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Staff Report

LOS ANGELES, 26 FEBRUARY 2007— Italian composer and conductor Ennio Morricone, who has composed some 400 motion picture scores over a 45-year career, was given an Honorary Oscar Award last night at the 79th Academy Awards® presentation in recognition "for his magnificent and multifaceted contributions to the art of film music."

The highly prolific composer has worked with virtually every major international director of the last half-century. "My deep gratitude goes out to all the directors who had faith in me," the 78-year-old composer said in Italian to the celebrity audience in Hollywood's Kodak Theatre.  

Morricone has earned five Academy Award nominations for original score — for Days of Heaven (1978), The Mission (1986), The Untouchables (1987), Bugsy (1991) and Malèna (2000) — but has not previously received an Oscar.

While the bulk of his work has been on Italian films, including The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, Once upon a Time in America and Cinema Paradiso, Morricone has composed memorable scores for such international titles as Bulworth, In the Line of Fire, La Cage aux Folles and Two Mules for Sister Sara. His current project, Leningrad, has been announced for a 2008 release.

Born in Rome in 1928, Morricone was hired in 1964 by Sergio Leone and began a long collaboration with the director on what came to be known as "spaghetti Westerns," though his career has spanned most film genres from comedy to romance to horror. His more than 400 soundtracks pull from a diverse selection of musical styles—classical, jazz, pop, rock, electronic, avant-garde, and traditional Italian folksongs. A tireless artist, Morricone has appeared in venues around the world conducting his own classic compositions. Earlier this month Morricone made his public U.S. debut in an historic concert at New York's Radio City Music Hall.  The Italian maestro conducted a 100-piece orchestra and a 100-voice choir in a medley of colorful themes from Sergio Leone Westerns, as well as music from such lesser-known films as The Sicilian Clan and Love Circle

A five-time Oscar nominee and the winner of a Grammy and two Golden Globes, Ennio Morricone has won BAFTA's Anthony Asquith Award for Film Music five times, and he is an eight-time winner of the Nastro D'Argento Award and a six-time winner of the David di Donatello Award, the leading film awards in his native Italy.  Morricone has also received lifetime achievement awards from ASCAP, the Venice Film Festival, the Los Angeles Film Critics Association and the National Board of Review.

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