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The 87th Academy Awards

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.

 

The Statuette

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.

Award for Best Original Screenplay presented to Herman J. Mankiewicz in 1941 for writing Citizen Kane. Image from natedsanders.com.

Award for Best Original Screenplay presented to Herman J. Mankiewicz in 1941 for writing Citizen Kane. Image from natedsanders.com.

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 The original statuettes were gold-plated solid bronze, but in today’s Oscar the bronze has been replaced by gold-plated britannia metal.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.

Image: Mashable.com

Image: Mashable.com

 

What is the voting process?

The Race

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.

Nominations Process

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:

Best Picture

Actor in a Leading Role

Actress in a Leading Role

Actor in a Supporting Role

Actress in a Supporting Role

Animated Feature Film

Cinematography

Costume Design

Directing

Documentary Feature

Documentary Short Subject

Film Editing

Foreign Language Film

Makeup and Hairstyling

Music (Original Score)

Music (Original Song)

Production Design

Short Film (Animated)

Short Film (Live Action)

Sound Editing

Sound Mixing

Visual Effects

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 making of the envelope

 

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: 

http://oscar.go.com/nominees

 

For the full list of this year’s presenters: 

http://oscar.go.com/photos/presenters-87th-oscars-2015/

 

Want to play Red Carpet Bingo?

http://marcfriedlandinc.com/TheOscarsRedCarpetBingo.pdf

 

Want to predict the winners?

Click here for your online ballot! (Here for printable ballot.)

 

Tie-In Lessons:

Film Poster Analysis, Film Revision: Key Words

 

Sources used in composing this guide: oscars.org, oscar.go.com, englishteachermelanie.com, latimes.com, ew.com.

Images: natedsanders.com, Mashable.com.

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Film Scripts

Collection of film scripts

 

Go Into The Story

 

Rian Johnson

  • BrickThe Brothers Bloom and Looper: Johnson’s scripts are available from his website.

 

David Seidler

35 Short Films

Collection of Short Films

 

Alive in Joburg (2006; dir. Neill Blomkamp)

An eerie tale of a close encounter of the third kind in Johannesburg. Blomkamp's film District 9 is loosely based on this short.

 

Badgered (2005; dir. Sharon Colman)

The tale of a grumpy badger who just wants the world to let him sleep.

 

Badly Drawn Roy (2004; dir. Alan Shannon)

Meet Roy, Ireland's only living animated character, born into an ordinary 'live action' family. Roy is intelligent but unfortunately for him he is badly drawn. His failure to gain steady employment finally leads him to Hollywood in search of fame, fortune and corrective surgery.

 

Blinky™ (2011; dir. Ruairi Robinson)

Soon every home will have a robot helper. Don't worry. It's perfectly safe.

 

Caine’s Arcade (2012; dir. Nirvan Mullick)

A 9 year old boy who built an elaborate cardboard arcade in his dad's auto parts store is about to have the best day of his life and inspire the world.

 

Doodlebug (1997; dir. Christopher Nolan)

A man waits patiently in his apartment to squash a bug, by he could be hurting himself more than he realises.

 

Free Chips Forever (2009; dir. Claire Dix)

Becky and her Dad are invincible chip robbers. Nothing can stand in their way. Nothing, that is, except her brother Tom.

 

Granny O’Grimm’s Sleeping Beauty (2008; dir. Nicky Phelan)

Granny O'Grimm, a seemingly sweet old lady, loses the plot as she tells her version of Sleeping Beauty to her terrified grandchild.

 

Gumdrop (2012; dir. Kerry Conran and Stephen Lawes)

A robot's life story emerges during a casting session.

 

Head Over Heels (2012; dir. Timothy Reckart)

After many years of marriage, Walter and Madge have grown apart: he lives on the floor and she lives on the ceiling. When Walter tries to reignite their old romance, their equilibrium comes crashing down, and the couple that can’t agree which way is up must find a way put their marriage back together.

 

Johnny Express (2014; dir. James (Kyungmin) Woo)

It's 2150. Johnny is a space delivery man who travels to different planets to deliver packages. However, it never goes as planned...

 

La Maison en Petits Cubes (2008; dir. Kunio Katō)

As his town is flooded by water, an old man is forced to add additional levels onto his home with bricks (cubes) in order to stay dry. But when he accidentally drops his favorite smoking pipe into the lower levels of his home, his search for the pipe eventually makes him relive scenes from his eventful life.

 

Mr Foley (2009; dir. Mike Ahern and Enda Loughman, also known as D.A.D.D.Y.)

Sound effects Mr Foley, but he doesn't know the score.

 

Mr Hublot (2013; dir. Laurent Witz and Alexandre Espigares)

Mr Hublot lives in a world where characters made partially of mechanical parts, driving huge vehicles, rub shoulders with each other. A world where the giant scale of machines and the relentless use of salvaged materials reign supreme. A withdrawn, idiosyncratic character with OCD, Mr Hublot is scared of change and the outside world. His solution: he doesn't step foot outside his apartment! The arrival of the dog Robot Pet will turn his life upside down: he has to share his home with this very invasive companion...

