Incredibly, Morricone had never won an Oscar despite racking up more than 500 movie credits in his lengthy career, despite his honorary award in 2007.
Leonardo DiCaprio may have made most of the headlines with his first Oscar win after five nominations for Best Actor, but perhaps just as significant was the triumph of Ennio Morricone, the legendary soundtrack composer who won his first statuette at the age of 87.
The Italian maestro has notched up more than 500 movie credits throughout his lengthy career, but finally struck gold on Sunday night as he collected the Oscar for Best Original Score to add to the Golden Globe he picked up for the same work he did for Quentin Tarantino’s The Hateful Eight.
Ennio Morricone with his wife at the European premiere of 'The Hateful Eight'
Tarantino has expressed a willingness to work with Morricone throughout his whole career. The composer turned him down for 2009’s Inglorious Basterds, but did provide him with a single original piece for 2012’s Django Unchained. For The Hateful Eight, however, Morricone composed the entire score, adapting unused pieces he made back in 1982 for The Thing.
Having been nominated on five previous occasions dating back to 1978 and walked away empty handed, it was sixth time lucky for Morricone, although he was bestowed with an honorary Oscar back in 2007 in recognition of his career.
Accepting the award, Morricone said: “There isn't a great soundtrack without a great movie that inspires it. This is why I thank Quentin Tarantino for choosing me, as well as the producer Harvey Weinstein and the whole crew.”
He also graciously acknowledged his defeated fellow nominees, Carter Burwell (Carol), Jóhann Jóhannsson (Sicario), Thomas Newman (Bridge of Spies) and John Williams (Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens).
The victory also meant that Morricone has finally been recognised for an achievement scoring a western, the genre with which he’s most associated, having provided the original music for Sergio Leone’s iconic ‘Spaghetti Western’ trilogy – the last of which, The Good, The Bad & The Ugly, is exactly 50 years old this year.