It was a special night that reunited both Clint and Composer Ennio Morricone, Clint of course starred in the dollar trilogy of the 1960's which were scored by Morricone. Clint introduced a film montage while music director William Ross played a medley of themes that included Days of Heaven; The Good, the Bad and the Ugly; The Mission; Investigation of a Citizen Above Suspicion; Bugsy; Malena; and The Untouchables.
Celine Dion then took the stage to perform "I Knew I Loved You," based on a theme from Once Upon a Time in America, with new lyrics by Alan and Marilyn Bergman. Morricone watched while seated in a box near the stage along with Quincy Jones (who recently contributed a track to the new Sony Classical tribute album We All Love Ennio Morricone).
Morricone bowed graciously in accepting the Oscar to a standing ovation. His only English words were "thank you very much," after which he launched into a speech in Italian that Clint translated for the audience. The 81-year-old composer of more than 400 film and TV scores was uncharacteristically emotional as he thanked the Academy; spoke of his gratitude to the many directors who had demonstrated their faith in his abilities; promised to continue to write music with the same level of dedication and passion he has always had; and with Oscar held high dedicated the award to his wife Maria.