 

My Mom’s Motorcycle (2014; dir. Douglas Gautraud)

A short film about how people use objects to connect with times, ideas, and people.

 

My Strange Grandfather (2011; dir. Dina Velikovskaya)

A creative person often seems weird, funny and a little bit crazy. Even his friends and family do not always understand him and often feel ashamed of him. But sometimes he can create a real miracle - merely from garbage.

 

New Boy (2007; dir. Steph Green)

Based on a short story by Roddy Doyle this poignant and comedic short film deftly captures the experience of being the new boy in school through the eyes of Joseph, a nine-year-old African boy.

 

Paperman (2010; dir. Richard Kelly)

A lone man's quest to find his true love in a busy paper metropolis. Will he find the Papergirl he hopes for? This is the story of Paperman.

 

Paperman (2012; dir. John Kahrs)

An urban office worker finds that paper airplanes are instrumental in meeting a girl in ways he never expected.

 

Signs (2010; dir. Vincent Gallagher)

There is magic in what we see every day, sometimes you just have to look hard enough.

 

Some One Not Like You (2009; Virtual Cinema)

A note begins with one man and gets passed from person to person, but what is it all about?

 

The Black Hole (2008; Philip Sansom and Olly Williams)

A sleep-deprived office worker accidentally discovers a black hole - and then greed gets the better of him...

 

The Crush (2010; dir. Michael Creagh)

An 8-year old schoolboy is so besotted with his teacher that he challenges her boyfriend to a duel... to the death.

 

The Eagleman Stag (2010; dir. Mikey Please)

If you repeat the word 'fly' for long enough it sounds like you are saying 'life'. This is of no help to Peter. His answers lie in the brain of the beetle.

 

The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr Morris Lessmore (2011; dir. William Joyce and Brandon Oldenburg)

After a hurricane levels his city, a young man wanders into a mysterious library where books literally come to life.

 

The Gift (2010; dir. Carl E. Rinsch)

A messenger delivers a mysterious box to a wealthy man.

 

The Herd (2009; dir. Ken Wardrop)

A farmer and his mother discuss the arrival of a strange animal amongst their herd of Limousin cattle.

 

The Lady and the Reaper (2009; dir. Javier Recio Gracia)

A sweet old lady is living alone in her farm, waiting for the arrival of death to meet her beloved husband again. One night, while sleeping, her life fades out and she is invited to cross death's door. But when she is about to do so, the old lady wakes up inside a hospital's ward: and arrogant doctor has taken her back to life and he will fight hard against death to recover the old lady's life at any cost. A comical short showing how fast medicine rushes to save the elderly, even if they may not want to be saved from death.

 

The Longest Daycare (2012; dir. David Silverman)

Maggie Simpson spends the day in the Ayn Rand School for Tots.

 

The Lunch Date (1989; dir. Adam Davidson)

A woman misses her train and buys lunch in a café. When she returns to her table, a man is eating her salad.

 

The Rooster, The Crocodile and The Night Sky (2008; dir. Padraig Fagan)

A tale of passion, loss, surreal comedy and explosive violence. Animated in a cut-out style combining cardboard, tinfoil, paint on glass and super 8 film creating a dreamy, hand-made aesthetic.

 

The White Dress (2006; dir. Vanessa Gildea)

The White Dress is the story of a girl on her communion day, but unlike most other little girls, she is making her communion all on her own.

 

The Wonderful Story of Kelvin Kind (2004; dir. Ian Power)

Kelvin Kind, a wonderful loser with a heart of gold, is blissfully unaware of his own loneliness. But when a beautiful girl moves into the apartment across the hall, Kelvin's solitary world is turned upside down. As he tries in vain to get the girl's attention, Kelvin is soon forced to realise that being in love isn't easy for nice guys...

 

This Way Up (2008; dir. Adam Foulkes and Alan Smith, also known as Smith & Foulkes)

A.T. Shank & Son have a bad day at the parlour when a falling boulder flattens their hearse. Emotional and literal pitfalls lie in wait for the odd couple as they make their way cross country with just a coffin for company. This short animated caper puts the fun back into funeral as their journey and relationship unravel on an epic scale.

 

Umbra (2010; dir. Malcolm Sutherland)

An explorer adventures into an unknown world, yet it seems that he has been there before.

 

 

 

Related Posts:

Film Revision: Key Words

The 86th Academy Awards

The Academy Awards

According to its website, the Academy is “dedicated to the advancement of the arts and sciences of motion pictures.The 86th Academy Awards will take place on Sunday March 2nd 2014 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.

 

The Statuette

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.

Award for Best Original Screenplay presented to Herman J. Mankiewicz in 1941 for writing Citizen Kane. Image from natedsanders.com.

Award for Best Original Screenplay presented to Herman J. Mankiewicz in 1941 for writing Citizen Kane. Image from natedsanders.com.

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.

Image: Mashable.com

Image: Mashable.com

 

What is the voting process?

The Race

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.

Nominations Process

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, Academy President Cheryl Boone Isaacs and actor Chris Hemsworth announced the nominations on Thursday, 16th January 2014.

