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On the night of February 28, 2016, after five previous nominations and zero wins, Leonardo DiCaprio finally won his first Oscar. “At last!” must have thought his fans around the world. Something similar happened to another amazing artist: Italian composer Ennio Morricone. He received an Honorary Oscar in 2007, but he won his first Oscar for Best Original Score this year, after five previous nominations and zero wins. An Oscar is a very prestigious award. Most people in the cinema industry would love to win an Oscar. That’s why Leo’s friend Kate Winslet keeps hers in the bathroom: her guests who go for a pee can pose with it in front of the mirror, and, for a couple of minutes, they can pretend to be winners. Besides the prestige, films that win an Oscar make more money. Actors and actresses who win an Oscar earn more money. An Oscar even has ‘health benefits’: a study shows that people who win an Oscar live longer than those who don’t. Apparently, Oscars even make chickens lay larger eggs! That’s what actor Russell Crowe said after putting his Oscar in his chicken coop.

 

A knight with a sword

The official name of an Oscar is ‘Academy Award of Merit’. The winners are decided by the members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. The award is a little golden statuette of a knight holding a large sword. It was designed in 1928 by Cedric Gibbons, a Hollywood production designer. No human model was used to design the statuette. Nobody really knows how the statuette got the nickname ‘Oscar’. According to a popular story, an Academy librarian said that the statuette looked like her uncle Oscar. Many professions in the movie industry receive the award: actors, writers, directors, producers, and technicians. Curiously, the production designer who designed the statuette, Cedric Gibbons, won 11 of them.

 

45 seconds to say ‘thank you’

To be nominated for an Oscar, a film has to be shown for at least 7 consecutive days in the Los Angeles county cinemas. This means that even a foreign film, in a foreign language, can be nominated. The Italian La vita è bella is an example. It was shown for several weeks in Los Angeles, and it was nominated for Best Picture. The protagonist of the film, Roberto Benigni, won the Oscar for Best Actor. The awards are given during a very important ceremony. All the nominees hope to hear their name at the end of the sentence “And the Oscar goes to…” (Before 1989 the phrase used was the even more famous “And the winner is…”). The winner collects the award and can give a brief speech. But it has to be very brief indeed. It can only last 45 seconds. When the 45 seconds are over, the orchestra starts playing even if the winner is still talking!

 

Winners and controversies

Winning an Oscar is a great achievement, and some people have won more than one. Walt Disney holds the record: he won 26! Actress Meryl Streep has received more nominations than any other actress or actor: 19 (with 3 wins). Even children have won Oscars. Actress Anna Paquin (you might know her as Rogue in the X-Men films) won an Oscar when she was 11 years old. There are also some film geniuses who – incredibly – have never won. The Academy, for example, was criticized for not giving an Oscar for Best Director to Alfred Hitchcock or Stanley Kubrick, probably two of the greatest directors of all time. This year, director Spike Lee launched the hashtag #OscarsSoWhite to criticize the lack of ethnic diversity in the awards. Most members of the Academy are white, middle-aged or old males, and all 20 of the acting nominees they chose this year (as well as last) were white. The Academy president Cheryl Boone Isaacs accepted the criticism. She has promised that the Academy will recruit younger members, diversifying in “gender, race, ethnicity and sexual orientation.”

Useful links

Here’s the official Oscars website:

http://oscar.go.com/

Which are the strangest places where winners keep their Oscars? Find out here:

http://www.vanityfair.com/news/2010/07/where-do-oscar-winners-keep-their-littlegoldmen

Are you interested in Academy Award records? Can you find any Italian who holds a record?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Academy_Award_records

Do you know Ennio Morricone? Do you know any other Italian Academy Award winners? Research some of them:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Italian_Academy_Award_winners_and_nominees

Do you want to know more about the criticisms the Academy received this year? Here is what Spike Lee wrote on Instagram:

https://www.instagram.com/p/BArm7C2Sqh_/

And here is an article about Academy president Cheryl Boone Isaacs’ reply:

http://variety.com/2016/film/awards/oscars-diversity-academy-statement-1201682500/

COMPREHENSION

1) Read the article and complete the sentences with the right alternative.

