2016-03-01intermediate

Discussing the Oscars in Chinese

He finally did it! As you have probably heard, Leonardo DiCaprio was awarded an Oscar for Best Actor for his performance in The Revenant. Congratulations!
Let's grab this opportunity to learn how to talk about the Academy Awards in Chinese!

Hover over any word to show translation
ào sī kǎ
奥斯卡
奧斯卡
Oscar
jīn xiàng jiǎng
金像奖
金像獎
gold statue
 
/
měi guó
美国
美國
United States
diàn yǐng
电影
電影
movie, film
yì shù
艺术
藝術
art
and
kē xué
科学
科學
science
xué yuàn
学院
學院
academy
jiǎng
prize, award

Oscar Awards / American Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Awards

Character set
Pinyin

In China, if you use the official name for the Academy Awards, 美国电影艺术与科学学院奖, a lot of people might not know what you are talking about. Instead, the Chinese usually just call it the Oscars: “奥斯卡金像奖” or “奥斯卡” for short. So you can ask your Chinese friends if they watched the Oscars in the following way:

Hover over any word to show translation
you (informal)
kàn
to look at, to watch
jīn nián
今年
今年
this year
de
~'s (possessive particle)
ào sī kǎ
奥斯卡
奧斯卡
Oscar
 
jīn xiàng jiǎng
金像奖
金像獎
gold statuette
 
le
(completed action marker)
ma
(question particle for "yes-no" questions)
 

Did you watch this year's Oscar awards?

Character set
Pinyin

In this year’s awards, perhaps the biggest news is that Leonardo DiCaprio was awarded for Best Actor. Leonardo DiCaprio's full name in Chinese is 莱昂纳多·迪卡普里奥 [lái áng nà duō· dí kǎ pǔ lǐ ào]. Wow, that's long! And difficult!

But don't worry, this is the transliteration of his English name, but the Chinese usually don’t call him that. Instead, they use the much shorter “小李 [xiǎo lǐ]” or “小李子 [xiǎo lǐ zi]”. Because the transliteration of Leonardo DiCaprio's name in Taiwan is “李奥纳多 [lǐ ào nà duō]” (yes, it's different from mainland China!), some people mistakenly thought that his surname is “李 [lǐ]”, a common surname in China. Chinese people often call people using “小 [xiǎo] + surname” to indicate that they are close. For example, if someone’s surname is “王 [wáng]”, you can call him “小王 [xiǎo wáng]” to show that you are close friends. So fans started calling Leonardo DiCaprio “小李” to express how close they are with Leonardo DiCaprio. The effect is even greater if you add “子 [zi] ” at the end, and makes it sound like someone who lives just next to you.

Leonardo was awarded for Best Actor this year. Best Actor in Chinese is “最佳男主角 [zuì jiā nán zhǔ jué]”, and the winner is called 影帝 [yǐng dì] (emperor of movie actors). There are of course also the female equivalents, 最佳女主角 [zuì jiā nǚ zhǔ jué](Best Actress)and 影后 [yǐng hòu] (queen of movie actors).

Some Oscar-related words

  • 提名者 [tí míng zhě] — Nominee
  • 获奖者 [huò jiǎng zhě] — Winner
  • 最佳影片 [zuì jiā yǐng piàn] — Best Picture
  • 最佳男主角 [zuì jiā nán zhǔ jué] — Best Actor
  • 最佳女主角 [zuì jiā nǚ zhǔ jué] — Best Actress
  • 最佳男配角 [zuì jiā nán pèi jué] — Best Supporting Actor
  • 最佳女配角 [zuì jiā nǚ pèi jué] — Best Supporting Actress
  • 最佳导演 [zuì jiā dǎo yǎn] — Best Director

The Oscar statuette in Chinese is called “奥斯卡金像奖 [ào sī kǎjīn xiàng jiǎng]”, and because the trophy looks like a golden person, it is also called “小金人 [xiǎo jīn rén] (small golden person)”.

Ok, now we know at least two ways to express that Leonardo DiCaprio was awarded an Oscar for Best Actor in Chinese:

Hover over any word to show translation
 
1.
lái áng nà duō
莱昂纳多
萊昂納多
Leonardo)
 
·
dí kǎ pǔ lǐ ào
迪卡普里奥
迪卡普里奧
DiCaprio
zhōng yú
终于
終於
at last, finally
huò dé
获得
獲得
to obtain, to get
le
(completed action marker)
ào sī kǎ
奥斯卡
奧斯卡
Oscar
zuì jiā
最佳
最佳
best (movie etc)
nán
male
zhǔ jué
主角
主角
leading role
jiǎng
prize, award
 
chéng
to become
le
(completed action marker)
ào sī kǎ
奥斯卡
奧斯卡
Oscar
yǐng dì
影帝
影帝
movie emperor
 
 
2.
xiǎo lǐ
小李
小李
Little Li
zhōng yú
终于
終於
at last, finally
to seize, to catch
dào
(verb complement denoting completion or result of an action)
le
(completed action marker)
xiǎo jīn rén
小金人
小金人
Oscar statuette, lit. little gold person
 

1. Leonardo DiCaprio finally received an Oscar for best actor in leading role, and became the top movie star.
2. Leo finally got an Oscar statuette.