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 (2013), from on-screen actors to everyone behind-the-scenes.  These are the categories:

Best Picture

Actor in a Leading Role

Actress in a Leading Role

Actor in a Supporting Role

Actress in a Supporting Role

Animated Feature Film

Cinematography

Costume Design

Directing

Documentary Feature

Documentary Short Subject

Film Editing

Foreign Language Film

Makeup and Hairstyling

Music (Original Score)

Music (Original Song)

Production Design

Short Film (Animated)

Short Film (Live Action)

Sound Editing

Sound Mixing

Visual Effects

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 making of the envelope

 

The host of this year’s show is Ellen DeGeneres.

 

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 George Clooney, followed by a performance by Barbara Streisand.

 

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: 

http://oscar.go.com/nominees

 

For the full list of this year’s presenters: 

http://oscar.go.com/blogs/oscar-news/140224-oscar-presenters-announced

 

Want to play Red Carpet Bingo?

http://marcfriedlandinc.com/TheOscarsRedCarpetBingo.pdf

 

Want to predict the winners?

Click here for your online ballot! (Here for printable ballot.)

 

Tie-In Lessons:

Film Poster Analysis, Film Revision: Key Words

 

Sources used in composing this guide: oscars.org, oscar.go.com, englishteachermelanie.com, latimes.com, ew.com.

Images: natedsanders.com, Mashable.com.

Film Poster Analysis

I think reading – or, to look at it another way, comprehending – visual texts is a fundamental aspect to students’ social literacy both in Junior and Senior Cycle.

However, from my experience there is a certain stipulation on visual texts as being more ‘suitable’ for Ordinary Level or ‘less able’ English students at both Junior and Senior Cycle: there is no option in Junior Cert Higher Level to study film while there is in Ordinary Level, and, similarly, there isn’t an option to study a film as a single text at Leaving Cert at either Higher or Ordinary level – only as a comparative text. Needless to say, I was delighted when I saw that films were part of the textual choice in the new English specification!

This is a lesson aimed at engaging students with analysis of visual texts – in this case, a batch of film posters I had printed on poster-quality A3 sheets. One could also further this lesson to make it based more on advertising in print, TV advertising, and so on.

Students were presented with their worksheet and were assigned to pairs.

They were given one of these A3 sheets (there were 2 film posters to a sheet) and discussed the poster and their answers before agreeing on what to write.

DSCN30581b

Film Revision: Key Words

Key words

  • Close-up: Used to film just the head or face.
  • Cut: An instant change from one frame to another.
  • Deep focus: Foreground, middle ground and background are all in focus.
  • Dissolve: A move between two shots (i.e. a transition) during which the first image gradually disappears while the second image gradually appears

Example of a dissolve from Citizen Kane.

  • Extreme close-up: Used to film very small details closely.
  • Fade-in: Necessary for the beginning of a scene. A dark screen gradually brightens as the shot appears.
  • Fade-out: A shot gradually darkens as the screen goes black.
  • Fourth wall: Audience occupies the fourth wall, looking in on what is happening (as in a theatre). Breaking the fourth wall happens when a character addresses the audience, turns to the camera, comments on the fact they are aware that they are in a play etc.

Example of breaking the fourth wall from Miranda.

Example of breaking the fourth wall from Whatever Works.

  • Frame: Single image.
  • Long Shot: Framing in which the scale of the object shown is small.
  • Melodrama: Music swells and carries emotion.
  • Mise en scène: Everything on camera (costumes, lighting, colour, location, situation of objects and characters, etc.).
  • Montage: Sequence of images or scenes used to compress the passage of time, suggest memories, summarise a topic, etc.

Example of a montage from Up.

  • Pathetic Fallacy: Attributing human emotions to inanimate objects, animals, or aspects within nature. In other words, the atmosphere/setting echoes the mood/thoughts/emotions/conduct of the protagonist. It is an external expression of internal states and the inner protagonist becomes connected with the environment/outside world. In other words, it establishes metaphorical links between objects of abstracts. (Basic examples include rain when a character is upset or a beautiful landscape during a happy moment.)

Example of pathetic fallacy from Snow White. Note the difference in weather when the disguised Queen arrives and when she leaves.

  • Point of view: There are a few variations of POV shots. Typically, it’s a shot taken where the camera is placed where the character’s eyes would be, showing what the character would see (i.e. the character is in possession of the perspective and we are looking through their eyes).

Example of a POV shot from Vertigo.

  • Wipe: Type of transition in which the screen ‘wipes’ from one frame/scene to another, creating an overlap – as one scene disappears, another replaces it.

Examples of wipes, used in Star Wars III: Revenge of the Sith.

Shots

Panning: Camera swivels on its axis.panning

Tilting: Up-down movement.tilting

Tracking/Trucking: Mounted camera moves following the action.

Example of tracking from The Shining.

Trunk Shot: Specialised low-shot angle which captures the scene above from inside a trunk.

Example of trunk shot in Kill Bill: Vol. 1. Warning: contains blood!