Welcome to AMERICAN MOSAIC in VOA Special English.
I'm Doug Johnson. On our show this week, we tell about the movies, actors and music nominated for Academy Awards.
The eightieth Academy Awards ceremony takes place Sunday at the Kodak Theater in Los Angeles, California. Hundreds of millions of people in the United States and around the world will watch the show on television. It is the most exciting event of the year for people who make movies and for people who love to watch them. Barbara Klein has more.
On Sunday, actors, directors, writers, producers and others will gather in Hollywood, California, the center of the American film industry. They will receive Academy Awards for the best acting, directing, writing, editing, music and other work on movies released last year.
The winners will receive an award called an Oscar. This statue is shaped like a man. It is made of several metals covered with gold. The Oscar is only about thirty-four centimeters tall. It weighs less than four kilograms. But the award is extremely valuable for the people who receive it. People who win an Oscar become much more famous. They often get offers to work in the best movies. They can also earn much more money.
Five movies are competing for Best Picture of the year. Two tragic and violent movies
were nominated for eight Academy Awards. "No Country for Old Men" is about a man who finds two million dollars after several people are killed in an illegal drug deal. A killer chases him across Texas to get the money back. The movie is based on the book by Cormac McCarthy.
"There Will Be Blood" is about a man who becomes successful exploring for oil in the early nineteen hundreds. He is opposed by a young religious worker in a small town in California. The movie is based on the book "Oil!" by Upton Sinclair.
Two other movies earned seven nominations each, including Best Picture. "Atonement" is about what happens after a young girl accuses her sister's lover of a crime he did not commit. It takes place in England during World War Two. "Atonement" is based on the book by British writer Ian McEwan. "Michael Clayton" is about a lawyer dealing with personal and professional crises. His law firm is trying to settle a case against an agricultural chemical company.
The fifth Best Picture nominee is "Juno." It is about a smart and funny teenager who becomes pregnant and finds a husband and wife to adopt her baby.
WIFE: “Your parents are probably wondering where you are.”
JUNO: “Mmm, nah. I mean I’m already pregnant so what other kind of shenanigans could I get into?”
Ten actors and actresses were nominated for Academy Awards for their performances in leading roles. Faith Lapidus tells us about them.
Daniel Day-Lewis was nominated for Best Actor for playing the oilman in "There Will Be Blood." George Clooney for playing the lawyer in "Michael Clayton." Johnny Depp is the lead character in the musical "Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street." Tommy Lee Jones plays a man searching for the truth about his son who returns from the war in Iraq in the movie "In the Valley of Elah." And Viggo Mortensen plays a Russian criminal in London in "Eastern Promises."
These five women were nominated for Best Actress: Twenty-year-old Ellen Page for
playing the pregnant teenager named "Juno." Julie Christie for her role as a woman with Alzheimer's disease in "Away From Her." Laura Linney for her role as a woman dealing with her aging and sick father in “The Savages.” Marion Cotillard portrays the great French singer Edith Piaf in "La Vie en Rose." And Cate Blanchett for her role as the British queen in "Elizabeth: The Golden Age." Blanchett was also nominated for Best Supporting Actress for playing a very different real person, Bob Dylan, in "I'm Not There."
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences presents the Oscars each year. Almost six thousand people who work in the movie industry belong to the Academy. They nominate candidates for Academy Awards from their own professions. For example, actors nominate actors. Directors nominate directors. Designers nominate designers. All Academy members vote to choose the final winners. More than twenty Academy Awards will be presented Sunday night.
The people who wrote the best screenplays and did the best film and sound editing will receive awards. So will the people who designed the best costumes, makeup and special effects. The composers who wrote the best song and music from a movie will also be honored.
Mario Ritter plays some of the music nominated for an Oscar.
That was “Falling Slowly,” a Best Song nominee from the movie “Once.” Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova wrote the song, perform it and star in the movie. “Once” is a musical about an Irish man and a Czech woman who meet and make music on the streets of Dublin.
The movie “Enchanted” makes gentle fun of fairy tales about princesses and true love. Amy Adams plays a cartoon princess, Giselle, who becomes a real princess in New York City. Her loving, joyful spirit incites the same feelings in the people she meets.
Three songs from "Enchanted" were nominated for Best Song. Alan Menken and Stephen Schwartz wrote the songs. Here Giselle sings “That’s How You Know.”
The final nominated song is from the movie “August Rush.” Jamal Joseph, Charles Mack and Tevin Thomas wrote “Raise It Up.”
The Best Musical Score Oscar is for the instrumental music made for a film. James Newton Howard is nominated for the film “Michael Clayton.” It is his seventh Academy Award nomination.
Dario Marianelli wrote the nominated score for the movie “Atonement.” Here is one mysterious sounding melody.
The music from the children’s animated film "Ratatouille," by Michael Giacchino, was also nominated for Best Musical Score. And composer Marco Beltrami was honored for his music for the western “3:10 to Yuma.”
We leave you now with music from the final nominated score from “The Kite Runner” by composer Alberto Iglesias. The movie is about the relationship of two children in Afghanistan.
I'm Doug Johnson. I hope you enjoyed our program today.
The show was written by Shelley Gollust and Caty Weaver, who was also our producer.Join us again next week for AMERICAN MOSAIC, VOA’s radio magazine in Special English.