an institution for the advancement of art or science
Oscars winners always thank “the Academy,” which is far less of a mouthful than the full name: the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
Academy is a fancy word for an especially fancy school. A more widely used word is
academic, which can apply to just about anything relating to schools. This phrase has an appropriately thinky origin:
Academy was the name of Greek philosopher Plato’s school before broadening to refer to schools and learning in general.
a female actor
This is a subtly old-fashioned word, since society has overall moved away from obviously gendered words. In the history of English, there are many wacky words that are actress’ lost cousins, such as
avengeress, cousiness, greengroceress, inventress, murdermongeress, pythoness, and revengeress. Language sure can be sexist and silly.
a very successful hit with widespread popularity and sales
The Matt Damon-starring epic “The Great Wall” was meant to be a global
that energized moviegoers all over the world.Los Angeles Times (Feb 14, 2017)
These days, blockbusters make over a billion dollars: a blockbuster is a movie, usually in some kind of action genre, that does excellent box office.
the state or quality of being widely honored and acclaimed
from Hollywood jetted into town to join America’s top media as major news outlets tried to outdo one another with outlandishly lavish parties.Washington Times (Feb 7, 2017)
This Latinate word involves people you may have heard about, even if you live under a whole bunch of rocks: famous folks. Celebrities come from not only movies but TV, pop music, politics, the internet, and any other launchpad to fame. Before
celebrity referred to a person, it had the meaning of a general state: in that sense, celebrity is (and still is) the opposite of obscurity, a lonely place that has the coolest bands.
a medium that disseminates moving pictures
As well as being popular in
, popcorn is increasingly seen as a low-fat snack outside of the movie house.The Guardian (Feb 6, 2017)
This is a fancy-schmancy word for everything related to movies, and it derives from
cinematograph, as early motion picture projectors were called.
Cinema sprouted from that mouthful, meaning a movie theater and then movies in general. The adjective
cinematic can mean “movie-like” and is often applied to other art forms that are taking a page from the movies, like when a TV show feels like big screen stuff.
high fashion designing and dressmaking
And she is frequently recognized as one of the best-dressed stars in Hollywood, walking the red carpet in exclusive
gowns.Los Angeles Times (Dec 2, 2016)
This French word is highly associated with fashion, and fashion is a huge part of the Oscars, as endless blog posts and articles pore over what women (and men these days) wear on the red carpet.
Couture originally referred to sewing, and dressmaking in particular, so the word hasn’t spread far: dresses are still a huge part of couture. The term is often found in the expression “haut couture,” which means French toast. Or high fashion. You might want to double-check that...
appear for the first time in public
the group following and attending to some important person
An entourage is more than a TV show: it's any group of fawning friends and underlings.
a flat container for a letter or thin package
This commonplace items takes on great importance during award shows, since they contain the hallowed name of the winner.
tendency to use fantasy to retreat from unpleasant realities
alluring beauty or charm
a person who acts as master of ceremonies
Like talk shows and restaurants, awards shows have hosts. Oscars hosts try to be a little funnier than the restaurant kind.
an actress playing an artless innocent young girl
a very wealthy or powerful businessperson
propose as a candidate for some honor
Last year, controversy erupted again after all of the
actors ended up being, for the second year in a row, white.New York Times (Feb 15, 2017)
One of the most common award-show phrases is “It’s an honor just to be nominated…,” a phrase that can take the sting out of a potential or actual loss. To nominate is to name, and
nominate has had similar meanings since the 1400s. Presidents do a lot of nominating: to their cabinet and the Supreme Court. But to be nominated doesn’t mean you’re on the Supreme Court or have an Oscar: it just means you’ve got a chance.
a freelance photographer who pursues celebrities
milled about the sidewalk just footsteps away from the red carpet as celebrities and other guests, dressed for the occasion, posed for the cameras.Los Angeles Times (Oct 17, 2016)
Cats hunt mice, dogs seek treats, and paparazzi—the plural form of this Italian word—stalk celebrities. These dubious photojournalists hound celebrities, dying for an opportunity to catch them unawares or even (gasp!) without makeup. They were already considered scummy even before their role in the death of Princess Diana. Not exactly a noble profession.
someone who presents a message of some sort
A parade of models and celebrities walked the red carpet, including Iman, who filled in as a
for Lena Dunham, who fell ill.New York Times (Feb 9, 2017)
Each award has one or two presenters, who list the nominees and announce the winner. One of the presenters usually says, “The envelope please…” to add to the drama.
a strip of red carpeting laid down for dignitaries to walk on
refuse to acknowledge
At the time, Thompson was appearing in cinemas as the star of “Saving Mr. Banks,” for which she was notably
at Oscar time.The New Yorker (Feb 7, 2017)
At any award show there’s griping about who got snubbed: in other words, what deserving people and pictures were ignored. If an awesome performance wasn’t nominated, you could say the Academy
snubbed the actor. Snubs happen all the time, even away from the bright lights and botoxed faces of Hollywood.
a small carved or molded figure
No Oscar category really exists for the kinds of films Jackie Chan makes, either, and he was equally astounded to be receiving a
.Seattle Times (Nov 13, 2016)
statuette is a little statue. The -ette suffix is one of English's most reliable shrinking devices.