Ennio Morricone Wins First Oscar, Sam Smith Disappoints Everyone and other Musical Oscar Highlights

Italian composer, conductor and orchestrator Ennio Morricone, perhaps best known in the United States for creating the sound of “Spaghetti Westerns,” received an Oscar for scoring Quentin Tarantino’s film “The Hateful Eight.”

The 87-year-old Morricone bested the scores for “Bridge of Spies,” by Thomas Newman; “Carol,” by Carter Burwell; “Sicario,” by Jóhann Jóhannsson; and “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” by John Williams. Over the course of his career, Morricone had been nominated for five Oscars; previous nominations came for “Bugsy,” “Days of Heaven,” “Malèna,” “The Mission” and “The Untouchables.” He received an honorary Oscar in 2007.

Morricone has scored more than 70 award-winning films, including Sergio Leone’s “For a Fist Full of Dollars,” “For a Few Dollars More,” and “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly.” Other notables include “Once Upon a Time in the West;” “Once Upon a Time in America;” “The Battle of Algiers;” “1900;” “Exorcist II;” “Days of Heaven;” “La Cage aux Folles” trilogy; “Le Professionnel;” “The Thing;” and many others.

An Oscar for Best Original Song was awarded to Sam Smith and Jimmy Napes for "Writing’s on the Wall," which was featured in the most recent James Bond movie “Spectre.”

Napes and Smith, who apparently doesn’t get out much, beat "Earned It," from the movie “Fifty Shades of Grey,” by Abel Tesfaye, Ahmad Balshe, Jason Daheala Quenneville and Stephan Moccio; “Manta Ray," from “Racing Extinction,” by J. Ralph and Antony Hegarty; "Simple Song #3," from “Youth,” by David Lang; and "'Til It Happens to You," from “The Hunting Ground,” by Diane Warren and Lady Gaga.

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Among others, Smith himself was underwhelmed by his performance. "It was the worst moment of my life. Singing was horrible. I hated every minute," he’s quoted as saying in the BBC.

Dave Grohl covered the Beatles' "Blackbird" for the Oscar’s “In Memoriam” segment, which recognized David Bowie, Alan Rickman, Leonard Nimoy, Wes Craven, Holly Woodlawn, Omar Sharif and others.

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