Quentin Tarantino, Harvey Weinstein Fete Oscar Nominee Ennio Morricone at Walk of Fame Star Ceremony

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Quentin Tarantino, Ennio Morricone and Harvey Weinstein

The 87-year-old composer of 'The Hateful Eight' gets his Walk of Fame honors ahead of his seventh trip to the Oscars with hopes of winning his first, as Weinstein promises, "Sunday night we are going to rock the house!"

Oscar weekend is shaping up to be a big one for legendary composer Ennio Morricone, who received a star on Hollywood’s Walk of Fame Feb. 26, ahead of his appearance at the Oscars as a nominee for The Hateful Eight.

“A big challenge for me was to work with someone I hadn’t known,” Morricone said through a translator of the film’s director, Quentin Tarantino, addressing assembled guests, including Tarantino, producer Harvey Weinstein and Italian actor Franco Nero (who played the title character in the 1966's Django and also did a cameo in Tarantino's Django Unchained). “I knew his movies and admired him. And he had made a beautiful movie, I knew that, but the great challenge was to work with him for the first time.”

Morricone’s work has been featured in past Tarantino movies like Kill Bill, Vol. 1, Inglourious Basterds and Django Unchained, but each used existing work or limited original material. The Hateful Eight is Morricone’s first original score for the filmmaker.

Tarantino took the dais before Morricone and recalled his first meeting with the maestro in Rome. “When I got home to America, I went to my record collection and started pulling out all the Morricone records I have, all the vinyl. I have a huge record collection that I’ve been collecting since I was a kid. I realized I have more Ennio Morricone records than I have of anybody else. More than Bob Dylan, more than The Beatles, more than Elvis Presley, more than any rock musician.”

In a 2013 New York Times article, Morricone told students in Rome that he wouldn’t work with Tarantino because he didn’t like the way a song he had written for Django Unchained was used. He later said his words were misconstrued. “Many people say the new Quentin Tarantino movie is a Western movie,” said Morricone with a nod to the genre in which he made his name. “I don’t completely agree with that. I think it is an adventurous movie, a historical movie. The story is well placed in American history. So my concern was to write something different.”

A legend for his Spaghetti Western scores on the movies of Sergio Leone, Morricone has been composing for film for nearly 60 years and has been nominated for the Oscar six times, but has never won, not even in 1987 for his iconic score to The Mission, (which lost to 'Round Midnight). A recipient of an honorary statuette in 2007, the maestro is hardly a lock for the award this time around. His competition includes Carter Burwell (Carol), Johan Johansson (Sicario) and Thomas Newman (Bridge of Spies), as well as John Williams (Star Wars: The Force Awakens), the only one with a body of work that can match Morricone’s, including five Oscar wins for movies like Jaws, the original Star Wars and Schindler’s List.

Harvey Weinstein called it one of the happiest days of his life when Tarantino told him he wanted Morricone to compose the score for Hateful Eight, calling the collaboration a “giant achievement for the company.” He went on to point out Morricone’s less than favorable record at the Oscars, and vowed that this year would be different. “He’s going to win,” Weinstein said of the composer, who has worked on many Miramax movies in the past. “I just want to thank the maestro for so many hours of incredible enjoyment, so many hours of education. And Sunday night we are going to rock the house!”

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