Entertainment, News

Hollywood Celebrates At 86th Academy Awards

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The "selfie" Ellen DeGeneres took at the 2014 Oscars.
Actor Bradley Cooper snapped this selfie using Ellen DeGeneres’s smart phone.

Last Sunday was Hollywood’s big night.

The annual Academy Awards (known as the “Oscars”) recognize the best movies, actors and movie-makers of the year.

Four of the top awards are Best Picture, which went to the movie 12 Years a Slave; Best Actor (Matthew McConaughey, who starred in Dallas Buyers Club); Best Actress (Cate Blanchett, who starred in Blue Jasmine) and Best Director (Alfonso Cuaron for Gravity).

The evening was hosted by comedian and talk-show host Ellen DeGeneres.

Awards shows can be boring, with each winner thanking a list of people that most viewers don’t even know. Since the Academy Awards has millions of viewers who want to be entertained, the host’s job becomes very important.

DeGeneres did a good job bringing the glamorous actors and actresses “down to Earth” and making them seem like “regular people.” At one point, she even handed out slices of pizza to the actors in the crowd—and then she took up a collection from them to pay for it.

She also took a “selfie” photo of some of Hollywood’s biggest stars, including Jennifer Lawrence, Meryl Streep, Julia Roberts, Brad Pitt and Kevin Spacey.

DeGeneres posted the picture on Twitter, saying that she wanted as many people as possible to retweet (share) it. And they did—the photo was retweeted more than a million times in less than an hour (and by today more than three million times). So many times, in fact, that it crashed Twitter’s website. The site was soon back in business, and Twitter announced that the photo is the most retweeted tweet ever.

Before that, the most retweeted tweet was a picture of Barack Obama hugging his wife, Michele, after being reelected in 2012. It was retweeted more than 780,000 times.

CURRICULUM CONNECTIONS
By Kathleen Tilly

Writing/Discussion Prompt
Some people say that Ellen DeGeneres’s selfie was actually a “product placement” (a type of ad featuring a product being used) for Samsung, the smartphone that was used to shoot the photo. What do you think? Does that change the way you think about the photo?

Reading Prompt: Responding and Evaluating Texts
This article talks about four of the awards at the Oscars, but there are many more that were also handed out on Sunday night. Which ones are you most interested in? How will you get that information, since it’s not in this article? Why do you think the reporter didn’t list all of the awards that were given out?

Primary
Extend understanding of texts by connecting the ideas in them to their own knowledge and experience, to other familiar texts, and to the world around them (OME, Reading: 1.6).

Junior
Extend understanding of texts by connecting the ideas in them to their own knowledge, experience, and insights, to other familiar texts, and to the world around them (OME, Reading: 1.6).

Intermediate
Extend understanding of texts, including increasingly complex or difficult texts, by connecting the ideas in them to their own knowledge, experience, and insights, to other familiar texts, and to the world around them (OME, Reading: 1.6).

Grammar Feature: Nicknames
The Academy Awards after often refered to by their nickname “Oscars”. Nicknames are short forms of the names of people, places or things.

What are the nicknames for the following:
1. A smart person
2. A doctor
3. Toronto
4. Somebody who is very tall
5. Somebody who talks a lot

Do you have a nickname? If you could choose your nickname, what would it be and why?