Morricone hailed after Oscar win

Composer triumphs with score for The Hateful Eight

(ANSA) - Rome, February 29 - Italian music great Ennio Morricone was hailed Monday after winning the best original score Academy Award for his work for Quentin Tarantino's The Hateful Eight at the 2016 Oscars. Remarkably, it was the first 'competitive' Oscar for the 87-year-old, who created some of cinema's most memorable scores, including those for The Untouchables, The Mission and Sergio Leone's spaghetti westerns. The composer won an honorary Academy Award for his career in 2007 and had been nominated for an Oscar five times previously. Morricone dedicated the award to his wife Maria and paid tribute to the other nominees.
    "My thoughts go to the other nominees, especially (Star Wars composer) John Williams," he said, visibly moved as he received the award to a standing ovation at the Dolby Theater in Los Angeles. "There's no great soundtrack without a great inspiration like Tarantino and his team, who I thank for having chosen me".
    President Sergio Mattarella and Premier Matteo Renzi were among the first to congratulate Morricone. "Maestro Ennio Morricone's compositions have touched entire generations all over the world and made them dream," said Mattarella. "The Oscar is well-deserved recognition that honours the life of a great artists devoted to music. I give Maestro Morricone my most deeply felt congratulations and thanks from all of Italy". Renzi paid tribute via his Twitter account, @matteorenzi.
    "Great maestro, finally!" Renzi posted. "#Morricone #pride #Oscars2016".
    In his e-news, Renzi said it had been "exciting" to see Morricone win his first competitive Oscar and that he should have got one much sooner - especially for his "immortal" soundtrack to Mission in 1986.
    Among the many to take their hats off for Morricone were the Franciscan friars from Assisi's Sacro Convento.
    "Compliments to the maestro for the Oscar for his music and its enchanting simplicity," said Father Enzo Fortunato, the director of the Sacro Convento's press office.
    "We still recall the emotions that he enabled us to experience in Assisi when he conducted the Saint Francis Basilica orchestra and called Francis of Assisi "the most important Italian saint, deserving all our attention for his modesty and sacrifice". Born in Rome in 1928, Morricone has over 500 film and TV soundtrack credits to his name.
    He has also conducted orchestras and in June 2015 he presented his Missa Papae Francisci, composed in honour of Pope Francis.
    His score for The Hateful Eight was the hot favourite for the Oscar after triumphing at the British Film Academy's BAFTA awards and at the Golden Globes. Tarantino compared Morricone to Mozart, Beethoven and Schubert after collecting the Golden Globe on his behalf.
    It was a similar story to Morricone's for actor Leonardo DiCaprio, who claimed won his first Oscar, for best actor, for survival movie The Revenant after six nominations.
    Brie Larson won the best actress award for Room, and Spotlight won best picture Oscar, while Mad Max: Fury Road got the most Oscars - six.