Your Oscar Season Pronunciation Guide

Slate's Culture Blog
Oct. 23 2013 3:42 PM

Your Oscar Season Pronunciation Guide

Oscar Season Pronunciation Guide
How do you correctly say all of their names? We are here to help.

Photo illustration by Lisa Larson-Walker. Photos by Getty (4).

This past weekend, 12 Years a Slave and All Is Lost joined Captain Phillips and Gravity in theaters, signaling that the Serious Movie stretch of the American calendar—aka Oscar Season—has arrived. You will surely hear much discussion of the acting and directing talents behind these movies in the days and weeks to come, and you may even want to participate in these conversations yourself. But how can do you so without flubbing a few of those hard-to-pronounce names?

Herewith, a pronunciation guide for some of the trickiest names likely to pop up again and again this Oscar season, from Chiwetel Ejiofor to Adèle Exarchopoulos and beyond—including a few names whose trickiness might surprise you. (Jared Leto!) When we could find it, we have included video of the actor or director in question saying his or her name him or herself (or, in one case, his dad saying it in his presence), as well as links to other useful discussions of the preferred pronunciations.


We hope it helps.

Barkhad Abdi, actor, Captain Phillips
Pronunciation: BAR-cod AHB-DEE

Cate Blanchett, actress, Blue Jasmine
Pronunciation: KATE BLAN-chit

J.C. Chandor, director, All Is Lost
Pronunciation: JAY-SEE SHANN-door

Alfonso Cuarón, director, Gravity
Pronunciation: al-FONE-zo kwah-ROAN

Jonás Cuarón, screenwriter, Gravity
Pronunciation: ho-NAS kwah-ROAN

Chiwetel Ejiofor, actor, 12 Years a Slave
Pronunciation: CHOO-it-tell EDGE-ee-oh-for

Adèle Exarchopoulos, actress, Blue is the Warmest Color
Pronunciation: uh-DELL ex-ar-COOP-oo-los

Jared Leto, actor, Dallas Buyers Club
Pronunciation: JAIR-red LET-oh

Matthew McConaughey, Dallas Buyers Club
Pronunciation: MATH-yew Mih-CON-nuh-hay

Lupita Nyong'o, actress, 12 Years a Slave
Pronunciation: lew-PEET-tuh en-YON-go

Adepero Oduye, actress, 12 Years a Slave
Pronunciation: ADD-uh-pair-oh oh-DOO-yay

David Oyelowo, actor, The Butler
Pronunciation: DAY-vid oh-YEAH-luh-whoa

Martin Scorsese, director, The Wolf of Wall Street
Pronunciation: MAR-tin score-SEH-zee

Léa Seydoux, actress, Blue is the Warmest Color
Pronunciation: LEE-yuh say-DOO

Emma Goss is a Slate intern.

David Haglund is a senior editor at Slate. He runs Brow Beat, Slate's culture blog.


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