1. Kate Winslet’s Oscar stands
  1. in her bathroom.
  2. in front of her mirror.
  3. in her chicken coop.
2. Usually, actors and actresses who win an Oscar
  1. keep the award in a funny place.
  2. earn more money.
  3. earn less money but live longer.
3. ‘Oscar’ is
  1. the official name of the Academy Award.
  2. the name of the model used to design the award.
  3. the award’s nickname.
4. The Oscars are given to many professionals, such as
  1. librarians and directors.
  2. writers and technicians.
  3. producers and models.
5. To be nominated for an Oscar, a film must be
  1. filmed in Los Angeles.
  2. filmed in English.
  3. shown in Los Angeles cinemas.
6. Cedric Gibbons
  1. holds the record for most Oscar wins.
  2. designed the statuette and called it Oscar.
  3. won many times the Oscar he designed.
7. The winner of an Oscar should
  1. give a very long speech.
  2. give a very brief speech.
  3. say “And the Oscar goes to…”
8. Walt Disney won
  1. more Oscars than Meryl Streep.
  2. less Oscars than Alfred Hitchcock.
  3. an Oscar for the X-Men films.
9. Anna Paquin
  1. won more Oscars than any other actress.
  2. was very young when she won an Oscar.
  3. never won an Oscar.
10. The Academy Award
  1. has been criticized only once.
  2. has never been criticized.
  3. has been criticized more than once.
 

VOCABULARY

2) Complete the sentences with the following words.

prestige  *  sword  *  chicken coop  *  nominee  *  statuette  *  speech *  motion picture  *  director  *  recruit  *  foreign

1. A _________________ is a person who receives a nomination for an award. 2. A _________________ is the typical weapon of a knight. 3. In a _________________ you can probably find many eggs. 4. A _________________ is a small statue. 5. Something that has _________________ has a very good reputation. 6. _________________ is another word for ‘film’. 7. A _________________ is a person who directs the filming process of a film. 8. If you are talking in front of many people, you are probably giving a _________________. 9. A _________________ language is a language spoken outside one’s country. 10. To _________________ somebody, means to get him or her to join something like a group or an association.  

GRAMMAR – Irregular verbs

3) Complete the sentences with the correct past tense of the verb.

1. Kate Winslet ________ (put) her Oscar in her bathroom. 2. An Academy librarian ________ (think) that the award looked like her uncle Oscar. 3. Animator and director John Lasseter ________ (put) Barbie clothes on his Oscars. 4. A sculptor ________  (make) the Oscar statuette using Cedric Gibbons’ design. 5. Leonardo DiCaprio ________  (get) his first Oscar in 2016. 6. The actress was very happy when she ________ (hear) that she had won an Oscar. 7. It was actress Sofia Loren who ________  (give) the Oscar to Roberto Benigni. 8. Russell Crowe  ________  (win) an Oscar for his role in the film Gladiator. 9. In 2015, the Academy ________ (choose) only white nominees for the acting awards. 10. In 2000 two men ________ (steal) 55 Oscar statuettes and ________ (hide) them. A man called Mr. Fullgear _______(find) them and called the police.  

SHORT ESSAY

4) Who is your favourite actor/actress? Describe him or her and say why you’re his or her fan. (60-80 words)

5) Which is your favourite film? What is it about? Write a short essay explaining what it is about, what is special about it and why you think it’s such a good film. (60-80 words)

(Carlo Dellonte)

---

(Image credits: Academy Awards and Cliff, flickr)

[post_title] => And the Oscar goes to… [post_excerpt] => Every year, the Academy Awards is the biggest event of American cinema, and the Oscar statuette is probably the most famous film award in the world. Find out some of the more curious facts about the Oscars, and read about some of the criticism the Academy has received. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => and-the-oscar-goes-to [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2018-09-06 10:00:12 [post_modified_gmt] => 2018-09-06 08:00:12 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://aulalingue.scuola.zanichelli.it/?post_type=planet-english&p=10022 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => planet-english [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 2 [filter] => raw ) [1] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 9778 [post_author] => 10 [post_date] => 2016-02-10 16:50:41 [post_date_gmt] => 2016-02-10 15:50:41 [post_content] => “First ever flower grown in space makes its debut!” tweeted astronaut Scott Kelly on January 16, sharing the photo of a zinnia flower. The tweet was sent from the International Space Station (ISS), orbiting at 250 miles (400 km) above the Earth’s surface. The experiment, an attempt to grow zinnia in space, began in November. It was a very difficult experiment. The astronauts of the ISS had to learn how to garden, and we’re not talking about normal gardening, but gardening in space! How do you water a plant in a microgravity where water does not flow but floats? And how do you grow a plant using only artificial lighting? The astronauts followed the instructions they received from a NASA ‘Veggie team’ back on Earth. The zinnia was grown aeroponically, meaning in a very humid environment without soil. A fan was used to regulate the humidity. Red, blue and green LED lights were used to simulate sunlight. But it wasn’t enough. Around Christmas, the zinnia plants looked like they were going to die.  

