Caty Weaver: Welcome, Penelope Poulou, our VOA movie correspondent! How are you doing?
Penelope Poulou: I’m great, it’s great to be here.
CW: Well, thank you very much for doing it. Our listeners really love American movies. Watching them is one of the ways they learn how to speak English.
PP: And it’s a reflection of our way of life.
CW: Absolutely. So, I guess what I would like to know this year are your predictions, because you have been on target the past few years, is that true?
PP: That is very true. But this year, all these nominees are really worth it.
CW: So let’s go ahead and just start with the biggies - best actor.
PP: Best actor?
CW: Just tell me who it’s gonna’ be.
PP: Well, Gary Oldman, come on now.
CW: Yes, for his performance as Winston Churchill in Darkest Hour.
PP: I truly am very confident that he will get the Oscar.
CW: And who is he up against?
PP: He is up against Daniel Day Lewis, who is always superb; and, then of course, Timothée Chalamet, who is (in) Call Me By Your Name. He gives an exceptional performance. Daniel Kaluuya, of course, who plays in Get Out. And he’s wonderful but I would not put him in on the same level as Oldman’s performance. I think everybody’s looking at Oldman in this situation.
CW: Yes, Yes.
PP: As for actresses in a leading role, hands down, Frances McDormand. I really believe that. She plays Mildred in Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, and she carries it. And she’s the epitome of female empowerment.
CW: And she’s up against…
PP: Sally Hawkins in The Shape of Water; a very romantic interpretation of her character. Margot Robbie who plays Tonya Harding in I, Tonya. Saoirse Ronan who plays in Lady Bird, of course, and Meryl Streep, who plays in The Post. And Meryl Streep is Meryl Streep. She has gotten these..I don’t know...I’ve miscounted how many nominations she has by now…
CW: At least 20. Maybe 21. I know that she has won at least three Oscars, already. Three. And she is very good in The Post. But that role didn't seem like a challenge for her.
CW: OK, and the last I’m going to do: Best Picture.
PP: Two films. One is Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri because it carries so many themes in there. But Get Out has captured people’s imagination. My only question mark about Get Out is: if I am to look at the film from a traditional point of view, does it fit the bill to get an Oscar for Best Picture? Usually these kind of pictures were grand on cinematography and this and that and the other. Does it fit the bill? And with that, I would say not so much. But things are changing. And what is important here is that it is a very original story. And it’s so hard to get original stories nowadays.
CW: Absolutely. That’s its edge. But on the other hand, Three Billboards, also very original.
PP: Very original. And so human. And such arcs, such character arcs, such topics.
CW: Exactly. It’s almost too bad that they were put out in the same year.
PP: And of course we need to mention The Shape of Water, because it has gotten, I think,13 nominations. And it is up there. It checks all the boxes. It checks the box of cinematography, it got a nomination there, best director, best editing, and all that. So, it does stand a great chance also.
CW: It doesn’t seem like, though, it has the groundswell.
PP: That is very true. That is absolutely true.
CW: So, I get the feeling you really think the competition is between Get Out and Three Billboards. So what’s it gonna’ be? You’re on the spot!
PP: Uh…I can’t! I can’t go beyond that at this point! I can’t commit!
CW: It’s gonna be fun to watch… and judge you!
PP: Oh my!
CW: Just kidding, Penelope. Thank you so much for coming in and talking.
PP: Well, its always fun taking with you.
CW: Especially at Oscar time. Enjoy them! And, Learning English fans, you can enjoy the Oscars with us beginning at 00:30 UTC Monday. We'll be providing live Oscar updates on Facebook and on our website, Learningenglish.voanews.com. See you then!
Words in This Story
reflection n. - something that shows the effect, existence, or character of something else
absolutely - adv. completely or totally
confident - adj. having a feeling or belief that you can do something well or succeed at something: having confidence
superb - adj. extremely good: excellent or brilliant in a very noticeable way
hands down - exp. easily and decisively; without question.
epitome - n. a perfect example: an example that represents or expresses something very well — usually used in the phrase the epitome of
romantic - adj. of, relating to, or involving love between two people
interpretation - n. the way something is explained or understood
challenge - n. a difficult task or problem : something that is hard to do
original - adj. not like others: new, different, and appealing