And the Oscar goes to…?


With the announcement this week of the nominations, the Oscars season, and the fever that surrounds it, is upon us. Whilst your students will range from film buffs to dunces, film is one of those teacher-friendly topics that most people have something to say about. To get the discussion started show them the trailer for a selection of the nominees for Best Picture such as;

The Artist, Midnight in Paris, War Horse, The Help

If they have seen the film, ask them to write a short summary of the plot. If they haven’t get them to write a text predicting what it’s about. If you have a variety of real and imagined tellings of the story then as a class you could compare the versions and vote on which sounds like the most interesting film to see.
The Academy Awards are often criticized for making safe, America-centric choices, with the majority of the world’s cinema consigned to the five slots in the Foreign Language Film category.  As such your students are unlikely to find that cinema in their language is represented; why not give them a chance to right the balance?  Tell your students that they have the opportunity to come up with the Alternative Oscars. Give them the four main Oscar categories listed below and get them to come up with their own nominations for them.

• Best picture
• Actor in a leading role
• Actress in a leading role
• Directing

You could play two rounds; one for this year’s films and one ‘Oscars of all time’ where your students get to pick their favourite ever entries for those categories.  Finally review the different lists as a class; what entries repeatedly come out on top? Do your students toe the Academy line?


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