Category Archives: Media Studies
The Academy Awards
According to its website, the Academy is “dedicated to the advancement of the arts and sciences of motion pictures.” The 87th Academy Awards will take place on Sunday February 22nd 2015 at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood, which has a capacity of 3,300 seats on Oscar Night. The Academy Awards are also known as the Oscars.
Officially named the Academy Award of Merit, an Oscar is given in recognition of the highest level of achievement in movie making. (The Academy adopted the nickname ‘Oscar’ in 1939, but no one is quite sure where its name originated – there are a few different theories!)
Although it weighs 8½ lbs, measures 13½ inches high, and has a diameter of 5¼ inches, the Oscar statuette stands tall as the motion picture industry’s greatest honour.
MGM art director Cedric Gibbons designed the statuette: a knight standing on a reel of film gripping a crusader’s sword. It was modelled after director and actor Emilio Fernandez, who posted nude for the design. George Stanley then sculpted Gibbons’ design.
The five spokes of the film reel represent the original branches of the Academy: actors, directors, producers, technicians, and writers. The original statuettes were gold-plated solid bronze, but in today’s Oscar the bronze has been replaced by gold-plated britannia metal. R.S. Owens and Company manufactures the statuettes in Chicago, who spend 3-4 weeks creating 50 statuettes in preparation for the awards ceremony.
What is the voting process?
The ‘race’ to be nominated consists of attempts by studios, independent distributors and publicists to make sure that each of the nearly 6,000 voting members of the Academy sees their film. It means special screenings for Academy members, free admission to commercial runs of a film, and the mailing of DVDs.
The Academy aggressively monitors Award campaigning and has issued regulations that limit company mailings to those items that actually assist members in their efforts to assess the artistic and technical merits of a film. This year, an Original Song nomination for ‘Alone Yet Not Alone’ was rescinded when the Academy discovered that the composer emailed 70 members of the Music Branch of the Academy to make them aware of his submission during the nominations voting period – during which information about the composer and lyricist is to remain anonymous. The composer, Bruce Broughton, breached of the Academy’s promotional regulations, the goal of which is to ensure that “the Awards competition is conducted in a fair and ethical manner.” It was the fifth time an Oscar nomination has been rescinded.
The awards are voted on by members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Nomination ballots are mailed to the Academy’s active members in late December. Members from each of the branches vote to determine the nominees in their respective categories – actors nominate actors, film editors nominated film editors, and so on. However, within the Animated Feature Film and Foreign Language Film categories, nominations are selected by vote of multi-branch screening committees. All voting members are eligible to select the Best Picture nominees.
The members fill out the ballot in preferential order (though they are not required to list more than one), and are sent back online (or by mail if requested) to PricewaterhouseCoopers, an international accounting firm, in January. The votes are then counted by hand to prepare a list of nominees. Regular awards are presented for outstanding individual or collective film achievements in up to 25 categories, usually with 5 nominees in each category (up to 10 in the Best Picture category). The nominees are announced each January at the Samuel Goldwyn Theatre, located at the Academy’s Headquarters in Beverly Hills. This year, directors Alfonso Cuarón and J.J. Abrams, Academy President Cheryl Boone Isaacs, and actor Chris Pine announced the nominations on Thursday, 15th January 2015.
Final Balloting Process
Final ballots are delivered to voting members in late-January and are due back to PricewaterhouseCoopers the Tuesday prior to Oscar Sunday for final tabulation.
The Academy’s entire active membership is eligible to select Oscar winners in all categories, although in five – Animated Short Film, Live Action Short Film, Documentary Feature, Documentary Short Subject, and Foreign Language Film – members can vote only after attesting they have seen all of the nominated films in those categories.
For all the other awards the winner is the person or film with the most votes, but the winner for Best Picture is the first film to get over 50% of the votes. Like in the system that is used in the nominations, voters rank their choices in preferential order and the films are then eliminated in the same manner that is used for the nominations. Each movie gets its own pile — the film that appears most frequently as a first-place choice will have the largest stack, the movie with the next-most first-place votes will have the second-largest, and so forth. Then each stack is counted.
