Yesterday, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) announced that Ennio Morricone will receive the Honorary Academy Award at the 79th annual ceremony on February 25, 2007. Finally, I must say.
Mr. Morricone had already been nominated for an Oscar five times but never received it. He is widely known for his eerie melodies in Sergio Leone‘s classic italo westerns (A Fistful of Dollars; Once Upon a Time in the West; The Good, The Bad and The Ugly, &c.). He has, of course, composed the score for many other films as well; over 550, to be precise.
Every time I hear the sound of a harmonica I cannot help but think of Charles Bronson arriving at the train station in Once Upon a Time in the West, or him sitting in the corner of that shabby bar, or his showdown shoot-out with Henry Fonda and the extreme close-up on their eyes.
Do you remember how the lovely Claudia Cardinale, at the end of Once Upon…, walks amongst the hard-working men, who are building her dead husband’s train station, and gives them water out of a bucket? The camera pulls very far back to reveal a wide closing shot and Ennio Morricone’s wonderful soundtrack can be heard. This is one of the most beautiful scenes in cinema history.
Congratulations Mr. Morricone, truly.