‘3:10’ Malibu film composer up for an Oscar

Marco Beltrami was nominated for an Oscar for his film score on "3:10 to Yuma."

Malibu resident Marco Beltrami receives an Oscar nomination for best original film score.

By Laura Tate / Editor

Marco Beltrami’s wife, Jill, in organizing travel plans for February, made sure that they were in town the end of the month. Just in case, she said, her film score composing husband would be recognized for his work on the movie “3:10 to Yuma,” starring Russell Crowe and Christian Bale.

“I kept Feb. 24 open, just on the off chance,” Jill said.

The off chance happened.

Marco Beltrami, who along with Jill is featured on the cover of the January/February 2008 issue of the Malibu Times Magazine, has been nominated for an Oscar for his work on the film “3:10 to Yuma,” directed by James Mangold. This is Marco’s first Oscar nomination. His colleagues in the sound mixing department-Paul Massey, David Giammarco and Jim Stuebe-received an Oscar nod as well.

Marco was equally optimistic as his wife about his chances to be recognized.

“I knew there was a possibility of a nomination because of the buzz,” he said. “The good thing is I had so much support from my peers. Composers are very solitary and work alone, and competition is very fierce. But my colleagues enjoyed the work and the nomination is an affirmation of that.”

The 43-year-old father of three boys was up at the crack of dawn the day the nominations were announced, waiting for the phone to ring with the good news.

“I thought they were announcing the nominations earlier so I woke up at 5:30, but they didn’t call so I went back to sleep,” he said. “My agent called at six just bouncing off the wall.”

The film “3:10 to Yuma” is a remake of the 1957 original, directed by Delmer Daves and starring Glenn Ford and Van Heflin, and is a story about a small-time rancher (Bale in the remake) who assists in transporting an outlaw (Crowe) to the nearest rail station to wait for the train to Yuma where the outlaw is to appear in court.

Marco started his career in music at the age of five with an upright piano, and after trying other careers such as geology and urban planning, received a master’s in composition from Yale School of Music. He then landed a spot in a one-year USC post-graduate program, studying under noted film score composer Jerry Goldsmith (“The Omen,” “Alien”).

Marco became hooked.

He worked his way up the ladder, scoring music for small and low budget films for very little money. He then landed a paying job composing music for the television series “Land’s End.”

Marco’s big break in the movie business came with the 1996 Wes Craven film “Scream,” starring Drew Barrymore. From then on he’s scored the music for many major motion pictures, a great deal of them horror films (including the 2006 remake of “The Omen”), although the genre, he has said, is not his ideal fare for movie watching.

The Oscar nomination is not the first time Marco has received recognition for his work. He received an Emmy nomination for outstanding music composition for the television movie “David and Lisa.”

The road to “Yuma” wasn’t handed to Marco on a silver platter. As wife Jill said, “I am so proud of Marco because other composers fought for this job and he got it.”

While the recognition means a great deal to the father of three sons, Coleman, 10, Tristan, 7, and Hayden, 1, he’s keeping his mind focused on what’s most important to him.

“We were all so excited, but our son Tristan was afraid it meant that Marco won’t be around much now,” Jill said. “Marco just told him, ‘If I don’t have my family, I don’t have anything.'”

Writers Melonie Magruder and Lynn Friedman contributed to this story.

For more on Marco Beltrami and his family life in Malibu, see the January/February issue of Malibu Times Magazine on stands throughout Malibu and surrounding cities.