Green fingers and space vegetables

Astronaut Scott Kelly decided to follow his gardening instincts. To help him, the Veggie team sent him a one-page guide called “The Zinnia Care Guide for the On-Orbit Gardener”. Kelly discovered that he had green fingers: his efforts saved the plants, and the zinnia flower bloomed. It was another success in space gardening. In fact, the zinnia flower wasn’t the first plant grown in space. It wasn’t even the first flower. Four years ago, on the ISS, astronaut Donald Pettit grew plants using plastic bags as pots. He grew courgettes (or zucchini in American English) and broccoli, as well as a sunflower. Pettit wrote about it in his blog, “Diary of a Space Zucchini”. Russian cosmonauts have grown (and eaten) many edible plants in space, such as onions, peas, wheat, garlic, lettuce and cucumbers. More experiments with vegetables are on the way. In 2018, NASA will try to grow a tomato plant. But what’s the objective of all this space gardening?

 

To the Moon, Mars and beyond!

Every few months, food supplies are sent to the ISS from Earth. This won’t be possible on longer-distance space voyages. If astronauts go to Mars, for example, they will have to be self-sufficient: they will have to grow their own food. NASA is planning to return to the Moon in the 2020s. A mission to Mars might take place in the 2030s. If you would ever like to go on such adventurous trips you could start by going to one of NASA's 'space camps'. There you can learn how to become an astronaut. Space camps include space simulations and space exploration activities. You also get to meet and talk to real astronauts. If you want to go to Mars, though, be warned: the first mission to Mars might be a one-way ticket. This means that the astronauts might have to live and survive on Mars without the possibility of returning to Earth. So, if you want to go, you will have to know how to grow your own food!

 

Discoveries from outer space

Like the ISS, the first trip to Mars will probably be an international enterprise. NASA collaborates with many other space agencies (including the Italian ASI). Together, they developed the Global Exploration Roadmap (GER). This project coordinates efforts to explore destinations, such as the Moon and Mars, where people will someday live and work. In the meantime, space exploration has already changed the way we live and work here on Earth. Have you ever used ear thermometers, cordless devices, water filters, scratch-resistant lenses, athletic shoes, satellite TV, or portable computers? Have you ever slept on a foam mattress? Then you have used products that were developed or improved by NASA for its space missions. NASA has helped develop more than 2,000 spinoff products. Even if you're never going to travel to outer space, there's already a bit of outer space in your life!

Useful links

Would you like to follow astronaut (and ‘space gardener’) Scott Kelly on Twitter? On his account you can find pictures of the zinnia flower. (P.S. NASA and ASI also have twitter accounts):

https://twitter.com/stationcdrkelly?lang=it

You can also read astronaut Donald Pettit’s blog ‘Diary of a Space Zucchini’:

https://blogs.nasa.gov/letters/2012/04/03/post_1333471169633/

Did you know that the ISS is the third brightest object in the sky? Track the Station:

http://www.isstracker.com/

Have you ever reflected on our place in the universe? Read about the 'Pale Blue Dot' picture and Carl Sagan's thoughts about it. Discuss it with your class.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pale_Blue_Dot Would you like to go to a Space Camp and learn how to become an astronaut?

http://www.nasa.gov/centers/kennedy/about/information/camp_faq.html

Here is somebody about your age who is already training to go to Mars! Discover the incredible story of Alyssa Carson:

http://nasablueberry.com/

Are you interested in the Global Exploration Roadmap? Here you can find an official document with lots of interesting diagrams and pictures:

https://www.nasa.gov/sites/default/files/files/GER-2013_Small.pdf

COMPREHENSION

1) Read the article and complete the sentences with the right alternative.

