Ennio Morricone wins first ever Oscar

Leading film composer enjoys Academy Award success for The Hateful Eight

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Ennio Morricone has won an Oscar for his score for The Hateful Eight, the Quentin Tarantino-directed western starring Samuel L Jackson and Kurt Russell.

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In collecting the Academy Award for Best Original Music Score, the Italian composer, now 87, finally ended a run of near-misses that stretches back to 1979, when he received his first nomination for Days of Heaven. In the meantime, he has been nominated on four further occasions and gone on to enjoy acclaim as one of the most distinguished and distinctive film composers of his generation, but this is his first actual win.

Morricone's first ever Oscar success saw him beat fellow nominees Carter Burwell (for Carol), Thomas Newman (Bridge of Spies), Jóhann Jóhannson (Sicario) and John Williams (Star Wars: The Force Awakens). Williams, in particular, could afford to be generous in defeat, as he has previously won five Academy Awards.

One other accolade now enjoyed by Morricone is that he has now become the oldest ever Oscar winner in any category. Arguably best known for his now-iconic score for The Good, The Bad and The Ugly, which celebrates its 50th anniversary this year, his previous nominations after Days of Heaven were for The Mission (1986), The Untouchables (1987), Bugsy (1991) and Malèna (2000). In 2007, he was presented with an honorary Academy Award by Clint Eastwood, star of many of the movies for which he has written scores.

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Collecting his award at the ceremony in Hollywood (above), Morricone reflected that ‘There isn’t a great soundtrack without a great movie that inspires it.’ His win, however, was the only one enjoyed by The Hateful Eight in this year’s awards.