Welcome to AMERICAN MOSAIC in VOA Special English.
I'm Doug Johnson. On our show this week -- the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences
presents its yearly awards Sunday night in Los Angeles, California. We tell about the nominees for best picture
and best music and a little bit of history.
Best Picture Nominees
The eighty-first 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.
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.
five movies are competing for best picture of the year.
Curious Case of Benjamin Button" was nominated for thirteen Academy
Awards, the most this year. It tells the
unusual story about a man who is born old and gets younger as time goes
by. Brad Pitt was nominated for best
actor for his role as Benjamin Button.
THE CURIOUS CASE OF BENJAMIN BUTTON:
"Mama, some days I feel different than the day
"Everybody feels different about themselves one
way or another, but we're all going the same way. You're on your own road,
Millionaire" received ten nominations. It is about a poor young man in Mumbai, India, who competes in a popular
television quiz show. This film is very
different from most films nominated for best picture. It did not cost much
money to film. Its actors are not well
known in the United States. And some of the actors speak in the Hindi
Millionaire" has already won several other awards in the United States.
"I went on the show because I thought she would be
watching. She is my destiny."
Reader" was also nominated as best picture. It is based on a book by
German writer Bernhard Schlink. It tells
the story of a German woman who served as a guard at a Nazi death camp during
World War Two. Years later, she has a
sexual relationship with a teenage boy. Kate Winslet was nominated as best actress for her role in the
"Have you spent much time thinking about the
"It doesn't matter what I think. It doesn't matter
what I feel. The dead are still dead."
Another nominee for best picture is
"Frost/Nixon." It recreates
television interviews that British performer David Frost held with former
president Richard Nixon after he left office in nineteen seventy-seven. Frank Langella was nominated as best actor
for his role as Richard Nixon.
"I shall be your fiercest adversary. I shall come at you with everything I've got,
because the limelight can only shine on one of us."
last nominated movie also tells about a real person during the nineteen
seventies. "Milk" is about
Harvey Milk, the first openly homosexual man elected to public office in the
United States. The film shows the early
struggle for gay rights in San Francisco, California. It received a total of eight nominations,
including best actor for Sean Penn as gay rights leader Harvey Milk.
"All men are created equal. No matter how hard you
try you can never erase those words. That is what America is."
Academy Award History
Our listener question this week comes just in time.
Hideki Saka in Japan wants to know more about the history of the Academy
A group of top movie industry professionals formed the
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in nineteen twenty-seven. The general aim of the organization was to
support the growth of the movie industry. Its early projects included creating
reports on movie technologies, training programs and a movie reference library.
The group also decided to hold an awards ceremony to honor excellence in the
first Academy Awards were presented in nineteen twenty-nine during a private
dinner at the Roosevelt Hotel in Hollywood, California. There were no great surprises that night
because the winners of the awards had been announced three months earlier.
the next year, the Academy decided to keep the names of the winners a secret
until the awards ceremony. The nineteen thirty Academy Awards were also the
first to be broadcast on live radio. The
ceremony presented only seven awards: two for acting and one for best movie,
director, writing, cinematography and art direction.
the years, more award categories were added. For example, in nineteen
thirty-seven, the Academy added the awards for best supporting actor and
The Academy made other changes over the years. When the
awards ceremony grew too large, the Academy started holding the event in
theaters. Nineteen fifty-three was the first year that the awards ceremony was
broadcast on national television.
official name for this famous prize is the Academy Award of Merit. But the
award is better known by its nickname, Oscar. The Oscar is a small golden statue of a man standing
on a reel of film. There are several stories about how the award received the
name Oscar. One story says the Academy's librarian, Margaret Herrick, said the
statue looked like her Uncle Oscar. But
wherever the name for this golden statue came from, the award remains one of
the biggest honors in the movie business.
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences also
presents Oscars to the best movie music and songs. Faith Lapidus has our report on the nominees
The movies nominated for best music are
"Slumdog Millionaire," "Defiance," "Wall-E," "The Curious Case of Benjamin
Button" and "Milk."
of those films also received nominations for best original song. One is from "Wall-E."
(MUSIC: "Down to Earth")
Peter Gabriel wrote and sings "Down to Earth." He shares the nomination with the movie's
music composer, Thomas Newman.
A. R. Rahman wrote the music for "Slumdog
Millionaire." Rahman is not well known
in the western world but he is very famous in his native India.
began writing for Indian television advertisements in the early nineteen
nineties. He has been writing music for
Indian "Bollywood" movies for many years.
is one nominated song, "O Saya." The British rapper Maya Arulpragasam, known as
M. I. A., wrote the words.
month, A. R. Rahman became the first Indian to win a Golden Globe Award for the
music in "Slumdog Millionaire." The
award was presented by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association. We leave you with the final song nominated
for an Oscar. A. R. Rahman shares this
nomination with the Indian poet and song writer Gulzar. Here is "Jai Ho," from the movie "Slumdog
I'm Doug Johnson. I hope you enjoyed our program today.
It was written by Dana Demange, Shelley Gollust and
Caty Weaver, who also was the producer. You can find transcripts, MP3s and
podcasts of our programs at voaspecialenglish.com.
Join us again next week for AMERICAN MOSAIC, VOA's
radio magazine in Special English.