1. The International Space Station
  1. is on the Moon.
  2. orbits around the Earth.
  3. is on Earth.
2. NASA’s Veggie team
  1. grew the zinnia flower.
  2. helped grow the zinnia flower.
  3. ate the zinnia flower.
3. On the International Space Station gravity is
  1. stronger than on Earth.
  2. the same as on Earth.
  3. weaker than on Earth.
4. “The Zinnia Care Guide for the On-Orbit Gardener” contains
  1. instructions on how to grow zinnia flowers.
  2. recipes on how to cook zinnia flowers.
  3. pictures of zinnia flowers.
5. Which of these has not yet been grown in space?
  1. Lettuce.
  2. A tomato.
  3. An onion.
6. Astronauts on the International Space Station
  1. grow their own food.
  2. eat food grown on the Moon.
  3. eat food they receive from Earth.
7. Space camps teach space exploration skills to
  1. children.
  2. children and adults.
  3. children and astronauts.
8. The Global Exploration Roadmap
  1. is a kind of guide for future space missions.
  2. coordinates international space gardening.
  3. is a project aimed at changing our life here on Earth.
9. Ear thermometers, portable computers and satellite TV
  1. were invented by astronauts.
  2. were developed or improved for space missions.
  3. were developed or improved by the Global Exploration Roadmap.
10. The article seems to suggest that space exploration
  1. produces nothing useful.
  2. is done exclusively by NASA.
  3. promotes international cooperation.
  VOCABULARY

2) Complete the sentences with the following words.

debut  *  voyage  *  cosmonauts  *  gardening  *  device  *  foam  *  bloom  *  edible  *  self-sufficient  *  green fingers

1. ____________ is the practice of growing and caring for plants, usually in a garden. 2. If you are good at growing plants you have ____________. 3. The first, formal public appearance of an artist or an athlete is called a _____________. 4. When plant produces flowers they ____________. 5. If a plant is ____________you can eat it. 6. The term ____________ refers to a long journey, usually by sea or in space. 7. ‘____________’ is the Russian equivalent of ‘astronaut’. 8. The more____________ you are, the less you depend on others. 9. A ____________ is an object that has been designed to serve a specific function. 10. ____________ is made up of many small bubbles.   GRAMMAR – Active and passive form

3) Turn these passive form sentences into active.

1. The zinnia flower was grown by the astronauts. 2. A fan was used by the astronauts to regulate the humidity. 3. LED lights were used by the astronauts to simulate sunlight. 4. Peas, lettuce and cucumbers were eaten by cosmonauts. 5. Many spinoff inventions were developed by NASA.   4) Turn these active form sentences into passive. 1. Astronaut Scott Kelly sent an incredible tweet. 2. Astronaut Donald Pettit grew courgettes and broccoli in space. 3. At space camps astronauts teach children how to live and work in space. 4. Many space agencies developed the Global Exploration Roadmap. 5. Many people use ‘space inventions’ daily.   SHORT ESSAY

5) NASA is looking for people who want to go to Mars. Would you like to be one of them? Explain why you would like (or would not like) to go in a short text. (60-80 words)

6) Do you think you have “green fingers”? Write about your gardening experience and the advantages or disadvantages or growing plants at home. (max 100 words)

(Carlo Dellonte)

---

(Image credits: Nasa.gov e Nasa.gov)

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Look around you: how much of what you see is the product of humans? You might see streets, buildings, factories, farms and crop fields where there once flourished natural environments. According to many studies, humans have transformed 50% of the Earth's land surface! We have caused the extinction of many species and ruined many habitats. When we burn fossil fuels, such as coal, oil and gas, we produce dangerous greenhouse gases (for example CO2) that cause the Earth's temperature to rise. This planetary "fever" or "global warming" is causing disasters such as droughts, tornadoes, floods and the melting of the polar ice caps. Most scientists say the situation is critical. Even Pope Francis wrote an encyclical (a special papal letter) called Laudato Sí – On Care For Our Common Home urging action against climate change. But what are the governments of the world doing about it?

 

COP 21

From 30 November to 12 December 2015 the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference, or COP 21, was held in Paris, France. Political leaders from around the world met to talk about global warming and its disastrous consequences. The debate was intense. There were deep divisions and contrasting ideas. At the end, the participating 195 nations reached a compromise: the Paris Agreement. This document calls for the reduction of human-produced greenhouse gases. The president of the Conference said the Agreement was a “historic turning point” in the fight against global warming. But not everybody agreed with him...

 

It's not enough!

