Sound and Music: Introduction

Share |

About the Academy and its Awards

The first Academy Awards were handed out on May 16, 1929, not long after the advent of “talkies.” By 1930, enthusiasm for the ceremonies was so great that a Los Angeles radio station did a live, one-hour broadcast, and the Awards have enjoyed broadcast coverage ever since. The number and types of awards have grown and changed over the years to keep up with the development of the motion picture industry. Awards of Merit—Oscars—are presented in each (or in subdivisions) of the following categories: acting, animation, art direction, cinematography, costume design, directing, documentary film, film editing, foreign language film, make-up, music, best picture, short film, sound, visual effects and writing. In an age when awards shows seem as common as nightly news programs, the Academy Awards are unique because the judges—the approximately 6,000 Academy members—are the top filmmakers from around the world.The question,“Who gets the Oscar?” is decided by a true jury of peers.The awards process provides a wonderful opportunity to teach your students about the many craft areas and the many communications techniques that play a part in creating a motion picture. Filmmaking is by nature a collaborative process, with each creative area supporting and being supported by the others. Because our space is limited, this kit focuses on the interconnected areas of sound and music.

Selecting Films for Student Viewing

Students may select the films they wish to view for the following activities, or you may wish to suggest films that are appropriate.

The following feature films have won Academy Awards for sound or sound editing, are available on videotape or DVD and may be appropriate for your students: Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981), E.T.The Extra-Terrestrial (1982), Dances With Wolves (1990), Apollo 13 (1995), and Master and Commander:The Far Side of the World (2003). Other features that have been nominated for Academy Awards for sound or sound editing include: The Conversation (1974), Aladdin (1992), Independence Day (1996), The Thin Red Line (1998), The Mask of Zorro (1998), Monsters, Inc. (2001)and Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (2003).

The following feature films have won Academy Awards for their musical score: The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938), The Wizard of Oz (1939), Jaws (1975), Star Wars (1977), Beauty and the Beast (1991), Aladdin (1992), Titanic (1997), Life is Beautiful (1998), The Lord of the Rings:The Fellowship of the Ring (2001), and The Lord of the Rings:The Return of the King (2003). Other features that have been nominated for their scores are Singin’ in the Rain (1952), Avalon (1990), Catch Me if You Can (2002), and Big Fish (2003).

The following films have been nominated for or have won Academy Awards, and are R-rated, but have scenes that may be appropriate for your students: The Godfather (1972), Apocalypse Now (1979), Saving Private Ryan (1998), Pleasantville (1998), The Insider (1999), Frida (2002) and The Last Samurai (2003).

For a complete list of Academy Award winners and nominees check our Web site:

Sound: The Power to Enhance the Story

PDF Downloads

Complete Sound and Music Activities Guide (PDF)

Activity 1: The Origins of Sound Film

Activity 2: Dialogue

Activity 3: Sound Effects

Activity 4: Musical Score

Activity 5: Songs

Activity 6: Sound Mixing

Don't Show Again