Over his 45-year career, prolific composer-conductor Ennio Morricone has created more than 500 scores for both films and television – including my all-time favorite movie score, the Once Upon a Time in the West ballad.
He will finally be given his Oscar due on Feb. 25, 2007, when he'll be picking up an Honorary Academy Award for his contributions to film art. More than a film composer, Morricone has been frequently the lone savior of poor films made bearable – at times even memorable – merely because of his compositions.
Thus far, Morricone has earned five Academy Award nominations for original score – for Days of Heaven (1978), The Mission (1986), The Untouchables (1987), Bugsy (1991) and Malena (2000) – but has never won.
Born in Rome in 1928, Morricone started creating film music as the 1950s came to a close. A few years later, he began collaborating with director Sergio Leone on a series of European-made Westerns, including For a Few Dollars More (1965) and The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966).
Among the other films – whether good, bad, or ugly- made better by Morricone's art are The Battle of Algiers (1966), Teorema (1968), Burn! (1969), The Bird with the Crystal Plumage (1970), The True Story of Camille (1980), Cinema Paradiso (1988), Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down! (1990), The Long Silence (1993), and Malena (2000).
The composer's current project, Leningrad, has been announced for a 2008 release.