ENCINO, Calif. — Amid the vintage Star Wars
figures, toy cars, baseballs and other childhood bric-a-brac filling the shelves of composer Michael Giacchino's home office are replicas of the golden idol from Raiders of the Lost Ark
, the black figurine from The Maltese Falcon
and one of the drug-smuggling Virgin Mary statuettes from TV's Lost
As a first-time Academy Award nominee for his score to Ratatouille
, Giacchino now has the chance to add one authentic Hollywood figurine — an Oscar — to his collection.
That fact finally hit him when he ran into George Clooney, Hal Holbrook, Javier Bardem and other famous faces at the luncheon for this year's nominees.
"I was looking around thinking, 'This is insane. This is crazy that I'm even sitting here,' because since I was kid I watched the Oscars, and I always wanted to make movies and do all this."
Giacchino has written music for Alias
, The Incredibles
and the upcoming Speed Racer
and Star Trek
movies. His career has been a peculiar journey but one that could lend hope to any kid hoping to break into show business.
The married, 40-year-old father of three grew up in New Jersey, and as a child he made stop-motion animated home movies with his father's 8mm camera, using many of the toys that are still in his collection.
"My parents always supported me in everything I did," Giacchino says. "I think a lot of this comes from them, because never once did they say, 'You want to make a movie? … No, you can't touch my camera.' I do think it starts there, having parents who want you to do the things you want to do."
Giacchino studied music and film in college but had no connections to Hollywood. So he found work in publicity, first at Universal and later at Disney. "I thought, if I get a job within a studio system, somehow, somewhere I'll learn more about it and meet the people you need to meet to keep propelling forward." And he did.