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ROME — Italy is on cloud nine over news that Ennio Morricone will receive an honorary nod at the 79th Academy Awards. And, of course, so is the composer-conductor himself.

“When I got the call I didn’t expect it at all,” Morricone told Daily Variety on Thursday (Dec. 14).

“After five nominations I had kind of given up hope.”

Among the Italo scoresmith’s five Oscar noms are the soundtracks for Terrence Malick’s “Days of Heaven,” Roland Joffe’s “The Mission” and Brian De Palma’s “The Untouchables.”

But it was his famed wood flute theme from Sergio Leone’s spaghetti western classic “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly” that played over and over during Morricone tributes on Italian radio and TV throughout the day.

Morricone, 78, joins Sophia Loren, Federico Fellini and Michelangelo Antonioni among Italo cinema greats picked for honorary Academy Awards.

The maestro, who has taken to conducting themes from his movie scores in international concert halls lately, said he will hold his first-ever Stateside gig at New York’s Radio City Music Hall on Feb. 3 with a 200 piece orchestra and choir. The concert will be telecast live internationally and recorded for DVD release.