ennioIn the ever-apologetic tradition of honorary and lifetime achievement Oscars, composer Ennio Morricone will receive an Academy Award on February 25. It is hard to believe that one of the most recognized names in film scoring has never been graced with an Oscar before. He's been nominated, sure -- five times to be exact (for Days of Heaven, The Mission, The Untouchables, Bugsy and Malèna) -- but he's never won.

Morricone shouldn't be bitter about losing those five times, especially considering he lost to other greats (Moroder, Hancock, Byrne, Menken and Dun). It should be a big enough lifetime honor for him to know that people around the world regularly hum, whistle or howl along to his theme to The Good, The Bad and the Ugly. But in 2001 the composer told The Guardian, "if it was up to me, every two years I would win an Oscar." In the same interview, Morricone did express some bitterness with not winning for The Mission, stating that Hancock's score for 'Round Midnight was not technically original.

Ennio Morricone has scored more than 350 films and not all of them are masterpieces. He has been nominated twice for Razzie awards (for Butterfly and The Thing) and he even considers his score to A Fistful of Dollars to be his worst. But the 78-year-old is certainly deserving of recognition for his contributions to cinema. Other important scores of his include Cinema Paradiso, The Battle of Algiers and Once Upon a Time in America, which supposedly wasn't considered by the Academy because of an unfulfilled paperwork requirement.

The celebration of Morricone's music on Oscar night should make for an enjoyable program, and not just because his scores will be heard. Morricone seems via interviews to be an honest and, reportedly, grumpy old man, and he will hopefully have some interesting things to say in his acceptance speech.