‘The Hurt Locker’ Wins Big at Oscars
( New York Times )

“The Hurt Locker,” a little-seen war film with big backing from the critics, pushed past “Avatar” and other crowd-pleasers to win the best picture Oscar at a Sunday night ceremony here, while its director, Kathryn Bigelow, became the first woman to win the directing award.

“Avatar” and “The Hurt Locker” had come into the night as
favorites, but the smaller film took the prize from the bigger in the end.

There was no mention of a last-minute embarrassment in which a fellow producer of the film, Nicolas Chartier, had been banned from the show for violating Oscar rules by urging academy members by e-mail messages to vote against a film assumed to be “Avatar,” which had the advantage of a vast budget and enormous popularity.

In a sense, the awards season had shaped up into a showdown between James Cameron, who directed “Avatar,” and Ms. Bigelow, who was previously married to Mr. Cameron.

【 まずは準備運動 】

・embarrassment 当惑、困惑
・ban 禁止する
・urge 駆り立てる、しきりに促す
・assume 当然のことと思う、思いこむ

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After Atom Bombs’ Shock, the Real Horrors Began Unfolding
( New York Times )

When Tsutomu Yamaguchi died two weeks ago, at 93, he was eulogized as a star-crossed rarity: a man who lived through two atomic blasts, at Hiroshima and then at Nagasaki. He was a man with very good luck, or very bad luck. It’s hard to decide.

But Mr. Yamaguchi wasn’t alone. He was one of as many as 165 people who are believed to have survived Hiroshima only to wind up in Nagasaki when that bomb fell three days later. The stories of these double survivors make up part of Charles Pellegrino’s sober and authoritative new book, “The Last Train From Hiroshima.”

This is a clear-eyed catalog of every such horror, and not for the weak-stomached. Mr. Pellegrino follows his survivors as they trudge through wastelands that make “The Road” by Cormac McCarthy read like “Goodnight, Moon.” He describes the so-called “ant-walking alligators” that the survivors saw everywhere, men and women who “were now eyeless and faceless ― with their heads transformed into blackened alligator hides displaying red holes, indicating mouths.”

【 まずは準備運動 】

・eulogize ほめたたえる(名詞:eulogy)
・rarity まれなこと、珍奇、珍品(形容詞:rare)
・trudge とぼとぼ歩く(こと)
・wasteland 荒れ地、不毛(waste:無駄にする、荒れた)
・hide 獣皮、皮革

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J. D. Salinger, Literary Recluse, Dies at 91
( New York Times )

J. D. Salinger, who was thought at one time to be the most important American writer to emerge since World War II but who then turned his back on success and adulation, becoming the Garbo of letters, famous for not wanting to be famous, died on Wednesday at his home in Cornish, N.H., where he had lived in seclusion for more than 50 years. He was 91.

Though not everyone, teachers and librarians especially, was sure what to make of it, “Catcher in the Rye” became an almost immediate best seller, and its narrator and main character, Holden Caulfield, a teenager newly expelled from prep school, became America’s best-known literary truant since Huckleberry Finn.

With its cynical, slangy vernacular voice (Holden’s two favorite expressions are “phony” and “goddam”), its sympathetic understanding of adolescence and its fierce if alienated sense of morality and distrust of the adult world, the novel struck a nerve in cold war America and quickly attained cult status, especially among the young. Reading “Catcher” used to be an essential rite of passage, almost as important as getting your learner’s permit.

【 まずは準備運動 】

・adulation 追従、過度な称賛
・cynical 皮肉な、冷笑的な
・slangy 俗語(slang)の、俗語を使う

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A Star Idolized and Haunted, Michael Jackson Dies at 50
( New York Times )

For his legions of fans, he was the Peter Pan of pop music: the
little boy who refused to grow up. But on the verge of another
attempted comeback, he is suddenly gone, this time for good.

Michael Jackson, whose quintessentially American tale of celebrity and excess took him from musical boy wonder to global pop superstar to sad figure haunted by lawsuits, paparazzi and failed plastic surgery, was pronounced dead on Thursday afternoon at U.C.L.A. Medical Center after arriving in a coma, a city official said. Mr. Jackson was 50, having spent 40 of those years in the public eye he loved.

As with Elvis Presley or the Beatles, it is impossible to calculate the full effect Mr. Jackson had on the world of music. At the height of his career, he was indisputably the biggest star in the world; he has sold more than 750 million albums. Radio stations across the country reacted to his death with marathon sessions of his songs. MTV, which grew successful in part as a result of Mr. Jackson’s groundbreaking videos, reprised its early days as a music channel by showing his biggest hits.

【 まずは準備運動 】

・idolize 偶像(idol)を崇拝する
・legion (古代ローマの)軍団、軍、多数
・quintessentially 典型的に、心底から
・plastic surgery 形成外科、美容整形手術
・coma 昏睡
・reprise 反復する、再現する

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Susan Boyle Places Second on British Talent TV Show
( New York Times )

She is an internationally acclaimed Internet phenomenon and a symbol of the folly of underestimating people because of the way they look. But in a shocking upset, Susan Boyle, the 47-year-old Scottish church volunteer whose stunning audition for the “Britain’s Got Talent” TV show last month has been viewed something like 90 million times on YouTube, lost in the final round of the program on Saturday night.

After the audience votes had been tallied, Ms. Boyle placed second, beaten by a joyfully innovative dance troupe named Diversity.

For weeks she seemed to be a shoo-in for victory. To see a middle-aged woman from a small town -- who lives alone with her cat, Pebbles, and seemed at first to be almost comically awkward -- open her mouth to reveal such a beautiful voice was revelatory and inspiring. Celebrities like Demi Moore said they were rooting for her.

【 まずは準備運動 】

・acclaim 歓呼(して迎える)、かっさい(して認める)
・upset ひっくり返す、転覆、思いがけない結果
・stun (殴って)気絶させる、あ然とさせる
・troupe (芸人などの)一座
・awkward ぶかっこうな、不器用な

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