If one nominee garners more than 50% of the first place votes, it will win Best Picture. If, as is more likely, no nominee reaches this threshold, the tabulators go to the smallest stack remaining, eliminate that movie, remove that stack and go down those ballots to voters’ next-highest choice (of a movie that’s still in the running, of course) and redistribute the ballots across the piles once again. This process of elimination and reapportion continues until one film reaches at least 50% + one vote.
After final ballots are tabulated, only two partners of PricewaterhouseCoopers know the results until the famous envelopes are opened on stage during the Academy Awards presentation. If a wrong name were to be called, it would be immediately corrected by one of the partners, who would go to the microphone and announce the actual winner.
Who can win an Oscar?
The awards honour achievements in cinema from the previous year (2014), from on-screen actors to everyone behind-the-scenes. These are the categories:
Actor in a Leading Role
Actress in a Leading Role
Actor in a Supporting Role
Actress in a Supporting Role
Animated Feature Film
Documentary Short Subject
Foreign Language Film
Makeup and Hairstyling
Music (Original Score)
Music (Original Song)
Short Film (Animated)
Short Film (Live Action)
Writing (Adapted Screenplay)
Writing (Original Screenplay)
The Red Carpet
One of the most anticipated and exciting parts of the show is watching the stars arrive at the ceremony and walk down the Red Carpet. People watching at home want to see which stars are attending the event, what they’re wearing, and who they’re with. Most men attending the Oscars wear a tuxedo, and women wear extravagant, elegant dresses. The Red Carpet at the Dolby Theatre is 500 feet long, and is flanked by 700 fan bleacher seats which are allocated through an online global lottery. There are several TV shows and live online reports that show you what’s happening on the red carpet. Check out the printable ‘Red Carpet Bingo’ at the end of this post!
Sometimes you will also see or hear the expression ‘Oscar buzz.’ Here, buzz means ‘what people are talking about.’ Oscar buzz simply means ‘what people are saying about the Oscars’ – who will win, what film will win, etc. On Twitter, #Oscars is used.
The Academy Awards Ceremony
Far from the eagerly anticipated and globally televised event it is today, the first Academy Awards ceremony took place out of the public eye during an Academy banquet at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel. Two hundred seventy people attended the May 16, 1929 dinner in the hotel’s Blossom Room; guest tickets cost $5. The first recipient of the statuette was Emil Jannings, who was named Best Actor for his performance in The Last Command and The Way of All Flesh. However, there was little suspense when the awards were presented that night, as the recipients had already been announced three months earlier.
That all changed the following year, however, when the Academy kept the results secret until the ceremony but gave a list in advance to newspapers for publication at 11 pm on the night of the Awards. This policy continued until 1940 when, much to the Academy’s surprise, the Los Angeles Times broke the embargo and published the names of the winners in its evening edition – which was readily available to guests arriving for the ceremony. That prompted the Academy in 1941 to adopt the sealed-envelope system still in use today. Since 2011, Marc Friedland has designed the envelopes and announcement cards bearing the names of each Oscar recipient.
The host of this year’s show is Neil Patrick Harris.
Each award is handed out by a presenter. The presenter is usually another actor. They announce the category and usually say, “And the nominees are…” The presenter will then read the names of the nominees from the Teleprompter.
There is also an In Memoriam segment which honours those who died during the previous year. A committee made up from the Academy weigh in a lot of factors when deciding on who features in the tribute – in particular, their contribution to and achievements in the film industry. The list is passed on to the producers who then commission the commemorative reel. Last year the tribute was presented by Glenn Close, followed by a performance by Bette Midler.
Once the presenter has finished announcing the nominees, he/she then says, “And the Oscar goes to…” or “And the Academy Award goes to…” and opens the envelope to read the name of the winner. The envelope is sealed so that no one knows the winner until that moment! (Only two partners of PricewaterhouseCoopers know the results beforehand.) The winner then comes to the stage to accept his/her award and make a short acceptance speech.
The final award of the night is always Best Picture.
For the full list of this year’s nominations:
For the full list of this year’s presenters:
Want to play Red Carpet Bingo?
Want to predict the winners?
Sources used in composing this guide: oscars.org, oscar.go.com, englishteachermelanie.com, latimes.com, ew.com.
