes the film belongs to a broader category because it contains elements of adventure and history. He told CNN that Quentin Tarantino gave him no information about the film when asking him to compose the score — his only clue was “snow,” and Tarantino asked him to compose 10 minutes’ worth of music using that clue alone. Worrying that 10 minutes would not be enough, Morricone wrote 30 minutes of music to be safe.
Ennio Morricone was also honored at a pre-Oscars party thrown by the Society of Composers & Lyricists, according to Variety. The party was held at La Bohème in West Hollywood on Saturday afternoon, and was attended by the likes of John Williams, a composer famous for film scores who is accepting his 50th Oscar nomination for Star Wars: The Force Awakens on Sunday. Ennio Morricone received the biggest applause of anyone at the event. Williams, 84, got a huge laugh from the crowd by teasing Morricone about their meager three-year age difference.
“I’m particularly happy today to congratulate all the nominees, particularly a gentleman who has been such a great inspiration to all of us younger composers.”
The fact that Ennio Morricone’s music has yet to win an Academy Award is certainly surprising, considering he has penned the scores of more than 450 films dating back to 1960s spaghetti westerns, most notably the memorable score for The Good, the Bad and the Ugly. According to The Bangor Daily News, Morricone is the frontrunner to win on Sunday, likely because he has already won the Golden Globe and the BAFTA for scoring The Hateful Eight. Ennio Morricone did receive an honorary Oscar in 2007 for “his magnificent and multifaceted contributions to the art of film music.” At the time, Reuters called him a visionary with “continuing cultural relevance.”
Ennio Morricone has worked with Sergio Leone, Bernardo Bertolucci, Lina Wertmuller, Brian De Palma, and Oliver Stone, in addition to Quentin Tarantino. The 88th annual Academy Awards will be held Sunday, February 28.
[Image courtesy of Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images]