Congrats to Maestro Morricone & Try Again for Ricciarelli

Natasha Lardera (January 15, 2016)
Hollywood's Award Season sees Italy's favorite living legend, composer Ennio Morricone, win a Golden Globe for his score of Tarantino's The Hateful Eight. The victory is followed by a nomination at the Academy Awards. Oscar buzz has also brought attention to Italian-German director, Giulio Ricciarelli whose film, Labyrinth of Lies, was among the films that made the December shortlist of nine films for the Foreign Film category at this year's Academy Awards. The film wasn't nominated but it still was a small victory.

“I'm very happy, and I wasn't expecting it. You never expect this sort of thing.” This is what Maestro Ennio Morricone told the press after winning a Golden Globe for Best Original Score for Quentin Tarantino's film The Hateful Eight.

Director Tarantino accepted the award on Morricone's behalf and has been criticized for calling film composers “ghetto” while trying to explain that Morricone is the real thing. "As far as I'm concerned,” he said “he's my favorite composer. And when I say favorite composer, I don't mean movie composer, that ghetto. I'm talking about Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert.

That's who I'm talking about." He then continued to say that Morricone has never won for any individual film, and their collaboration marks the maestro’s first original score for a Tarantino pic, and his first for a Western in decades. In reality, prior to “Hateful Eight” Morricone has previously won Golden Globes for Roland Joffe’s “The Mission,” in 1987, and for Giuseppe Tornatore’s “The Legend of 1900” in 2000. What he has not won is an Academy Award, except for an Honorary Lifetime Achievement Oscar in 2007.

Morricone's response? "Tarantino is exaggerating, we have to let history judge. His was an immediate judgment, the judgments of a nice person who was kind enough to praise my work, but we have to wait two centuries to prove that what he has said about me is true.” 

At 87, Morricone has more than 500 movie credits to this name including scores for Sergio Leone’s so-called “Dollars Trilogy” – “A Fistful of Dollars,” “For a Few Dollars More,” and “The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly and Leone’s “Once Upon a Time in the West.” Other unforgettable scores are for Brian De Palma’s “The Untouchables,” Barry Levinson’s “Bugsy,” and Roland Joffe’s “The Mission.”

Needless to say pretty much everybody in Italy is now extremely hopeful that Morricone will be considered for an Oscar. “Maestro Morricone, always a certainty. A source of pride for Italy,” tweeted Italian prime minister Matteo Renzi.

Variety reports that Maestro Morricone is expected to travel, at the end of February, to Los Angeles for the 11th Los Angeles-Italia Film Fashion and Art Festival, the annual pre-Oscars event that celebrates showbiz ties between Italy and Hollywood. Plans are also underway for him to receive a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on that occasion. Hopefully he will also attend the Academy Awards, due to his nomination in the Best Original Score category.

And about those Oscars...We have known for a while now that “Non Essere Cattivo,” the posthumous film by Italian director Claudio Caligari and produced by Valerio Mastandrea had not been selected to be among the films that made the December shortlist of nine films for the Foreign Film category at this year's Academy Awards, but up to today it didn't mean that all hope was lost for Italy. Among the nine titles there was “Labyrinth of Lies” (Germany), by an Italian/German director, Giulio Ricciarelli.

Based on true events, adapted for the screen by Ricciarelli himself in collaboration with Elisabeth Bartel, the film “tells the true tale of prosecutor Fritz Bauer (Gert Voss), who seeks to try former Nazis who not only carried out the atrocities against Europe’s Jews and humanity, but also abetted in covering up their sins.”

The film, which was screened in the Contemporary World Cinema section at the 2014 Toronto International Film Festival, has been described by Variety's Joe Leydon “an intelligent and arresting fact-based drama that plays like a more streamlined version of the high-minded, blunt-spoken, socially conscious “prestige pictures” made by Stanley Kramer and similarly ambitious American auteurs during the 1950s and ’60s.” “Labyrinth of Lies” unveils a truth, “the Frankfurt Auschwitz trials involved Germans prosecuting Germans, to heal wounds and ensure justice despite widespread criticism of such measures.”

We cheered for both Morricone and Ricciarelli: the former has to face the likes of John Williams for his Star Wars score and the latter will work hard to make it another time. “Labyrinth of Lies” didn't make it but it has definitely generated considerable buzz and it will be released in theaters so that, Oscar or not, a beautiful film can still be seen.