Images: natedsanders.com, Mashable.com.
Collection of film scripts
Go Into The Story
- There is a list of 80+ free and legal film scripts on Go Into The Story, including 12 Years a Slave, Coraline, Frozen, Moonrise Kingdom, The Artist and The Great Gatsby.
- Brick, The Brothers Bloom and Looper: Johnson’s scripts are available from his website.
Collection of TV Adverts
Cadbury: The Not-So-Secret Secret
Deep RiverRock: Café
Dulux: Colour Prohibition (#ChangeYourStory)
Dulux: Paint Mixing (#ChangeYourStory)
General Election (GE): Childlike Imagination
Google: Nexus 5 – I Do
Ikea: Bed for Life
John Lewis: The Bear and The Hare
Lindt: Lost (feat. Roger Federer)
Lucozade: Powered by Glucose (Dan in Ireland)
Microsoft: Don’t Fight (Windows Phone)
National Lottery: Rainbow
Nissan: Polar Bear
No Nonsense Insurance: Zombie
Renault: Afford to Live Again
Schweppes: John Cleese / James Bond
Sky: Fibre Broadband (feat. Al Pacino)
Volkswagen: The Force
Volkswagen: Tall Girl
Identifying Features of Broadsheets and Tabloids
Students identify which features are typically found in broadsheets and tabloids.
Here is the completed table for page two of the task (PDF, with space for students to write further details/examples), a copy of which is below.
In this quiz, you will be shown the front page of a selection of newspapers and you must select whether you think the page is from a broadsheet or tabloid. Then, you must identify the highlighted parts of newspapers, and decide if some text/images appeared in a broadsheet or tabloid publication. There are 20 questions and 5 marks for each correct answer.
Please use a nickname/pseudonym, as this will appear along with your result on the list of responses which is accessible below. Lower/upper case will not affect the marks, but spelling and spaces will have an impact.
Once you have submitted your answers, click here to view your result on the list of responses (please allow a few minutes for your name and result to appear).
Answers can be found by selecting the hidden text below.
9. Byline (or byline)
Click here for an illustrated guide to creating a self-marking quiz using Google Forms.
This is a small project I did with first year students which revised and assessed some aspects of the Functional Writing and Media Studies aspects of the course.
The PDF (which retains the original format) of the text below can be accessed here. The report format below is only one of several which can be used.
What are reports?
A report is a document which presents facts in a clear and logical way to offer the reader important information.
A report contains facts and information on a particular subject, and gives an account of some event or situation.
It draws conclusions and makes recommendations.
It is written objectively in a formal tone.
What are the main features of a report?
When you are writing a report, make sure you use the following headings.
- TITLE: Give the report a title.
- TERMS OF REFERENCE: Mention who requested the report and why.
- INTRODUCTION: Introduce what the report is about and briefly outline the aims of the report.
- PROCEDURE: How was the information gathered?
- FINDINGS: Present your facts and findings.
- CONCLUSION: The discoveries you made based on the findings of the report. Avoid giving your opinions on the event/situation/incident.
- RECOMMENDATIONS: Suggest some steps to take in response to the findings and explain your recommendations (why am I recommending to do this?).
- SIGNED: Include your name and the date on which the report was written.
Word Construction Activity
Use the letters below to make as many words as you can in 4 minutes. Words with less than three letters are not allowed. You can have a maximum of: three 3-lettered words and four 4-lettered words. No other restrictions.
Pocket Money Survey
To: Board of Management, Hogwarts.
Terms of Reference
This report was commissioned by the Chairperson of the Board of Management to examine the spending habits of the school’s first year students.
A survey was conducted to determine how the pocket money of first year students is spent. The average pocket money was given as €10.
We surveyed 100 students asking them to fill in the questionnaire, which asked:
How much of your pocket money do you spend on the following areas?
25th March, 2014.
Using the sample report as a guideline,
circle the errors in the draft report below
and write why you circled each one.
To: my school!!!
It was open every school day for noms from 11am to 11:15am and again from 1pm to 2pm.
Terms of references
This report was commissioned by the chairperson of the Board of Management to examine the performance of the school shop.
(a) There was an increase in litter near the cafeteria.