Character set
Pinyin

小李 [xiǎo lǐ] has been an Oscar 提名者 [tí míng zhě] (nominee)many times, but it is the first time he is actually awarded a 小金人 [xiǎo jīn rén] for his performance in the movie 《荒野猎人》 [huāng yě liè rén] (The Revenant). Of course, the winner makes a 获奖感言 [huò jiǎng gǎn yán] (acceptance speech). Let’s take a look at some part of Leonardo's acceptance speech.

Hover over any word to show translation
 
1.
gǎn xiè
感谢
感謝
(express) thanks
ào sī kǎ
奥斯卡
奧斯卡
Oscar
 
gǎn xiè
感谢
感謝
(express) thanks
zài
(located) at, (to be) in
chǎng
large place used for a specific purpose
de
(used after an attribute)
gè wèi
各位
各位
all (guests, colleagues etc)
 
 
2. 《
huāng yě liè rén
荒野猎人
荒野獵人
The Revenant
 
jiǎng shù
讲述
講述
to narrate
le
(completed action marker)
rén lèi
人类
人類
humanity
and
zì rán
自然
自然
nature
de
(used after an attribute)
guān xì
关系
關係
relationship
 
 
3.
wǒ men
我们
我們
we, us
bú yào
不要
不要
must not
particle marking the following noun as a direct object
dì qiú
地球
地球
the earth
jǐ yǔ
给予
給予
to give
wǒ men
我们
我們
we, us
de
(used after an attribute)
yí qiè
一切
一切
everything
kàn zuò
看作
看作
to regard as
tiān jīng dì yì
天经地义
天經地義
lit. heaven's law and earth's principle (idiom), fig. right and proper
 
jiù
just (emphasis)
as, such as
I, me, my
not
huì
can, will
particle marking the following noun as a direct object
jīn wǎn
今晚
今晚
tonight
de
(used after an attribute)
róng yù
荣誉
榮譽
honor, glory
kàn zuò
看作
看作
to regard as
lǐ suǒ dāng rán
理所当然
理所當然
as it should be by rights (idiom), proper and to be expected as a matter of course
 

1. Thank you to the Academy, thank you to all of you in this room.
2. ‘The Revenant’ was about man's relationship to the natural world.
3. Let us not take this planet for granted. I do not take tonight for granted.

Character set
Pinyin

You can watch 小李 [xiǎo lǐ]’s entire acceptance speech with Chinese subtitles on Sina video. His Chinese 粉丝 [fěn sī] (fans)are also happy about the news. Let’s see what they had to say.

Hover over any word to show translation
 
1.
gōng xǐ
恭喜
恭喜
congratulations
xiǎo lǐ zi
小李子
小李子
Little Li, Leo
 
zhōng yú
终于
終於
at last, finally
to seize, to catch
dào
(verb complement denoting completion or result of an action)
xiǎo jīn rén
小金人
小金人
little gold statuette
 
 
2.
tài
too (much), very
shuài
handsome, smart
le
(completed action marker)
 
míng míng
明明
明明
obviously, undoubtedly
kě yǐ
可以
可以
can, may
kào
to lean against or on, to depend on
liǎn
face
chī fàn
吃饭
吃飯
to eat, to make a living
 
què
but, yet
piān piān
偏偏
偏偏
against expectations
yào
to want, must
kào
to lean against or on, to depend on
yǎn jì
演技
演技
acting, performing skills
 
 
 
3.
bì xū
必须
必須
to have to, must
diǎn zàn
点赞
點贊
to like (an online post on Weibo, Facebook etc)
 
dàn shì
但是
但是
but, however
cóng cǐ
从此
從此
from now on, henceforth
shì jiè
世界
世界
world
shang
upon, above
shǎo
few, less
le
(completed action marker)
one
ge
classifier for people or objects in general
gěng
joke material
 

1. Congratulations Leo, you finally got an Oscar statuette!
2. So handsome! He can obviously get by in life using only his looks, but still chooses to rely on his acting abilities.
3. A must like! But now the world lost one of its joke materials.

Character set
Pinyin

Chinese fans are of course eager to watch 《荒野猎人》 [huāng yě liè rén] (The Revenant), but unfortunately the movie does not premiere until the middle of March in mainland China.

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