Thousands of people demonstrated around the world calling the Agreement "weak". They pointed out that parts of the Agreement are “promises” and not commitments. Some important issues were left out, such as livestock agriculture that, according to the UN itself, produces more greenhouse gases than all cars, trains, planes and boats combined! Also, the Agreement is not yet law for its member states. Each state has to approve it first – probably some never will. But even if all goes well, many scientists say that the Agreement is not enough to contain global warming.

 

What can you do?

Do we really have to wait for governments to solve this problem? The answer is no. Many environmental associations are already fighting climate change. There are businessmen investing in new, green technologies for a cleaner future. There are millions of ecologically conscious people, adults and children, doing their part. That´s because we all have an "environmental footprint" (meaning an impact on the environment) and we can all do something to reduce it by acting, for example, on how we eat, live, travel. A "climatarian" diet consumes foods that have a low impact on the environment. An energy-efficient home saves on heating and electricity using good insulation, LED lights and maybe solar panels. Walking and biking are ecological alternatives to taking the car. And if you feel that you want to do more, when you're older, you can choose a "green career", a job that helps solve climate change problems. So, what are you doing to help save the planet?

Useful links

To know about COP 21 check out its official website:

http://www.cop21paris.org/

To know more about climate change and get some good advice check out this video:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PqxMzKLYrZ4

Here´s some more good advice from NASA!

http://climatekids.nasa.gov/how-to-help/

Interested in a "climatarian" diet? Check this out:

http://www.lessmeatlessheat.org/

Do you want to calculate your ‘environmental footprint’? Try WWF’s easy quiz:

http://footprint.wwf.org.uk/

COMPREHENSION

1) Read the article and complete the sentences with the right alternative.

1. 50% of Earth's land surface has been
  1. destroyed by humans.
  2. transformed by humans.
  3. covered with cities.
2. Global warming is caused by
  1. governments.
  2. tornadoes and floods.
  3. greenhouse gases.
3. Most scientists and the Pope agree that
  1. climate change is dangerous.
  2. we have to burn more fossil fuels.
  3. the Earth is OK.
4. COP 21 is the name of
  1. a place in France.
  2. a greenhouse gas.
  3. a UN conference.
5. The Paris Agreement is
  1. a compromise between almost 200 nations.
  2. a document written by the President of the Conference.
  3. a ban on greenhouse gases.
6. Thousands of protesters called the Paris Agreement
  1. weak.
  2. strong.
  3. a historic turning point.
7. The Paris Agreement
  1. is already law for all member states.
  2. might become law for all member states.
  3. will never become law for all member states.
8. Climate change is a problem that
  1. only adults can solve.
  2. only governments can solve.
  3. even children can help solve.
9. A "green career" is
  1. a job at the Conference in Paris.
  2. a job that cares for the environment.
  3. a job in the countryside.
10. Ecologically conscious people
  1. try to increase their environmental footprint.
  2. try to decrease their environmental footprint.
  3. never take the car.
  VOCABULARY

2) Complete the sentences with the following words.

drought  *  compromise  *  greenhouse gases  *  global warming  *  turning point  *  environmental footprint *  green career  *  demonstration  *  encyclical  *  conference

1. ______ give Earth a fever. 2. The planet's "fever" is called ______. 3. You can say that a ______ is the opposite of a flood. 4. A papal special letter is called an ______. 5. Political leaders often meet at a ______. 6. A ______ is when different people agree on something. 7. A ______ is a crucial development. 8. If you don´t agree with a political decision, you can take part in a ______. 9. The ______ is our ecological impact on the planet. 10. A ______ is a job that helps solve the problems of the environment.   GRAMMAR 3) Choose the correct alternative. 1. Human beings have been/were transforming the Earth. 2. Many scientists are afraid that the future will be warmer/more warm than the present. 3. One of the main problems of the Earth's/Earths climate is global warming. 4. To burn/Burning fossil fuels produces greenhouse gases. 5. COP 21 is held/was held between November and December 2015. 6. There are many greenhouse gases, such as/like CO2. 7. Political leaders met in/at Paris. 8. The outcome of/for COP 21 was the Paris Agreement. 9. Demonstrators wanted a more strong/stronger Agreement. 10. It's time to take/taking action to solve global warming.   SHORT ESSAY

4) Everybody can do something to help fight global warming. Are you already helping? How? What else could you do to save the planet? (60-80 words)                          

