Italian composer-conductor Ennio Morricone, who has never won an Oscar despite been nominated five times, will be given an Honorary Oscar at the Academy Awards next February.

Morricone, who has composed more than 300 film scores over a 45-year career,  has received original score nominations for 'Days of Heaven' (1978), 'The Mission' (1986), 'The Untouchables' (1987), 'Bugsy' (1991) and 'Malèna' (2000).

He has been critically acclaimed for recent work on film scores for 'The Mission', ''Cinema Paradiso' and 'Lolita'.

In announcing the award, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences cited the Italian composer's "magnificent and multifaceted contributions to the art of film music."

Although only 30 of his films were the Western gene, his work is instantly recognisable in the popular soundtracks of the Sergio Leone's classic Italian spaghetti westerns 'The Good, the Bad and the Ugly' (1966) and 'Once Upon a Time in the West' (1968).

"I certainly did not expect anything of the sort, by now with great tranquillity and peace of mind I had given up on this," Morricone told Italy's Sky TG24 TV. "This is a great, very important recognition, which I deem of great value."