Brow Beat

Your 2020 Awards Season Pronunciation Guide

How to pronounce the names of Lupita Nyong’o, Saoirse Ronan, Bong Joon-ho, and more.

Lupita Nyongo, Saorsie Ronan, and Taron Egerton.
Loo-PEE-ta NYONG-go, Sur-shuh Ronan, and Taron EDGE-ur-tin. Photo illustration by Slate. Photos by David Livingston/Getty Images, Tim P. Whitby/Getty Images for Sony Pictures Releasing UK, and Emma McIntyre/Getty Images for SiriusXM.

Mangled names may be as much of an awards season tradition as snubbing female directors, but that doesn’t mean we have to be all right with it. Right in time for the Golden Globes, Slate has put together a handy guide to pronouncing the most frequently butchered names in the running for the year’s highest honors.

Martin Scorsese

Director, The Irishman

Martin is easy, but Scorsese is misleading. Slate published a guide on how we’re really supposed to pronounce it: It’s Scor-SEH-see, not Scor-SAY-zee.* (Also, do not refer to him as “Marty” unless you are actually friends.)

Bong Joon-ho

Director, Parasite

For the most part, what you see is what you get, however: The “o” in Korean is much shorter than you might think. The “o” in Bong should sound like the “o” in “oh,” and as little like “aw” as possible. Try to keep the “ho” short, too.

Also, relevant PSA: His family name is Bong, and his given name is Joon-ho. Calling him Joon-ho would be like referring to Scorsese as Martin.

Song Kang-ho

Actor, Parasite

Song may look like the word for music, but the “o” is short, meaning it should not sound like “sawng,” but more like “sohng.” Likewise, “Kang” is said “Kong,” but less drawn out than you might imagine. Same rule about Korean names applies to Song Kang-ho’s Hame: his family name is Song, not Kang, or God forbid, “ho.”

Joaquin Phoenix

Actor, Joker

The Joker star’s given name is pronounced wa-KEEN, and his family name is FEE-nicks, like the bird.

Ellen says “Joaquin,” below.

Peter Travers says “Joaquin.”

Saoirse Ronan

Actor, Little Women

Saoirse is pronounced “sur-shuh, like inertia,” as Good Samaritan and actor Ryan Gosling has correctly noted. Here she is walking Ellen DeGeneres through how to pronounce her name:

Lulu Wang

Director, The Farewell

“ ‘Wang’ is the same last name as ‘Wong,’ with the SAME pronunciation,” said the director of The Farewell on Twitter.

Ana de Armas

Actor, Knives Out

The thing to remember about the Cuban star of Knives Out is that “Ana” is pronounced “AH-na.” The rest mostly sounds like it looks: day AR-moss.

James Corden says “Ana” at the beginning of his show. Watch the clip below.

Taron Egerton

Actor, Rocketman

Egerton is pronounced EDGE-ur-tin.* In the video below, Egerton corrects a radio host who initially pronounces his name with a hard “g.”

Hildur Guðnadóttir*

Composer, Joker

Don’t let the diacritical marks scare you. The musician, who was nominated for her Joker score, says her own name in the following video, but here it is written out: HIL-dur GUDNA-duh-tur.

Pedro Almodóvar

Director, Pain and Glory

While the director of Pain and Glory is used to people bungling his name, that doesn’t mean you should: It’s PEH-dro Al-mo-DO-bar. Below, watch the director himself pronounce it for Graham Norton at 0:33.

Antonio Banderas

Actor, Pain and Glory

The last name of Almodóvar’s longtime collaborator is pronounced ban-DEH-ras.

Charlize Theron

Actor, Bombshell

While it seems as though her name has been pronounced quite a few ways throughout the years, the Tully star’s name is pronounced: SHAR-leeze THAIR-in. Watch the actor pronounce it at the beginning of the clip below.

Taika Waititi

Director, Jojo Rabbit

The director of Jojo Rabbit, who also acted in his own film as Hitler, walks us through pronouncing his name (and remembering how to pronounce it) in the guide below.
TIE-kuh Why-TEE-TEE.

Zhao Shuzhen

Actor, The Farewell

The actress who plays Awkwafina’s grandmother Nai Nai is well-known in China, but The Farewell was her first role in a U.S. film. Her name is pronounced JJA-oh SHOO-jen.

Fernando Meirelles

Director, The Two Popes

It might help to know that this director, producer, and screenwriter is from Brazil, where they know how to say his name correctly: Fur-NAHN-do May-RELL-ES. Listen to the Brazilian pronunciation at 0:18 below.

Thelma Schoonmaker

Editor, The Irishman

A veteran editor and longtime Scorsese collaborator, Thelma Schoonmaker introduces herself in the video below as Thelma SKOON-maker, Martin Scor-SEH-see’s editor.*

Rian Johnson

Director, Knives Out

Rian Johnson’s first name sounds just like Ryan. This host at Collider knows what’s up. Skip to 0:23 for the name.

Cynthia Erivo

Actor, Harriet

The Harriet star’s last name is pronounced Eh-REE-voh, according to the actress herself on Twitter.

Lupita Nyong’o

Actor, Us

Lupita Nyong’o’s name is pretty much said the way it looks: Loo-PEE-ta NYONG-go. But if you want to know how to get it really right, the Us star has given us this Instagram video as a guide.

Florence Pugh

Actor, Little Women

It’s Florence PEW. “Like Hugh, but with a P,” as she explains here.

Alexandre Desplat

Composer, Little Women

Alex is pronounced AL-ig-ZAHN-druh en Français, while the T on Desplat is silent, leaving only dess-PLAH. Hear Jon Burlingame introduce him 20 seconds into the clip below.

Correction, Jan. 3, 2020: This post originally misspelled Hildur Guðnadóttir’s last name.

Correction, Jan. 7, 2020: This piece originally misstated the pronunciation of Martin Scorsese and Taron Egerton’s names.