Ennio Morricone wins Oscar for Best Original Score

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Ennio Morricone with his Oscar ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images

On Sunday night, legendary composer Ennio Morricone won his first non-honorary Academy Award: for his Hateful Eight score. Morricone, 87, prevailed in a close competition with John Williams, whose Star Wars: The Force Awakens score earned Williams's 50th Oscar nomination.

Morricone was sitting next to Williams, who congratulated his peer with a warm hug as Morricone rose to accept the award. Visibly moved, Morricone spoke in Italian as his remarks were translated.

"Thank you to the Academy for this prestigious acknowledgement," said Morricone, as translated to English. "My tribute goes to the other nominees — and in particular the esteemed John Williams."

Noting that "there isn't a great soundtrack without a great movie that inspires it," Morricone thanked Tarantino, producer Harvey Weinstein, and "the entire team who made this extraordinary film."

The Hateful Eight, directed by longtime Morricone admirer Quentin Tarantino, was hailed as Morricone's return to the western genre — a genre whose sound he helped define with his scores for classic "spaghetti westerns" like The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly.

Morricone's honors for the Hateful Eight score, which largely comprised previously unreleased music originally written for John Carpenter's The Thing, also earned him a Golden Globe this year.

Enjoy music from Oscar nominees past and present right now at YourClassical's Movies stream — and listen to a special two-hour Oscar-themed Saturday Cinema, hosted by Lynne Warfel.

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Ennio Morricone with his Oscar ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images