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The Oscars

Oscar time

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23rd February 2015

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Chester School
Cambridge ESOL CELTA
in Madrid, Spain

Here are a variety of film & Oscar-related teaching ideas:

Below is a list of the nominees & winners in bold, which might make for an interesting discussion for the film-interested group. See below for further ideas to use with these lists.

Best Picture:
American Sniper
Birdman
Boyhood
The Grand Budapest Hotel
The Imitation Game
Selma
The Theory of Everything
Whiplash

Best Director:
Wes Anderson, The Grand Budapest Hotel
Alejandro González Iñárritu, Birdman
Richard Linklater, Boyhood
Morten Tyldum, The Imitation Game
Bennett Miller, Foxcatcher

Best Actor:
Steve Carell, Foxcatcher
Bradley Cooper, American Sniper
Benedict Cumberbatch, The Imitation Game
Michael Keaton, Birdman
Eddie Redmayne, The Theory of Everything

Best Actress:
Marion Cotillard, Two Days, One Night
Felicity Jones, The Theory of Everything
Julianne Moore, Still Alice
Rosamund Pike, Gone Girl
Reese Witherspoon, Wild

Best Supporting Actor:
Robert Duvall, The Judge
Ethan Hawke, Boyhood
Edward Norton, Birdman
Mark Ruffalo, Foxcatcher
J.K. Simmons, Whiplash

Best Supporting Actress:
Patricia Arquette, Boyhood
Laura Dern, Wild
Keira Knightley, The Imitation Game
Emma Stone, Birdman
Meryl Streep, Into The Woods

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Did you know that:

'Popular legend has the Oscars statuette as unchanging, made of precious metals, and non-replaceable. This is not entirely the case. One-off variants have twice been produced. In 1939, Walt Disney was voted a special award for Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. The Academy presented him with one normal one, plus seven little miniatures.'
And:

'In 1937, the supporting actress winner Alice Brady was at home nursing a broken ankle. When her award was announced, a man stepped forward to receive it, then left the stage. Neither he nor the statuette was ever seen again.'
These are from the article 'Oscars Babylon: Tales from the Academy awards - Tonight, Hollywood's red carpet is rolled out once again for the annual orgy of self-congratulation. But not everything in the history of the Oscars is a cause for back-slapping.'

http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/films/news/
oscars-babylon-tales-from-the-academy-awards-1917584.html

Read the article, take a few notes & give your students some interesting live listening.

--------

Have a look at the following short article:

Academy has custody of some 100 orphaned Oscars
By The Associated Press – 18.2.09

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences requires all Oscar nominees to sign a contract specifying that they will not sell their statuette without first offering it back to the 
academy for $1.

The so-called winner's agreement dates back to 1951, at a time when the organization began to worry about orphaned Oscars winding up in the hands of the highest bidder.

So, how many Oscar winners have sold their statuettes to the academy for a buck?

None, says AMPAS Executive Director Bruce Davis, although Oscars still make their way back to the academy's custody.

"We have statuettes willed back to us fairly regularly — maybe two per year — from recipients who don't have appropriate heirs, or who just want to be sure that nothing undignified ever befalls their Oscar," Davis says.

The academy says it owns almost 100 statuettes that have been returned by winners, heirs, or buyers like Steven Spielberg, who purchased pre-agreement Oscars won by Clark Gable and Bette Davis in order to return them to AMPAS.

Statuettes from the collection occasionally go on display at 
academy headquarters in Beverly Hills, Calif., and eventually, the organization's long-planned Oscar museum in Hollywood will include space for more of the collection.

To use this - cut & mix up the paragraphs & students put in a 
logical order. They justify their logical sequencing decisions to 
all Then possibly on to some other language focus eg. direct & 
indirect speech decisions. 
Follow this with a discussion:- why & what uses could the 
statuettes be put to? Some must have been sold as Spielberg 
needed to buy them back? etc...

*******

- Check out any of the following for good material on the cinema & the Oscars:
http://www.hollywood.com
http://www.oscars.com
http://oscars.movies.yahoo.com/
http://www.imdb.com
http://www.allmovie.com
http://darkhorizons.com
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Academy_Awards
http://eonline.com
http://www.hollywoodreporter.com
http://www.filmsite.org - an excellent source of info about film. The author, Timothy Dirks, lists his top 100 all time favourite films - you'll probably disagree - there's a paragraph about each of the 100 films which could be exploited nicely in class. Lots of other related topics including the famous film quotes page.

