How Quentin Tarantino finally got an Ennio Morricone score of his own

Morricone got his sixth Oscar nomination this year for 'The Hateful Eight.' The composer is best known for his work on Westerns such as 'The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly.'

Dylan Martinez/Reuters
Italian composer Ennio Morricone speaks in London.

Will Ennio Morricone become an Oscar winner with this year’s ceremony?

Mr. Morricone, composer for such iconic Western films as “The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly” and “For a Few Dollars More,” has received his sixth Academy Award nomination this year for his work on the Quentin Tarantino film “The Hateful Eight.”

The composer received an honorary Oscar in 2007 but has never won the award for best original score, though Morricone was nominated for such movies as 1978’s “Days of Heaven” and 1987’s “The Untouchables.”

“I hope that this time there will be [Oscar victory].... I am not certain it will happen, so I am going there tranquil, serene, hopeful that it goes well,” Morricone told Reuters.

Director Sergio Leone's Westerns, including films propelled by Morricone's scores, such as “A Fistful of Dollars,” “For a Few Dollars More,” and “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly,” are often called the pinnacle of the genre.

IGN staff described “The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly” saying, “the picture is full of iconic moments, culminating in the classic three-way, five-minute-long face-off in a graveyard where Ennio Morricone's score essentially becomes a fourth character.”

Telegraph writer David Gritten singled out Leone’s movie “Once Upon a Time in the West,” writing, “Ennio Morricone’s score, composed in advance, is a masterpiece.” 

Morricone has influenced subsequent generations of filmmakers as well. Tarantino included pieces by Morricone in films such as "Inglourious Basterds" and "Kill Bill: Vol. 2."

When he was considering the music for "The Hateful Eight," Tarantino said he knew he wanted something different – the first original score for one of his movies.

"On this movie, I can’t describe it any more than a whisper in my ear that I’ve never had before that said this should not be taken from other movies," Tarantino said in an interview with Deadline. "This should be its own score and have its own theme and its own personality."

"From age 12 on, I started collecting soundtracks and before I knew it I had a huge Ennio Morricone collection," Tarantino recalled.

"It’s not exactly a Spaghetti Western score that Ennio made, nor did I expect it to be," said Tarantino. "He had made it clear that he wasn’t really interested in doing Western scores anymore, which is why I was so taken that he wanted to sit down and talk with me about 'The Hateful Eight.' I knew in my heart it wouldn’t be a Western score. I knew he’d respond to the drama of the story and, frankly, he gave me a horror movie score, to some degrees a Giallo score, complete with a diabolical music box that comes in from time to time. It was perfect for the movie."

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