(b) Some old people expressed concern at the sale of so-called ‘junk food’.
(c) It was difficult to manage the long cues that frequently formed for food because we all want to go to there.
I would like to make the following recommendations:
(a) More litter bins should be provided.
(b) Teachers and some of the older students should help manage the queue.
The shop did grand this year. My recommendations would obviously make it even better.
Elizabeth Miervaldis Lemon 80>-<
Prepare a report on one of the following:
1. Reading habits of your class.
2. Sports in which your year participates.
3. The type of films your year like to watch.
4. Genres of music your year listens to.
5. Family sizes of your year.
6. What changes your class would like to see in school.
7. A topic of your own choosing (to be agreed with teacher).
Write a letter explaining what you’d like to write a report on. Introduce yourself, explain why you chose this, how/when you will carry out the survey and who will be surveyed. (Draft, then finalised letter.)
Write your report using the ‘Pocket Money Survey’ as a model. (Outline, draft and finalised report.)
Write and design a newspaper article based on your report. Use two/three columns, and include a headline, by-line, and one small picture with a caption. (First: outline the article and draft the design.)
Related past exam questions:
JC English (Higher), Paper I, 2008:
You are a member of your school’s Student Council. As there are now students from a range of different nationalities attending the school, your Principal has asked the Council to come up with some suggestions to help your school to develop as an intercultural community.
Write a report to be submitted by the Student Council to the Principal outlining your ideas.
JC English (Higher), Paper I, 2002:
The Transition Year Class in your school carried out a survey of how the students in third year spent an average of ten euro pocket money per week. Based on the figures supplied below, write a report on this survey for your school magazine.
Pocket Money Survey
Males Females Food / Soft drinks 3.90 2.40 Leisure goods/services 2.70 1.90 Clothing 1.00 2.40 Personal goods 1.40 2.30 Transport 1.00 1.00
Collection of Short Films
Alive in Joburg (2006; dir. Neill Blomkamp)
Badgered (2005; dir. Sharon Colman)
Badly Drawn Roy (2004; dir. Alan Shannon)
Blinky™ (2011; dir. Ruairi Robinson)
Caine’s Arcade (2012; dir. Nirvan Mullick)
Doodlebug (1997; dir. Christopher Nolan)
Free Chips Forever (2009; dir. Claire Dix)
Granny O’Grimm’s Sleeping Beauty (2008; dir. Nicky Phelan)
Gumdrop (2012; dir. Kerry Conran and Stephen Lawes)
Head Over Heels (2012; dir. Timothy Reckart)
Johnny Express (2014; dir. James (Kyungmin) Woo)
La Maison en Petits Cubes (2008; dir. Kunio Katō)
Mr Foley (2009; dir. Mike Ahern and Enda Loughman, also known as D.A.D.D.Y.)
Mr Hublot (2013; dir. Laurent Witz and Alexandre Espigares)
My Mom’s Motorcycle (2014; dir. Douglas Gautraud)
My Strange Grandfather (2011; dir. Dina Velikovskaya)
New Boy (2007; dir. Steph Green)
Paperman (2010; dir. Richard Kelly)
Paperman (2012; dir. John Kahrs)
Signs (2010; dir. Vincent Gallagher)
Some One Not Like You (2009; Virtual Cinema)
The Black Hole (2008; Philip Sansom and Olly Williams)
The Crush (2010; dir. Michael Creagh)
The Eagleman Stag (2010; dir. Mikey Please)
The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr Morris Lessmore (2011; dir. William Joyce and Brandon Oldenburg)
The Gift (2010; dir. Carl E. Rinsch)
The Herd (2009; dir. Ken Wardrop)
The Lady and the Reaper (2009; dir. Javier Recio Gracia)
The Longest Daycare (2012; dir. David Silverman)
The Lunch Date (1989; dir. Adam Davidson)
The Rooster, The Crocodile and The Night Sky (2008; dir. Padraig Fagan)
The White Dress (2006; dir. Vanessa Gildea)
The Wonderful Story of Kelvin Kind (2004; dir. Ian Power)
This Way Up (2008; dir. Adam Foulkes and Alan Smith, also known as Smith & Foulkes)
Umbra (2010; dir. Malcolm Sutherland)