(Carlo Dellonte) --- (Image credit: Alisdare HicksonRon Mader, via flickr)   [post_title] => COP 21 – Trying to save planet Earth [post_excerpt] => Droughts, tornadoes, floods, melting polar ice caps – climate change is causing disasters around the world. The representatives of almost 200 nations met in Paris to find a solution to this dramatic problem. What did they decide and what can you do to help save the environment? [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => cop-21-earth [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2018-09-06 10:00:21 [post_modified_gmt] => 2018-09-06 08:00:21 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://aulalingue.scuola.zanichelli.it/?post_type=planet-english&p=24 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => planet-english [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 27 [filter] => raw ) ) [post] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 10022 [post_author] => 10 [post_date] => 2016-02-29 15:30:29 [post_date_gmt] => 2016-02-29 14:30:29 [post_content] =>

On the night of February 28, 2016, after five previous nominations and zero wins, Leonardo DiCaprio finally won his first Oscar. “At last!” must have thought his fans around the world. Something similar happened to another amazing artist: Italian composer Ennio Morricone. He received an Honorary Oscar in 2007, but he won his first Oscar for Best Original Score this year, after five previous nominations and zero wins. An Oscar is a very prestigious award. Most people in the cinema industry would love to win an Oscar. That’s why Leo’s friend Kate Winslet keeps hers in the bathroom: her guests who go for a pee can pose with it in front of the mirror, and, for a couple of minutes, they can pretend to be winners. Besides the prestige, films that win an Oscar make more money. Actors and actresses who win an Oscar earn more money. An Oscar even has ‘health benefits’: a study shows that people who win an Oscar live longer than those who don’t. Apparently, Oscars even make chickens lay larger eggs! That’s what actor Russell Crowe said after putting his Oscar in his chicken coop.

 

A knight with a sword

The official name of an Oscar is ‘Academy Award of Merit’. The winners are decided by the members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. The award is a little golden statuette of a knight holding a large sword. It was designed in 1928 by Cedric Gibbons, a Hollywood production designer. No human model was used to design the statuette. Nobody really knows how the statuette got the nickname ‘Oscar’. According to a popular story, an Academy librarian said that the statuette looked like her uncle Oscar. Many professions in the movie industry receive the award: actors, writers, directors, producers, and technicians. Curiously, the production designer who designed the statuette, Cedric Gibbons, won 11 of them.

 

45 seconds to say ‘thank you’

To be nominated for an Oscar, a film has to be shown for at least 7 consecutive days in the Los Angeles county cinemas. This means that even a foreign film, in a foreign language, can be nominated. The Italian La vita è bella is an example. It was shown for several weeks in Los Angeles, and it was nominated for Best Picture. The protagonist of the film, Roberto Benigni, won the Oscar for Best Actor. The awards are given during a very important ceremony. All the nominees hope to hear their name at the end of the sentence “And the Oscar goes to…” (Before 1989 the phrase used was the even more famous “And the winner is…”). The winner collects the award and can give a brief speech. But it has to be very brief indeed. It can only last 45 seconds. When the 45 seconds are over, the orchestra starts playing even if the winner is still talking!

 

Winners and controversies

Winning an Oscar is a great achievement, and some people have won more than one. Walt Disney holds the record: he won 26! Actress Meryl Streep has received more nominations than any other actress or actor: 19 (with 3 wins). Even children have won Oscars. Actress Anna Paquin (you might know her as Rogue in the X-Men films) won an Oscar when she was 11 years old. There are also some film geniuses who – incredibly – have never won. The Academy, for example, was criticized for not giving an Oscar for Best Director to Alfred Hitchcock or Stanley Kubrick, probably two of the greatest directors of all time. This year, director Spike Lee launched the hashtag #OscarsSoWhite to criticize the lack of ethnic diversity in the awards. Most members of the Academy are white, middle-aged or old males, and all 20 of the acting nominees they chose this year (as well as last) were white. The Academy president Cheryl Boone Isaacs accepted the criticism. She has promised that the Academy will recruit younger members, diversifying in “gender, race, ethnicity and sexual orientation.”

Useful links

Here’s the official Oscars website:

http://oscar.go.com/

Which are the strangest places where winners keep their Oscars? Find out here:

http://www.vanityfair.com/news/2010/07/where-do-oscar-winners-keep-their-littlegoldmen

Are you interested in Academy Award records? Can you find any Italian who holds a record?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Academy_Award_records

Do you know Ennio Morricone? Do you know any other Italian Academy Award winners? Research some of them:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Italian_Academy_Award_winners_and_nominees

Do you want to know more about the criticisms the Academy received this year? Here is what Spike Lee wrote on Instagram:

https://www.instagram.com/p/BArm7C2Sqh_/

And here is an article about Academy president Cheryl Boone Isaacs’ reply:

http://variety.com/2016/film/awards/oscars-diversity-academy-statement-1201682500/

COMPREHENSION

1) Read the article and complete the sentences with the right alternative.

