It seems like an odd yet perfect pairing. Over the course of his past few films, director Quentin Tarantino has made a habit of borrowing music. As he has grown as an artist, he has gone on to incorporate composers into his work. One of the most prominent is legendary composer Ennio Morricone, whose music can be heard in a few of the director's work since Kill Bill: Vol. 1. Today at the San Diego Comic Con, Tarantino announced a big shocker: Morricone would be producing the director's first fully original score for his upcoming film The Hateful Eight. It is a shocker for many reasons, but it is also likely to mark a hopeful evolution as the director matures as a filmmaker.
The biggest reason that this news comes as shocking ties back to Django Unchained. In the film, Morricone wrote the original song "Ancora Qui." Following its release, the composer noted that he was disappointed with the way that the song was used in the film. This lead many to believe that he and Tarantino were not kindred spirits. As this recent news suggests, it was all a misunderstanding. Morricone claims that Tarantino shares an "artistic brotherhood." Even then, it is more staggering because of a more blatant thing that even the most casual of Tarantino fans will recognize.
Ever since his debut with Reservoir Dogs, Tarantino's films have been equally known for their soundtracks. He has an renowned ear for picking jukebox hits and obscure favorites and blending them into his own, often anachronistic vision. It is why many find issue with his authenticity as an artist. While he has incorporated original content into his films in the past, The Hateful Eight will be the first to feature a full-on original score. While details are very sparse at this time, it does bode well for the film. There was a video presentation for The Hateful Eight at a different panel at Comic Con, but the music used was predominantly Morricone's work for The Thing.
While there haven't been too many noteworthy scores yet in 2015 for the Best Original Score contention (Michael Giacchino's Inside Out is the only one that comes to mind), there is an off chance that this will be a big deal. To summarize, Morricone is a legendary composer best known for his theme to The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly. He has worked on several projects since and has a very distinct, soaring sound that has elevated the quality of westerns and war films alike - two genres that Tarantino has shown a passion for. He may not be as much of a household name as John Williams, but his legacy among cinephiles is well known.
Here's the sad catch, though: he has never won an Oscar. While it is true that he has been nominated five times and has received an Honorary Oscar, he hasn't actually earned a trophy. His last nomination was in 2000 for Best Original Score for the film Malena. While some could pass off the Honorary Oscar as its own achievement, it would be interesting to see someone of his stature win in a competitive category. While there will likely be debate on if it should be done by a Tarantino film, it wouldn't be the first miracle worker move he made. Besides himself, Christoph Waltz won two Best Supporting Oscars (Inglourious Basterds, Django Unchained) after Tarantino featured him in his movies.
If anything, it is interesting to see that Oscar season is able to get some speculation rolling out of Comic Con. While this wouldn't be the first Oscar-winning film to feature a panel at the event (Tarantino has been there before with Django Unchained), it is interesting to even see that there's a modicum of crossover appeal. Of course, there's few filmmakers as stylistic and loving to cinema as that of Tarantino. He makes movies that appeal to both sensibilities. It is a wonder that he has remained more relevant as he has become more assured. Even then, here's hoping that Morricone is about to get some much deserved recognition.