Welcome to AMERICAN MOSAIC in VOA Special English.
I’m June Simms.
It is February, you know what that means! Entertainment awards season has opened in the United States!
Today on the show, we have some a Grammy humanitarian story and music from a nominated group… That awards ceremony is Sunday…
But first we tell about some Academy Award nominations…
Start making your lists. You have two more weeks to make predictions on which Hollywood stars and their movies will win Academy Awards this year.
One movie nominated for the Best Picture award is the Stephen Spielberg film Lincoln. It tells how the 16th president of the United States pushed to end slavery.
Daniel Day-Lewis was nominated for the Best Actor award for his role as Lincoln.
“Abolishing slavery by constitutional provision settles the fate for all coming time, not only of the millions now in bondage, but of unborn millions to come.”
Sally Field is a nominee for Best Supporting Actress for playing the president’s wife, Mary Todd Lincoln.
“No one’s ever been loved so much by the people. Don’t waste that power.”
Recently, Sally Field spoke about playing an emotional first lady who lived in a time of national crisis.
“You don’t tap into any one emotion. You try to live in this place, these other people’s shoes that you create through the techniques of learning their history and everything about them, and then the era and the clothes and then the actual immediacy of that day.”
The movie Argo is also nominated for Best Picture at the Academy Awards, or Oscars. Argo tells the story of six Americans who escape the unrest in Tehran during the 1979 Iranian revolution. They escaped with the help of American agents who make believe they are filming a science fiction movie. The unlikely story was based on real events.
Actor and director Ben Affleck starred in the movie. Argo was named best dramatic film at the Golden Globes awards last month. The Directors Guild of America honored Ben Affleck, but he failed to win a nomination for best director Oscar. The actor says he is happy with seven other nominations, including one for best picture.
“I’m elated by that, truly, genuinely thrilled. And, like I said, there are nine amazing movies, any of which could win, any of which deserve to win if they did. So I don’t get into worrying too much about who got what and didn’t get what.”
Another nominated film, Zero Dark Thirty, tells the story of the hunt for al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden. The story involves an American intelligence agent, played by Jessica Chastain. She is a nominee for the Oscar for the Best Actress.
“For me, I feel like I’ve already won. And so, I never want to lose sight of what I feel right now and being in this business and being nominated.”
Other leading films include the musical Les Miserables and Life of Pi, the story of a boy trapped on a lifeboat with a Bengal tiger.
The leading entry for best foreign film is Amour. The French-language film tells about aging and loss. It is a nominee for best picture.
A producer of the Oscar ceremony, Craig Zadan, says this has been a great year for movies, so the show should be exciting. Unlike other years, he says, a lot of people have seen many of the films. The awards will be presented on February 24th in Los Angeles.
Bruce Springsteen Honored for Aid Work
Celebrations for the Grammy Awards start long before the actual event this Sunday. On Friday, singer Bruce Springsteen receives the 2013 MusiCares Person of the Year Award. Karen Leggett has more.
Each year, the National Recording Association of Arts and Sciences presents the MusiCares Person of the Year Award.
Bruce Springsteen is being honored for his success as a musician and for his efforts to help other people. His shows have helped raise money for hundreds of causes, including campaigns for fighting Parkinson’s disease, hunger and homelessness.
The head of the MusicCares Foundation Board says Bruce Springsteen shows that we can all do our part to make the world a better place.
The Friday night event itself raises money for MusicCares. Since 1989, the group has helped people in need in the music industry. MusicCares provides emergency financial assistance and help for musicians with health or drug problems. It also organized a program to help music people affected by Superstorm Sandy. The storm damaged many coastal communities in New Jersey and New York State last October.
The Bruce Springsteen celebration will include performances by Jackson Browne, Emmylou Harris, Elton John, Neil Young and others. Every ticket was sold long before the day of the event.
As one person wrote on the grammy.com website, Bruce Springsteen “is that rare artist who not only speaks for us … but who cares deeply about what he represents. One can always find in his music the truth that we are not alone.”
Sisters With Voices To Perform at Grammy Awards
At this Sunday’s Grammy Awards, many people will be watching and listening for a group that is now back together after a fifteen years out of the spotlight. Jim Tedder has more about SWV.
We first heard from “Sisters With Voices” 20 years ago. The three women from New York City had a number of hits in the 1990’s including “I’m So Into You,” “Right Here,” “You’re the One,” and “Weak.”
But success was not enough to keep band together. They disagreed over many things, and then stopped performing in 1998.
"It was a tumultuous breakup, actually. And we spent years not even talking.”
That’s SWV’s Tamara Johnson George. She says, as time went by, she, LeeLee Lyons, and Coko Clemmons realized they needed each other. So in April of 2012, they came out with a new CD called “I Missed Us.”
“And it is really and truly one of the best albums we’ve ever done.”
The people who vote for the possible Grammy winners must agree. They have nominated SWV and four other acts for the “Best Traditional Rhythm and Blues Performance.” SWV recorded their version of “If Only You Knew,” a song that Patti LaBelle sang nearly 30 years ago.
SWV was last nominated for a Grammy in 1993. But the music business has changed a lot since then. Tamara says that in the old days, the recording business did everything it could for the band. But now …
”In this new industry, you have to be well rounded. You can’t just be a pretty face anymore. That no longer floats.”
The three ladies of SWV say they have spent a lot of time this week selecting dresses, shoes, and the right make-up and hair styles for Sunday’s awards program. Winning a Grammy could be just what they need to help them achieve the fame they once enjoyed.