1. Kate Winslet’s Oscar stands
  1. in her bathroom.
  2. in front of her mirror.
  3. in her chicken coop.
2. Usually, actors and actresses who win an Oscar
  1. keep the award in a funny place.
  2. earn more money.
  3. earn less money but live longer.
3. ‘Oscar’ is
  1. the official name of the Academy Award.
  2. the name of the model used to design the award.
  3. the award’s nickname.
4. The Oscars are given to many professionals, such as
  1. librarians and directors.
  2. writers and technicians.
  3. producers and models.
5. To be nominated for an Oscar, a film must be
  1. filmed in Los Angeles.
  2. filmed in English.
  3. shown in Los Angeles cinemas.
6. Cedric Gibbons
  1. holds the record for most Oscar wins.
  2. designed the statuette and called it Oscar.
  3. won many times the Oscar he designed.
7. The winner of an Oscar should
  1. give a very long speech.
  2. give a very brief speech.
  3. say “And the Oscar goes to…”
8. Walt Disney won
  1. more Oscars than Meryl Streep.
  2. less Oscars than Alfred Hitchcock.
  3. an Oscar for the X-Men films.
9. Anna Paquin
  1. won more Oscars than any other actress.
  2. was very young when she won an Oscar.
  3. never won an Oscar.
10. The Academy Award
  1. has been criticized only once.
  2. has never been criticized.
  3. has been criticized more than once.
 

VOCABULARY

2) Complete the sentences with the following words.

prestige  *  sword  *  chicken coop  *  nominee  *  statuette  *  speech *  motion picture  *  director  *  recruit  *  foreign

1. A _________________ is a person who receives a nomination for an award. 2. A _________________ is the typical weapon of a knight. 3. In a _________________ you can probably find many eggs. 4. A _________________ is a small statue. 5. Something that has _________________ has a very good reputation. 6. _________________ is another word for ‘film’. 7. A _________________ is a person who directs the filming process of a film. 8. If you are talking in front of many people, you are probably giving a _________________. 9. A _________________ language is a language spoken outside one’s country. 10. To _________________ somebody, means to get him or her to join something like a group or an association.  

GRAMMAR – Irregular verbs

3) Complete the sentences with the correct past tense of the verb.

1. Kate Winslet ________ (put) her Oscar in her bathroom. 2. An Academy librarian ________ (think) that the award looked like her uncle Oscar. 3. Animator and director John Lasseter ________ (put) Barbie clothes on his Oscars. 4. A sculptor ________  (make) the Oscar statuette using Cedric Gibbons’ design. 5. Leonardo DiCaprio ________  (get) his first Oscar in 2016. 6. The actress was very happy when she ________ (hear) that she had won an Oscar. 7. It was actress Sofia Loren who ________  (give) the Oscar to Roberto Benigni. 8. Russell Crowe  ________  (win) an Oscar for his role in the film Gladiator. 9. In 2015, the Academy ________ (choose) only white nominees for the acting awards. 10. In 2000 two men ________ (steal) 55 Oscar statuettes and ________ (hide) them. A man called Mr. Fullgear _______(find) them and called the police.  

SHORT ESSAY

4) Who is your favourite actor/actress? Describe him or her and say why you’re his or her fan. (60-80 words)

5) Which is your favourite film? What is it about? Write a short essay explaining what it is about, what is special about it and why you think it’s such a good film. (60-80 words)

(Carlo Dellonte)

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(Image credits: Academy Awards and Cliff, flickr)

[post_title] => And the Oscar goes to… [post_excerpt] => Every year, the Academy Awards is the biggest event of American cinema, and the Oscar statuette is probably the most famous film award in the world. Find out some of the more curious facts about the Oscars, and read about some of the criticism the Academy has received. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => and-the-oscar-goes-to [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2018-09-06 10:00:12 [post_modified_gmt] => 2018-09-06 08:00:12 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://aulalingue.scuola.zanichelli.it/?post_type=planet-english&p=10022 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => planet-english [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 2 [filter] => raw ) )
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