- http://script-o-rama.com - a massive collection of film scripts. Gone are the days of transcribing pages of the script to use in class. Just copy & paste the part you need.

- Oscar quiz - check out the Tim Dirks' site above.

- Oscars - discuss equivalent in own country - language of prediction & comparison before 'X will win because...' - language of past criticism afterwards 'X should've won because...' - language of dis/agreement with the Oscar results

- Lexical field - actor, actress, star, an extra, a bit part, producer, cameraman, studio, to shoot a film, still, clip, excerpt, set, on location, to edit, script, lines, costumes, action, different genres (western, comedy, adventure, sci-fi etc), screening, premier, critic, reviews ...

- A good opportunity to review narrative telling.

- Past Tips around film:
Budding Screenwriters:
http://www.developingteachers.com/tips/pasttips51.htm
Shadow reading:
http://www.developingteachers.com/tips/pasttips11.htm

- Famous film quotes - match film, character & quote.
http://www.afi.com/docs/tvevents/pdf/quotes100.pdf - 100 quotes
'To get an Oscar would be an incredible moment in my career, there is no doubt about that. But the 'Lord of the Rings' films are not made for Oscars, they are made for the audience.'
Peter Jackson
'I live in Spain. Oscars are something that are on TV Sunday night. Basically, very late at night. You don't watch, you just read the news after who won or who lost. '
Javier Bardem

- Film reviews - students could write them for films they have recently seen to swap around for colleagues to read & add comments when seen - an on-going mini-project. There are several net chat groups for students devoted to this as well.

- Cinema What's On Guide - we would naturally scan a cinema guide so give out one to each students & you ask a question, the students look quickly for the answer & raise their hands when they have found it - wait till half have their hands up & elicit the answer & locate it for those who are having difficulties. Have eight to ten questions ready e.g.. Where can you see 'The Full Monty? What time/How much ...etc. It's a very good way of gauging the scanning ability in the group.

- Making a film - imperatives - beginner students act out a short scene using imperatives from the director on tape - total physical response - a great effective way of building up elementary students store of verbs. A possible procedure would be to act it out yourself, taking on both roles while students listen & watch you, after several times the students then act out to the tape & then they write their own instructions in small groups for a short scene & you can feed in the verbs they need. The one std reads out the verbs & the others from the group act - for the rest of the class to observe.
Tip - Action - TPR:
http://www.developingteachers.com/tips/pasttips35.htm

- Interviews with the stars - dubbing - this involves the class discussing a picture of a film star & writing a list of questions they would like to ask the person in the picture. When a series of questions has been complied, give the picture to a std who takes on that role & the others interview her/him. A well prepared roleplay then ensues.

- Interview with a film star - one word collective person - this is a fun, challenging roleplay. There is an interviewer & three/four students take the role of the one interviewee. Each std supplies one word in the response to a question e.g.. Why did you start acting? A:Well B:at C:school D:I A:was B:always C:involved D:in A:the B:Christmas C:play. Each std has to continue the utterance so that it makes sense. Can be difficult but lots of fun.

- Day in the life of a film star - this could come as a continuation of the previous activity - students write up a typical day by way of compiling the responses from the interview - they take notes when they ask the questions.

- Discussion topics - Does violence in movies influence real-life events? - Prefer the book or the film? - The film star you would like to meet? What say/do? - Where prefer to sit in the cinema? Front, middle, back? Why?

- Roleplay ideas - son wants to be an actor, Dad wants him to be a doctor like him, Mum is caught in the middle - you are an actor in the middle of shooting a film & the director wants to change your lines (reduce them!) & you disagree strongly etc....

- Have a class outing to the cinema & then use it in class.

- Get students to go to see films & report back to the class - if they go to the cinema a lot, this could be a regular early in the week feature of the lesson. They could write reviews for each other, recommending or not that they see the film.

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Happy teaching!

Alistair

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The Weekly Teaching Tip is written by Alistair Dickinson at Developing Teachers.com.
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